Drsti – The Yogic Gaze

The practice of Drsti, or yogic gaze, is one of the three pillars of Tristana, and is used to help us practice both focus and stability. It leads us to the concentration needed to keep us balanced and helps control the tendency to wander around following our senses. Drsti is a perfect aid in the practice of pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), and it initiates the practice of dharana (concentration).

Benefits

Training the gaze not only helps with focus during out practice, but actually helps us go deeper into the pose, such as in twists when we take our gaze to the side we are twisting towards. Other times the gaze helps us stay grounded. In the case of supine twists, when we take the gaze in the direction opposite of the legs, the gaze helps to ground the opposite shoulder and aids in getting a fuller twist in the entire back. Keeping your gaze at a prescribed point is not as important as keeping it very steady and aware.

Drsti - yogic gaze
Photo by Emily Sea on Unsplash

The Practice

There are nine drsti points, and each pose has its own prescribed drsti. For each pose, keep your gaze on the prescribed point, but soften the eyes and do not focus so intently that you lose awareness of your body. Following are the nine drstis, and a short description of each.

Nasagrai

Nasagrai refers to the nose tip, center of ida and pingala nadis as in uttanasana and prasarita padottanasana. This is the drsti that is used most often. It is more about looking in the direction of the nose than actually at the exact tip of the nose. Otherwise you would become cross-eyed.

Broomadhya

Broomadhya refers to the third eye (Ajna chakra), as in ardha uttanasana and urdhva mukha svanasana. Look slightly up and to the center. This drsti helps us maintain a deeper focus and cultivate a stronger spiritual practice.

Nabi Chakra

Nabi Chakra refers to the navel or belly, as in adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog). Nabi Chakra helps activate uddiyanabandha.

Hastagrai

Hastagrai refers to the hands, as in trikonasana. Looking towards your hand helps further open the chest.

Padhayoragrai

Padhayorarai refers to the toes, such as in parsvottonasana. Extending our gaze towards the toes helps lengthen the spine.

Parsva Drsti

Parsva drsti refers to the far left or far right as in marichyasana C and D.  Not only do you get to stretch your neck, you also get to deepen the twist.

Angusta Ma Dyai

Angusta ma dyai refers to the thumbs as in urdhva hastasana. We can also follow the hands as we shift between poses to help maintain the focus and steadiness.

Urdhva Drsti

Urdhva drsti means upward gaze as in utkatasana. Taking the gaze up helps extend the spine and open the heart. Make sure not to compress in the neck while taking the gaze up.

Namaste

Thanks for reading! To learn more about drsti and how it can be used in your yoga practice, please join us for a yoga retreat or yoga teacher’s training at the Doron Yoga and Zen Center in Guatemala.

 

Practical tools for health and happiness.
Ever wanted to:
• Get strong and toned without lifting weights?
• Get flexible without being a ballerina?
• Lose weight without a diet?
• Find a steady and focused mind?
• Stay calm and cool no matter what?
Sign up and receive my FREE guide "7 Most Important Actions for Radical Health Improvement"