Every pose has a set drishti. Your drishti is where you set your gaze. It is looking without seeing. It is intended to turn you inwards and lessen the external stimulus from the outside world. For example, in warrior 2 you set your gaze over your front middle finger, in down dog the drishti can be between your feet or up at your navel. You look at something that is so mundane and common that you don’t have to think about it.
The drishti helps you keep your eyes off of distractions, other people and their practices for example. Where our eyes go our energy goes. This is relatively easy to accomplish while on your mat. Once you know where to set your gaze, it becomes just another thing you do while practicing, like breathing. However, practicing drishti off of our mats can be more difficult.
As we go about our day, we are often bombarded with advertisements that work very hard at making us feel inadequate. We will never be “enough” unless we buy the things They want us to buy. We have social media, flooding us with filtered and edited images of other people’s lives. There are whole television networks dedicated to showing us other people’s houses and lifestyles. People in our lives, family members, coworkers, friends, brag about their newest and greatest achievements, purchases, and lifestyle choices. Basically, at every turn we are met with other people’s practices, other people’s lives.
Set your drishti. Look at your own life. What makes you happy, really, truly happy? Sometimes, you have to shut your eyes and turn inward in order to answer this question. Stop giving your energy to everyone else’s lifestyles. Admiration is one thing, but it can quickly turn into envy. Find a way to live a life that you would admire.
Set your drishti. Look at your life. What do you really need? Billboards and commercials work hard at making us crave things we don’t actually need. You might not need that new car. You probably don’t need that fast-food burger. Listen to your gut, just like in your yoga practice. Can you hear your intuition speaking?
When we set our drishti on another person’s practice, we often try to force our bodies into the shape the other person is making. Through this we can hurt ourselves, and also hold ourselves back from what we are individually capable of. When we set our sights, drishti, on another person’s life we miss out on all the sweetness in our own lives. We fall victim to all kinds of malcontent and vices. Let other people walk their path, practice their yoga. Look down at your feet, follow your own path. Listen to you spirit, guiding you toward what you need. Set your drishti and live your life. Be uniquely you, both on and off of the mat.