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Mostly I've just retained the 'Research' posts, those relating to Krishnamacharya in particular.

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Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Updated: DRISHTI: Overview of Drishtis indicated for the Surynamaskaras by the different authors resp. Instructors ALSO Krishnamacharya's Gaze.

"Tristhana: This means the three places of attention or action: posture, breathing system and looking place. These three are very important for yoga practice, and cover three levels of purification: the body, nervous system and mind. They are always performed in conjunction with each other". KPJAYI

There's an excellent post on "Drishti, Why does Drishti Work' from Bobbie over at Confluence Countdown, check out the comments section too.

Bobbie did mention that Pattabhi Jois doesn't have anything to say about Drishti and that it came about in the later research. It's true that here isn't much in Yoga Mala  (see below I've listed all usage) but that doesn't mean he wasn't necessarily directing the gaze in his teaching, I should ask Manju next time and perhaps you can ask Nancy and David if you take a workshop with them. There is an important passage on drishti in Yoga Mala under surynamaskara. This is from my earlier post on learning the Vinyasa Count.

A note on Drishti

Pattabhi Jois doesn't talk about drishti much in yoga mala, nor does Krishnamacharya, mostly nasagra drishti [the gaze on the tip of the nose] or  broomadhya drishti [the gaze between the eyebrows] is implied. however Pattabhi jois does have this to say in relation to the 7th vinyasa of Surynamaskara B that holds for his whole system. Manju Jois says nasagra drishti is a kind of default drishti but that we are also free to close out eyes.

This is the method for the first Surya Namaskara, which is often practiced while chanting mantras. For this, meditation is very important, as are the drishti, or gazing places, which include: nasagra drishti [the gaze on the tip of the nose] for samasthiti; broomadhya drishti [the gaze between the eyebrows] for the 1st vinyasa; nasagra dristri for the 2nd vinyasa; the gaze between the eyebrows for the 3rd vinyasa— in other words, for the odd-numbered vinyasas, the gaze should be focused between the eyebrows and, for the even- numbered ones, the gaze should be on the tip of the nose. In addition, for the even-numbered vinyasas, rechaka should be performed and, for the odd, one should do puraka. On the whole, the method for doing rechaka and puraka is the same for all the vinyasas and asanas ahead. A sadhaka [spiritual aspirant] should learn it with patience". 
Pattabhi Jois Yoga Mala 1999 p46

A few more quotes from Pattabhi Jois on Drishti, gaze and looking after the krishnamacharya yoga Makaranda section below.

Krishnamacharya too of course mentioned drishti in his descriptions of asana in Yoga Makaranda, mostly nasagra drishti [the gaze on the tip of the nose] for samasthiti; broomadhya drishti [the gaze between the eyebrows]. Manju Jois refers to nasagra and broomadhya drishti as default drishti, he also offers the suggestion/recommendation/option of just closing the eyes, encouraging you to "try it".

Thank you to Matthias Schmidt  for getting in touch last night with a couple of corrections to my recent Vinyasa Count Sheets post. he pointed out a couple of errors ( that I've now put right). I'd referred to Marichiyasana D in one example when I was clearly writing about B. In the Prasarita's I'd written prasaritta padothanasana A and D when it should have been A to D, and in Uthita hasta Padangusthasana I'd missed out the 9th state of the asana. Thank you again Mathias for pointing those out.

I mentioned to Mathias that the reason I had produced the vinyasa Sheets yesterday was that I was working on a comparison between Krishnamacharya, Pattabhi Jois and Sharath's presentation of the vinyasa count.

Matthias came right back with " Oh I explored something like that with Drishti" and then sent it too me, here it is. We seem to share a particular kind of madness, Matthias has excellent Excel skills to go with his. Matthias actually collected the data and produced excel sheets for the full primary series a few years back but looking at it again now he saw that several of the instructors mentioned had changed their descriptions. He reviewed and edited the Surynamaskara section and said it was 'safe' to share this at least.

