Dristhi - The Direction of the Practice

Dristhi (focus or gaze) is where we look in every posture of an ashtanga vinyasa practice.  In a class, we sometimes, lose our focus, our eyes wander to look around, to look at what everyone else is doing, to compare ourselves with everyone else, to  check out the clock. The list of where the mind can go in a practice is as vast as our beings.  When we tune into our dristhi,  we gently retreat from the external distractions.  We come back to focus on the present.  We come back to our breath, thoughts, feelings and eventually open to a softer and more meditative practice by drawing our awareness inwards.   

In Ashtanga Vinyasa, there are nine traditional drsithi points as follows:-    

  • Nasagrai : tip of the nose - Standing forward bend 
  • Nabi Chakra : the navel -. Downward dog 
  • Hastagrai : the hand - Triangle 
  • Padayoragrai : the toes - Seated forward bend 
  • Angusta ma Dyai : the thumbs - Standing with arms over head Urdhva / Antara Drishti : up to the sky -. Warrior A 
  • Parsva Drishti : far to the right – seated twist to the right 
  • Parsva Drishti : far to the left –  seated twist to the left  
  • Ajna Chakra / Broomadhya : the third eye / between the eyebrows – Meditation

Dristhi can help find balance and stability in poses like Vrksasana (Tree Pose), Garudasana(Eagle Pose), and the various stages of Hasta Padangusthasana (Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose).   It is also important to keep the gaze soft.  A hard, intense gaze will reflect in the physical body and create tension in the pose.  When the gaze is soft, the breath is soft and the mind, body and spirit become introspective.  

When we practice yoga, we are seeking balance, we are seeking connection,.  As you soften to become one with your drishti, you become one with so much more.