Friday, August 20, 2010


I am learning by looking at my pictures and watching my videos. I realize that I have sometimes another drishti than it is supposed to be. Some times ago I was searching in my books for the dirshtis and I found out that not always the authors have the same opinion where the drishti is, where to look at and so I made my own philosophy: mainly the eyes don't move much and look in one direction, I thought.
But what I see is that the direction of the drishti can help to perform the asana correctly. Yesterday I took a picture of marichyasana C and I looked at my nose. First I thought: Yes I have only 20 sec to get into that asana, but let's face it, the eyes don't need much time to look in the correct direction. The correct direction for marichyasana C is the side. I think this is also a good reminder for the performance of this asana: It is always stretching upwards looking straight ahead (not down), then twisting.

To keep the eyes calm has an influence on the mind. When we are thinking the eyes are moving (rapid eye movements). It can also be observed when people talk. When we are dreaming the eyes move, too. To keep the eyes calm also keeps the mind calm. That's why the dristhis have an importance. It helps to be focused.

Some yogis/yoginis close the eyes when they practice. That's not how it is supposed to be. Only in the above asana, balasana, the eyes are closed. It is done after sirsasana.
Also when sitting in padmasana (lotus pose) at the end of the series the eyes are not closed. Dristi is nasagrai, the nose.

As an exercise we once closed the eyes in a class while doing the sun salutation. Balancing becomes a challenge then. Give it a try when you want to play around a bit. This is not classic Ashtanga of course.

Every evening I read a chapter in the book by Guruji. I am a bit sad that I missed the first years. I could have known it, I could have known it, I think, but I haven't heard about Ashtanga at all 10 or even 20 years ago.

My reference book for dristhis is the book by P. Jois and Lino Miele "Astanga:

The eight dristis (gazing direction):
1. Nose - nasagrai dristi
2. upwards - urdhva dristi
3. third eye - ajna chakra dristi
4. hand - hasagrai dristi
5. thumbs - angustha madyai dristi
6. right or left side - parsva dristi
7. navel - nabi dristi
8. foot - padayoragrai dristi

I quote Matthew Sweeney "Asthanga yoga, as it is": page 12:" By keeping the gaze to the traditional dristi, pratyahare or withdrawal of the mind from external judgement  is cultivated.........Stay in contact with the here and now of bodily awareness, rather than constantly looking (and judging) on the outside."

I admit when I am in classes, I do not look around much nevertheless I realize how fellow yogis/yoginis practice. I am learning from the practices of others for my own practice.

Yep I will learn the sanskrit names of the dristis, it's an exercise for the mind, too.

Matthew Sweeney "Ashanga yoga as it is":

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