Drishti is a Sanskrit commonly interpreted to mean gaze, but encompasses so much more as is the way with many Sanskrit words.
The gaze starts with the eyes – are we looking at any one particular thing or is the gaze all over the place, darting from one thing to the next? There is so much information to take in around us, much of it visual, that it becomes difficult to focus on any one thing. When we find an unwavering point, which we are often asked to do in yoga class, to help us focus our gaze, it in turns helps us to focus our attention. When we start to focus in on a single visual cue our minds begin to get quiet. This is a method of meditation.
Yoga has often been referred to as a moving meditation and it can be that. First, though, is to get over that hurdle of noticing everything around you. When you step on your mat do you notice what the other people in the class are wearing? Do you notice whether someone is wearing makeup? Do you notice if some people are starting to stretch already? What is the conversation going on in your mind and does it involve judgement either of yourself or others? We’ve grown so accustomed to taking in so much stimuli that it is more and more difficult to just be with ourselves and to be in a peaceful space.
Even if for a few minutes try to focus your gaze on something that does not stimulate the mind and see if your mind will follow and still. Difficult to do? Probably. But as with anything it’s all about practice. Each day try again and soon enough you will be able to still the monkey mind and just let yourself relax if even for a few moments.