Focus on your what? Huh? What the heck is a drishti? Prior to getting certified in yoga, I didn’t know what the heck that word meant either. My spellcheck is having a field day with that word. Yes, yes, I know Mr. Spellcheck ... you think it’s misspelled.
We won’t worry about the spelling and instead get to the deeper meaning of the word. This is a nice summary of the meaning of drishti that I found on drishti.ca:
"The practice of Drishti is a gazing technique that develops concentration and teaches you to see the world as it really is. In yoga, drishti is a point of focus where the gaze rests during a posture and meditation practice--gazing outward while bringing awareness inward."
When I was first introduced to this funny word, I was standing on one foot doing tree pose in yoga class. Well, I was TRYING to. I fell here. I fell there. My tree fell everywhere. TIMBERRR! If I looked at the person in front of me and noticed them falling, I fell, too. If I looked down, I fell. If I closed my eyes, I fell.
The teacher said, “Find your set point. Focus on a spot on the wall, don’t take your eyes off it, or you’ll lose your balance.”
Ahhhh. Finally, I was as sturdy as a tree. A smile came over my face. It was soon followed by a sense of strength and determination. I felt like a warrior! I could have stood there all day! Okay, maybe not that long!
The wisdom that I gained on the mat that day soon became wisdom OFF the mat.
It’s funny how that happens, doesn’t it? Sometimes the simplest experiences can be the most profound and life-changing. Whenever I go through a stressful situation in my life or if somebody is trying to knock me down, I say to myself, “Focus on your drishti. Focus on your drishti.”
How many times has someone tried to knock down your tree? How many times were you not focused and you let them do it?
There are lots of lumberjacks out there! I have other names for them, but let's keep it clean and call them lumberjacks, shall we? These "lumberjacks" find pleasure in taking you down. Seeing you stand tall makes them feel small. It's easier for them to just take you down, so they feel superior. You have to realize that their insecurities are not your problem. Whether you are standing tall or sitting small, their insecurities will still be there. As Marianne Williamson said, "There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that others don't feel insecure around you." Trust me ... it's not worth shrinking.
Even if it's not a particular person that is trying to knock you down, you can even experience some major storms in your life that can knock you on your ass. I have certainly had my share of hurricanes come through my life. Speaking of trees, have you ever noticed how palm trees survive a hurricane? They can withstand 75-mile per hour winds and heavy rain by bending side to side, and yet, they will pop right back up when the storm is over. Amazing. We can learn so much from the simplicities of nature.
Whether it's a lumberjack or a hurricane, are you willing to sacrifice your happiness, your dreams, your desires, your sanity, your peace, your heart, your confidence, your safety, your career, your family, your spirit, your EVERYTHING? You need to stand tall like a beautiful tree!
When you are having a moment (and you WILL have several!) where you feel like you are going to tumble down, follow these steps:
1. Inhale slowly. Breathe in love, strength, and determination.
2. Gaze outward while bringing your awareness inward.
3. Focus on your drishti, your mission, your purpose, your heart.
4. Stand tall. Shoulders back. Head held high.
5. Exhale slowly. Breathe out love, strength, and determination.
6. Repeat. Repeat until you have regained your balance.
If you sway a bit from side to side, be like the palm tree and pop right back up. It's okay to lose your balance.
Just remember as you go throughout your day, focus on your drishti. Focus on the task at hand.
Stay present. Stay strong. Stay balanced.
Now make like a tree and go kick some ass!