A drishti is a concentration point, an inatimate object to concentrate on while you are in a balancing pose. I stress inanimate because, as I explain to my students – I move! Do not watch a yoga instructor during balancing poses, as we are just as likely to fall out of them as you are.
Balance is something that many beginning students find challenging. I am often hearing “I can’t do yoga because I am not flexible and I have no balance.” Of course you can do yoga! Yoga isn’t flexibility of the body, but of the mind. Balance doesn’t just involve our physical bodies, but our mental bodies as well. When we begin yoga, we are able to connect mind and body as one – and learn to balance from within.
My dad has a great theory on life – the triangle theory. We need to be able to balance our lives to make time for friends, family and work (the 3 points of his triangle). Each person has a different shape and different priorities, but the concept stays the same. In order to find happiness, we need to find balance among our interests, desires and needs.
My brother and I have been hearing this theory all of our lives, and it wasn’t until my wedding that I put extra thought into it what he was saying. I have (almost) always been able to find balance. So when one of my husbands’ friends heard the theory for the first time at our wedding, I was a bit shocked to see his awe and inspiration. Balance was something he was trying to find in his own world and he was grateful for my father’s words.
As I mentioned, balance isn’t just found in warrior 1, tree pose or airplane, but in our mental beings as well as our physical bodies. When we have a bad day, nothing is lining up right – boss was yelling, fought with a loved one – you may not find balance in a physical pose. While it is hard to unite mind and body on a conscious level, we are always united on a subconscious level, constantly working together to find either resistance or harmony.
Through yoga we are able to unite mind, body & spirit on a conscious level. (Spirit, meaning breath in almost all ancient languages – among many other translations). This balance, similar to my dads triangle, will help us in our practice and in our everyday lives. When I have an off day (which does happen sometimes), I try my best to remember to keep my balance. However, if I slip: cry, yell, scream, vent out every negative emotion – I know I am purging the negative to make proper space for new forms of positivity. Occasional bad days are a gift. In the moment, we feel as though everything is falling apart – like things will never be balanced. But, if we invite in the challenge and release the negativity, we are able to find proper balance the following morning.
This time of year is the darkest and coldest in my part of the world. We need to work extra hard to find balance and consciously unite mind, body & spirit! In doing so, we release darkness and find light.
May you find your own form of balance, love and light during this winter solstice.
Get out there – do yoga & make your life sparkle!