practice practice practice, and all is coming, said one of the most profound teachers of yoga in our modern day existence, Pattabhi Jois.
Today was the culmination of a week long yoga detox program that I was blessed with right when I needed it (starting to see a pattern here?). Sabena, 360 Degree Studio, Karachi, Pakistan. With love and care but also strength and determination Sabena provided us the support to be just whatever we needed to be this week.
I have been seriously practicing yoga, sometimes obsessively, for the last 2 years. I have achieved some personal feats in terms of my asanas, and reached milestones in my emotional, psychological, and spiritual journey. But I have finally accepted something today that my practice has been trying to show me about how i move through life off the mat.
When i practice yoga, I have a strong tendency to keep my eyes half closed or close them completely. And if I can’t close my eyes my gaze will wander everywhere. Though if you looked at me in the triangle, or the twist, or even the headstand you would never know that despite the effort, despite the concentration, I am not entirely focused on the drishti point. somehow, and i’m sure i’m not the only one, I can appear to be balanced & aligned even when I am not.
For those of you who don’t know, drishti is “a point of focus where the gaze rests during asana and meditation practice. Focusing on a drishti aids concentration, since it is easier to become distracted when the eyes are wandering all over the room.” Depending on the pose it can be the tip of your nose, between your eyebrows, and so on…
I’d like to add to this definition that for me the drishti symbolizes our ability to focus on our paths off the mat. If our gaze wanders more than it stays steady than its very likely our journey will be marked with repetitive patterns and unconscious behavior.
of course I know and accept that the human condition is imperfection. And that sometimes falling 100 feet is what you need to awaken. like Tolle says, we are more likely to be motivated to wake up from a nightmare than from a dream that just disturbs us. and I also know that even when you’re on a spiritual path, where your drishti is to be in the present moment, to fully embody the experience of being human, that ultimately nothing is a mistake or a diversion, because everything happens to only bring you deeper into your truth. and my favorite quote for today – The late Indian sage J. Krishnamurti…”Truth is a pathless land.”
Yet the practice, the effort (or tapas in yoga terminology), is what makes this journey that much more interesting, that much more difficult, and above all that much more satisfying. So without regret I honor the many many times I let my drishti wander and allowed life to flow through me on and off the mat. But finally I acknowledge something that I had been willing to overlook for the last 2 years. and so I made an intention today in class, that just like I consciously relax my shoulders every chance I get, I will also practice refining my drishti, an energy that feels like a warrior’s gaze fixed and sharp, but with the softness of clear eyes that only express from the heart.
PS – in finding a picture to go with this post I came across this http://ksuperioridad.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/the-bow-the-arrow-and-the-target/ – no such thing as a coincidence it seems like to me!