In yoga asanas, we hear the teachers say gaze at your thumb during Warrior 1, or gaze at your navel during Downward Dog. These gazing point are called Dristi.
But why is it important? I’ve decided to do some research on this …
Dristi is the point of focus where gaze rests during asana and meditation. Even though Dristi is a fixed gaze, it should always stay soft and not straining.
Practicing Dristi teaches you to control your wandering eyes, limit your intake of external stimuli and thus manage your mind instead of allowing it to manage you. This relates to the fifth limb of yoga (pratyahara – withdrawal of senses from objects and bring consciousness inwards), as well as the sixth limb (dharana – concentration). It also enhances your physical practice by preserving and directing your energy, enhancing alignment and even deepens a pose.
There are 8 specific types of Dristi and each yoga asana has a Dristi for you to practice in.
1. Bhrumadhye Dristi (third eye)
Like in Kurmasana, Matsyasana and Viparita Virabhadrasana
2. Nasagra Dristi (nose tip) * main Dristi for most poses
Like in Padungustasana and Purvottanasana
3. Angustha Dristi (tip of thumb)
Like in Virabhadrasana I
4. Hastagra Dristi (Tip of middle finger)
Like in Trikonasana and Virabhadrasana II
5. Nabi Dristi (navel)
Like in Downward facing dog
6. Padagra Dristi (tip of big toe)
Like in Paschimottanasana and Janu Sirsasana
7. Urdhva Dristi (up in space)
Like in Upavistha Konasan and Ardha Chandrasana
8. Parsva Dristi (To the left or right side)
Like in Marichyasana C
Michelle Lee (200hr Yoga TTC 07/14 Weekend)