Drishti to Nirvana

chair pose utkatasana, drishti, focal point

Drishti to Nirvana

Drishti, or focused gaze, is a means for strengthening your concentration. Distractions are addictive. Ever feel edgy and restless trying not to check your cell phone every few minutes? Or god forbid, you forgot your phone at home. Full body shakes might occur! You feel it on your mat. The need to check your hair, pick that one piece of lint off your mat, tug on on that one piece of toenail skin, a million thoughts running through your head. Towel off, sip water, go to the bathroom because you don’t like the pose the teacher is doing. The list goes on. Here’s the thing:



One way to focus in yoga class is through your Drishti – the place you direct your eyes. The tip of your nose in Cobra and Up Dog, your top shoulder or elbow in Twisted Lunge, your middle fingernail in Warrior II. All to hone your attention training skills. That spot you are focusing on out there is a reflection from within you. Notice where you gaze. Are your eyes darting all around the room, comparing and contrasting? Judging yourself or others? Catch yourself. Connect to what you’re thinking. If you teacher hasn’t offered a focal point, give yourself one. Look for the energy and the action of the pose. Align your neck with your spine and shift your gaze to a single point of focus. Guide your attention and awareness.


In meditation, we work at maintaining focus and concentration that eventually shifts to discerning a gap between our thoughts. Then we work on widening the gap between our thoughts. Residing within the point of concentration, residing in the gap. The space in between; the field of all possibilities. Who knew that our drishti was so connected to nirvana?


The more you practice guiding your awareness and your focus on your mat, the more you’ll be able to focus your awareness when you aren’t at yoga holding your attention on the task at hand. Washing dishes? Feel the warm soapy water, hear the bubbles pop, notice the circular pattern you’re making with your brush or sponge. Talking to someone on the phone? Really listen to their voice, their words, their meaning. Stop multi-tasking, like checking your email at the same time.

By focusing on one thing, you’ll be less stressed, more engaged, more present, more ALIVE!!! Get over the withdrawal symptoms of distraction and get to the PEACE beyond. Maybe you won’t even get the shakes next time you forget your cell phone!


Kelli Russell
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1 Comment
  • Jenny Hefferon Harkleroad
    Posted at 02:10h, 09 July Reply

    Love your thoughts! Your article reminded me of a situation that happened to me once. I was doing a real estate transaction with a buyer who was a monk living at a Buddhist Monastery. He was buying land to expand the Monastery property. The seller was a contractor. I remember the contractor commenting to me how sad it was how these monks lived their lives walking around being mindful and how much they were missing out on. He said all their great potential was wasted. I have to say, at the time I agreed in some ways. But now that I’m a few years older and wiser, is it the person enjoying a focused yoga practice who get more benefit and peace or the one taking the same yoga class while judging their neighbor and planning their dinner menu. Thanks for your tips Kelli! I’m going to work on my focus!

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