Last week a random person was my drishti.
This person still has no idea that they held me aloft in tree pose, nor do I have any idea who they were. Nevertheless, they were my drishti.
A drishti, for those who may not have heard of it before, is gaze towards some focal point. It could be behind your shoulders in a twist or up to your hands in triangle pose, but I’ve most often heard it referring to a point near the floor in a balance pose.
You find some point, could be an electrical socket or a bit of carpeting, and you stare at it, and miraculously this really does help you keep your balance. Somehow the focus calms your limbs and gives you strength.
The windows to the yoga studio I was in let you see across a street and down through a park, so there are a few more possibilities than usual for finding a drishti. I was struggling to balance until I looked all the way down and saw tiny little person, bundled up in winter gear. From my perspective, this person was no bigger than a sliver of almond. I set my gaze and balanced for a bit – until the pose was over. Then when I looked up again, that person was gone.
Even outside of yoga, I feel like we need drishtis, something to help us focus and balance. It might be a loved one or not. It might just be someone who was nice to you at the grocery store. For me, it’s often my houseplant. It’s something that’s stable and still, even just temporarily.
At the same time, we are others’ drishtis. We flux and grow but along the way we have our moments of stability which we can throw out like seeds to others, even without knowing we are doing it. We can be the person who is nice in the grocery store. We can be the person who pauses in a park on a winter day, taking a minute to breathe – and never realizing we were making someone stronger in their yoga class up the hill.
Orphan Black is my favorite show for people helping people… partially because those people are largely clones of the same person. Sarah Manning is the one we first meet, but eventually we come to know and love her “sestras,” as well, each brilliantly different as portrayed by Tatiana Maslany. Each in turn endures great hardship, and they certainly fight (pencils do not go there, Sarah!) but they have each other, and in with that strength they can face down big bad.
With that in mind, I get into a revolved half moon pose. It’s like half moon, balancing on one foot but bending over and putting one hand on the floor – but you twist so that it’s the opposite hand from the foot. In that pose, reaching for the sky with the opposite hand pleas for help, and a drishti in any form might just be the key.