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Drishti (gazing)

In asanas or in meditation we can employ drishti or gazing and focusing at a specific point.
Drishti can be outer, meaning gazing at a specific point with the eyes open, or it can be inner
(antar) drishti with the eyes closed but directed towards a certain point (both with the eyes and
the mind). In certain schools of yoga every asana has a specific drishti. In yoga, steadiness of the
gaze corresponds with steady mind, while a lot of eye movements correspond with more or less
turbulent mind.

The general aim of drishti is to increase focus, concentration and a certain kind of energy. The
other effects depending on the type of drishti can be moving our mind away from the external
objects, calming down, increasing alertness, reducing wandering of the mind, creating
contemplative/meditative emotional tone, exercising eyes, creating different emotional or
spiritual effects.

The drishti focus points can be traditional or individually created.

The traditional points are:

1. Urdhva drishtiup to the sky

2. Bhrumadhya drishtibetween the eyebrows

3. Nasagram drishtitip of the nose

4. Parshva drishtifar to the right

5. Parshva drishtifar to the left

6. Nabhi chakra drishtinavel

7. Hastagram drishtihand

8. Padayoragram drishtitoes

9. Angushthamadhyam drishtithumbs
And the individual drishti can be created or selected from your surroundings like drawing dots or
flowers or deities or mandalas or yantras or anything that inspires you, or choosing an object
from your surrounings, like a door knob or some spot on the wall or some other object around
you if traditional gazing points for some reason do not suit you.

Here we have several elements:

First we have an element of focus or concentration that is so important in yoga. This focus
prevents mind from wandering in the past or future ant brings it back to now, which creates often
a refined emotion of silence, attention and presence. One of the functions of drishti is to prevent
mind from wandering.

Then we have an emotional aspect, which is totally different if the mind is wandering (maybe we
are arguing with someone in our mind or we are worrying about future), as opposed the mind is
focused. Also the emotion is different if the mind is focused on a dot, on a deity and on the door
knob .

Here we can add the spiritual aspect also, which is similar to emotional aspect.

In the physical aspect, we can repeat that gazing downwards activates parasympathetic nervous
system and that gazing upwards activates sympathetic nervous system.

It should be clear by now that we can creatively or traditionally sprinkle our whole practice with
drishti.