Ever wondered why cats, in particular, have such incredible stability? (not including those hilarious cat fail videos that are always on my Facebook timeline!)
Well, it’s because cats have mastered the art of Drishti - the yogi term for "focal point". Watch a cat next time you come into contact with one, or if you’re a cat owner. Watch his/her behaviour. They are little zen masters, they have such a cool demeanour and control over their minds that they are always in the present moment. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can distract a cat if something has caught its eye. We can take that lesson from all cats, even the big beautiful Jaguars like you find in Costa Rica are zen masters. We humans have lost that instinct and that focus. The good news is that it can be re-learnt! We can regain balance throughout our lives and within our yoga practice.
During a yoga practice, it’s so easy to get sidetracked - looking around the room or waiting for the next pose to begin in anticipation of what's next. The sad thing about that is we forget to enjoy the moment and all the sensations that come with it. Part of the yoga practice is to practice being in the present moment, and engaging your Drishti (focal point) can do just that. When we focus on something ahead of us that isn’t moving, it not only steadies the body, but it quietens the mind and helps us to focus our internal energy.
That energy and focus will help our mind to listen to the breath & the sensations going on in the body. So, besides engaging the right muscles to hold you in an asana (pose), channelling your inner cat by finding your Drishti point is one of the most important tips for improving your balance. This technique can also be used off the mat, for instance when you’re out for a stroll. Instead of using all your energy in anticipation of getting to your final destination, use that energy to focus internally and listen to the breath. And use your Drishti to focus on the goings on around you - the sounds of the birds - the chatter of passersby - the visuals of flowers, cats, dogs, birds. Make this a habit with whatever you do, even if it's just making a cup of tea. See it as a way of using all your senses at once, feeling, listening, watching, being. Then watch and experience the mind becoming still, and feel your heart filling up with contentment.
Learn to use focal points (drishti) to improve your home yoga experience...