Sanskrit is an Indo-European language that dates back thousands of years. Sanskrit, no longer used colloquially, is an intricately designed language system that has remained intact over time. The same Sanskrit that we learn today can unlock wisdom from antiquity.

This month we are exploring two of the niyamas from Patanjali’s  Yoga Sutras:  Dhāraṇā  (concentration) and  Dhyāna  (meditation).

Dhāraṇā is a Sanskrit noun that translates to: holding, holding steady, concentration, and single focus. Developing concentration on a single object and generating a steady focus with the eyes is the initial step towards deep concentration meditation.

Dhyāna translates to meditation and may be considered as the sustained attention and the application of the mind to the chosen point of concentration.

Developing a steady concentration practice may lead to a more focused, sustained, and deeper meditation practice.

Physical focus of the week: Drishti

Drishti (dṛṣṭi) means focused gaze and is a means for developing concentrated intention. Developing drishti as a part of your yoga practice will aid in the concentration of your mind for deeper meditative states.

Drishti might be a physical focal point, a mantra, breath, or a part of the body such as the navel or tip of the tongue. Drishti can be both an external object of focus or an internal concentration of attention.

Annie on Concentration, Meditation, and Gaze:

This month we are building the practice with the five pillars of Baptiste yoga. Beginning with drishti, focused gaze; which leads us to Ujjayi, focused breath; which grounds us in the Bandhas, the foundations of the practice; which creates Tapas, the inner fire we make with our regular focused work; which leads us into the flow, vinyasa, ease and power.

As you step onto your mat simply set your gaze. There is nothing else to do but begin. Put your eyes where you want your mind to go, and when you forget and find them wandering around the room, set your gaze again. Begin. Begin again. This is the practice.

Drishti: Gaze: Focus: Concentration:

These are the doorway to meditation. The body and mind go where the eyes go. Set your gaze, your intentional focus and without trying, you just ARE meditating. At least it is the beginning of meditating. And that is all we must do today, begin.

Do not worry that you don’t have a perfect daily meditation practice. Simply step onto your mat and set your gaze. Start where you are. Reading, watching TV and people/nature watching are relaxing for a reason. We settle, and set our gaze, and the nervous system automatically calms. No, people watching isn’t meditating. Meditating is meditating. But it has similar neurological effect and noticing it is a place to begin. I have a decades long yoga practice and still joyfully claim my love for good TV. This week I commit to  five minutes of staring at a blank screen before turning it on. I am not responsible, during this 5 minutes for clearing or emptying my mind. As in our Shivasana practice, I am only responsible for staying still and present with myself during this short time. So that if, for a moment, my mind does go quiet, I will be here to notice.

1. Having trouble focusing your gaze?

Cross your eyes and gaze (gently) at the tip of your nose. we mostly are all a bit cross eyed when we concentrate anyway. not too hard though, or you will get a headache.


Cross your eyes


3. Create your own focal point

Look at your fingertips, the grains of the wood, the horizon line, a tree. Anything at all. You got this!


Set your eyes


2. When something is in front of you.

When something is in front of your gaze, your arms, another person, your problems, make your gaze fuzzy and see THROUGH what is in your path


When something is in front of you