Monthly Archives: May 2012

Eyes are the window to the soul

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—windows are two way.
I have been thinking a lot about sight or vision lately. Where do I see myself in the future? How do I feel about my day to day life? How can I make more time to practice? And how might these questions be related? I was regularly taking yoga classes for a year, or maybe three before I understood the connection between vision/sight and, the word drishti; a beautiful slightly awkward Sanskrit word that I feel means “sight” or “vision”. It sounds so simple, and this simplicity holds a profound, potent capacity for a conscious lifestyle. A drishti can be the literal place that you look during your sun salutations (on the tip of your nose, according to Mr.Iyengar), that un-moving spot on the wall when you try to hold a balancing pose like eagle and the perspective that you experience when you remember the past or think about the future.
If I ask, why do you practice (and it can be whatever you practice: yoga, writing, running)? What comes up? What are you looking to your practice for?
Do you arrive at your yoga mat to get a kick-butt workout, to foster calm in your mental state, both, or something in between? Identifying the drishti behind the why you practice can reveal a lot. I kept coming back to my mat and taking my practice as a yoga teacher, even though my left wrist was increasingly bothering me.  I was telling my students to listen to their bodies as I was ignoring mine.  I fought the injury and I struggled past the diagnosis—and when I looked closely at what I was doing to myself I realized my yoga practice was making me miserable.  I felt weak, disempowered and injured. A one degree shift in my drishti has meant the difference between exacerbating my issue and re-cultivating a nourishing practice.  This translates as practicing deep listening rather than flowing through someone else’s sun salutations—and often leaving down dog out. 
I practice to explore my edges of possibility, to throw my perspective upside down, crack open preconceived notions and leave them at the door—at the end I breathe more deeply and step off more fully grounded in myself. What keeps bringing you back to your practice? When I begin to look at why I practice I realize that it is an ever-changing, ever moving target.
Sometimes my drishti of life is very, very focused “eye on the prize”style.  When I was making a living as an actor in New York my personal life would drown in the dishes in the kitchen sink every time I was working on a show. I can accomplish a lot, achieving goals quickly—but this has also made it hard to see what is missing when I feel stuck, as if I couldn’t see amazing things that were right in front of my face.
I have spent the last couple years of my life trying to soften my “life goal drishti” so I can savor the journey while I am on it.  I sit longer with questions, quietly observing what serves me and what does not. What is apparent as you look back on the day or the past year? Sitting here right now in this moment what do you see in front of you? And as you look forward into the future what do you envision?
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