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.