Drishti , Gaze in Ashtanga Yoga

In Tadasana Teacher Baqer Gaze toward the hand

The withdrawal of the audio sense is brought about by listening toone’s own breath rather than to external sounds. The withdrawal or turning in of the visual sense is practiced through drishti, the attachment of one’s gaze to various focal points. These are:

• toward the nose
• toward the center of the forehead (third eye)
• toward the navel
• toward the hand
• toward the toes
• toward the side
• toward the thumb
• upward

By doing this, one prevents oneself from looking around, which would let the mind reach out. Following drishti, the
practice becomes deeply internal and meditative.

Drishti is also a practice of concentration (dharana), the sixth of Patanjali’s limbs of yoga. If we practice in a
distracted way, we may find ourselves listening to the birds outside and gazing around the room. To perform all of
the prescribed actions — bandha, ujjayi, drishti, and finding proper alignment — the mind needs to be fully
concentrated; otherwise one of the elements will miss out. In this way the practice provides us with constant
feedback about whether we are in dharana. In time dharana will lead to meditation (dhyana).

“One must endeavour to retain all the prana through the mind, in the navel, the tip of the nose and the big toes. Focussing at the tip of the nose is the means to mastery over prana. By focussing on the navel all diseases are removed. The body attains lightness by focussing on the big toes.”

PYSI – Pakistan


Baqer Mehdi