The Power Of Drishti

Written by Baptiste Certified Teacher and Leader Teacher Faculty Member, Michel Eubank Spruance.

You know the feeling of a “good yoga class.”  That experience of space and peace.

Well, I lost it.

I’d chalk it up to being a studio owner. To becoming so focused on critiquing teachers as part of my job that I can’t stop evaluating. Deep down, though, I knew it was something more. It seemed to be gone. Or so I thought, until I stepped on my mat at the Baptiste Power Flow Immersion this September.  

Picture a giant gym-style space filled with 400+ people. Envision rows of yogis dedicatedly holding their blocks in front of their eyes. Imagine the collective sound of deep Ujayii breath as bodies moved in unison, intently watching their blocks at each call from Baron.

“Keep your eyes on your block,” Baron told us. I did.  Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 1.09.55 PM

“Inhale, reach up and keep your eyes on the block as you move there.” I did.  

“Exhale, fold down. Keep your eyes on the block.” I did.  

I moved and breathed as instructed, my eyes anchored to my block with every changing pose. At the end of each breath/movement, I paused, held my gaze and let time be still.  

I don’t know if we did this exercise for 10 minutes or 30. I do know that this was the first time in a long time on my mat that I felt so alive, so connected, so at peace, and so refreshed. I felt powerful.

But why? What made this practice so different than the others? Why was keeping my Drishti on my block so darn effective?  

I used to think of Drishti as a noun. Somewhere out there. A point to look to. As I kept my eyes on the block and followed Baron’s voice with precision, Drishti revolutionized into a verb, a practice. Drishti went from being a place to an action. An awareness. It’s what I do, not where I look.

Focus has power. It reinvigorated my yoga practice by bringing me back to simplicity and freedom. Today, months later, the practice of Drishti has changed the way I work and live. I clear out clutter by choosing one focus at a time. I set my gaze on my goals. I check email just twice a day instead of all the time so I can give energy to important tasks. I commit to doing one thing at a time, rather than living in the anxiety-producing myth of multitasking. When I practice Drishti off my mat, I get more done and feel happier in the process.  

In The Power of Less, Leo Babauta explains, “Focus on less to become more effective. Focus on one goal in order to achieve it. Focus on the task at hand instead of multitasking, and you’ll be more productive. Focus on the present, to reduce anxiety.” Baron helped me access ease and clarity through the power of focus. I got that practicing Drishti brings me peace in the midst of life’s movement. Focus creates the possibility of accomplishing something great. Focus isn’t out there. Focus is something I can practice. And when I do—when I truly set my Drishti—I am unstoppable.

Michel Eubank Spruance has been practicing yoga for 14 years. She is a Baptiste Certified Teacher, member of the Baptiste Leader Teacher Faculty, and owner of Be Luminous Yoga, a Baptiste Inspired Studio in Seattle, WA. 

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Wow! This hit home for me right now. With the holidays upon us and work, teaching etc, etc, it gets so hectic. Drishti gets blurred, out of focus. This was so well written, thank you for your insight!

Melanie Giggs on April 24, 2015

Thank you for this post. Drishti as the first pillar of Baptiste Yoga was a revelation to me! Reconnecting to this part of my practice at the PFI was the push I needed to start moving forward in my life and to refocus on what I really want.

Diana Covey Keating on April 24, 2015

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