I have been practicing yoga at least once a week since Thanksgiving because it is good for me. In so many ways, it is good for me. Lately, however, I have been practicing restless yoga. During poses I have been restless and my mind seemed to be arguing with my body, not able to thank it for supporting me through all my crazy ideas of fun, like 18 and 20 mile runs in back-to-back weekends. But today the yoga instructor, Kerry Armstrong from Salt Lake Power Yoga, was able to read my little brain bubble floating above my head and said the perfect thing for me, “Find your drishti.” And that was it, I focused on the point between my feet and the whole class changed for me.
Drishti is a gazing technique that develops concentration. It is a point on which one focuses during a pose in yoga or meditation. As I flowed through the poses and thoughts came to my mind, I acknowledged them and then reset my mind to recognize what I was doing in that moment by finding my drishti. The result was fantastic, I was able to hold still (have you ever tried actually holding still, even just for 60 seconds?) and witness my mind and body cooperating.
I started smiling….and I didn’t stop. I recognized and enjoyed my failures as much as the wins. I noticed that I was actively thinking of my smile and that allowed me to have patience with myself. During shavasna, the end of class that is delightful because you get to lie on the floor and relax for a few minutes completely devoid of any thoughts, I once again noticed my unwavering smile. I realized that my smile was actually my drishti and that focusing on that happiness and thankfulness is actually what moved me quietly through the class.
I have always thought of drishti as an external point, a place in the room on which I would set my eyes in order to keep my balance while standing precariously on one foot. This is why I love yoga, it teaches me knew things all the time. Like today, I learned that anytime I am restless, I can focus my drishti internally, set an intention, and then move forward with a new recognition for what my body and mind are offering each other. A good lesson to learn and one I fully hope to incorporate into my life as I prepare for my marathon in one week.