In yoga, the science of drishti teaches us that where our attention goes, the energy follows. Sanskrit for “sight” or “vision,” drishti is the practice of fixing the gaze on a single point of focus. A drishti often accompanies a yoga posture, meditation, or breath.
A focused gaze works to minimize sensory input. And while the drishti in asana practice has more to do with the physical expression of a posture, the focus in Kundalini Yoga is most often inward. Many Kundalini postures, kriyas, and meditations specify an exact point of focus for the eyes. The physical eyes are most often closed, and the gaze is internal.
The nuances between the varying gaze points are detailed below. Each impacts the brain and glandular system, through the optic nerve, in various ways. By shifting the gaze from the brow point to the tip of the chin, for example, we change the pressure on the glands and gray matter of the brain. This initiates subtle biochemical changes, and merits eye focus as a powerful technique in itself.
Philosophically, the discipline of drishti reminds us that we are responsible for our focus, both on and off the mat. Accepting responsibility for where we place our attention is key to accepting responsibility for our life.
This is our default gaze in Kundalini Yoga. To practice, close your eyes and lift your gaze to the brow point. Your focus will be at the center of the forehead, just above the eyebrows, about a quarter of an inch above the root of your nose and the same distance inside your skull. The eyes are closed, and you are turning your attention inward. This part of the forehead corresponds to the Sixth, or Ajna Chakra.
To practice, open your eyes just enough to look at the tip of your nose. Do not cross your eyes. If you get a headache, relax the drishti and try again once the pain has subsided. This one takes some getting used to!
Close your eyes and shift your focus down, to the center of the chin. This point of focus corresponds to the Moon Center.
Close your eyes and focus at the very top of your skull, as if you had a sunroof on the top of your head and could see out of it. This area is the Crown Chakra, also called the Tenth Gate. Project from it.
Close your eyes, and then open them 1/10th of the way, just enough to see out of them.
The science of drishti, in terms of the practical benefits and the philosophical implication of practice, remains the same across yogic disciplines. But a few gaze points in Kundalini Yoga are unique to this practice, particularly the drishti at the tip of the chin and the tip of the nose.