"What you may want to do, and what's totally fine with me, is to use the first sun salutation already as an example for the different approach to drishti. And - as I said in a previous mail - I don't really think that it matters. As long as one is consistent in ones own practice. Of course there is a difference in Surya A if you use the thumbs or the the third eye in dve or nasagrai, urdhva or broomadhya on pancha (actually, one of my teachers claims that Richard Freeman strongly advises against the use of broomadhya in pancha, because it makes one too mental) - but at the end of the day, I guess that it's the consistency of the approach that leads to the mditative experience.
Looking very briefly at your link, I also found it interesting that Krishnamacharya indicated the third eye as the "standard" drishti, whereas for Patthabi Jois it seems to be nasagrai. The different appraoches already start on that level". Matthias

Overview of Drishtis indicated for the Surynamaskaras by the different authors resp. Instructors

"I just got around to also check Petri's book on the general chapter on drishti, and I scanned the two pages for you, as your book is currently travelling. On the second page, interestingly, he mentions a drishti that he does not show on the first page - and that no one else (to my memory) mentions, the "down on the floor" drishti." Matthias

See my review of Petri's excellent and useful book here

UPDATED. BOOK REVIEW: Petri Räisänen's 'Definitive Primary Series Practice Manual'

I've just remembered that Petri shows the count for both full and half vinyasa in his book.

And while we're at it here's Krishnamacharya on Drishti/Gaze from yoga makaranda Parts I and II

Krishnamacharya on Drishti
from Krishnamacharya’s Yoga Makaranda 

When I explain the rules of yogasana, if the position of the head has not been specified, then keep the head in jalandara bandha. Similarly, if it does not specify where to place the gaze, then the gaze should be directed towards the midbrow. If the position of the hands has not been specified, then the hands should be kept as in siddhasana. Whenever there is a krama where some part of the body has to be held with the hand, and the placement of the hand has not been described, hold the relevant part of the body with the first three fingers of the hand (including the thumb). Make sure to remember this.
When practising the asanas, it is important to do both the right and left sides. First practise the right side and then the left side. If you don’t do this, the strength of yoga will not reach all parts of the body”. p26

YOga makaranda parts I and II can be downloaded from my Free Download page

Some times googledocs can be a little choosy about the browsers it works with, if you have trouble downloading try a different browser, all documents are available for download whatever it tells you.

Krishnamacharya on Drishti, the gaze
I've included asana descriptions only up to the point in which Krishnamacharya mentions the gaze ( in Yoga Makaranda parts I and II, gaze is mentioned (or translated rather than gaze).

I've highlighted in Bold where drishti is mentioned. As we can see it's nearly always at the tip of the nose or between the eyebrows.

1 Uttanasana (Figure 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7)
Following the rules for tadasana (yogasana samasthiti krama) (Figure 4.1, 4.2), stand erect. Afterwards, while exhaling the breath out slowly, bend the upper part of the body (that is, the part above the hip) little by little and place the palms down by the legs. The knees must not be even slightly bent. Raise the head upwards and fix the gaze on the tip of the nose…..

8 Pascimattanasana or Pascimottanasana (Figure 4.19 — 4.28)
This asana has many kramas. Of these the first form has 16 vinyasas. Just doing the asana sthiti by sitting in the same spot without doing these vinyasas will not yield the complete benefits mentioned in the yoga sastras. This rule applies to all asanas.
The first three vinyasas are exactly as for uttanasana. The 4th vinyasa is caturanga dandasana, the 5th vinyasa is urdhvamukhasvanasana, the 6th vinyasa is adhomukhasvanasana. Practise these following the earlier instructions. In the 6th vinyasa, doing puraka kumbhaka, jump and arrive at the 7th vinyasa. That is, from adhomukhasvanasana sthiti, jump forward and move both legs between the arms without allowing the legs to touch the floor. Extend the legs out forward and sit down. Practise sitting like this with the rear part of the body either between the two hands or 4 angulas in front of the hands. It is better to learn the abhyasa krama from a guru. In this sthiti, push the chest forward, do puraka kumbhaka and gaze steadily at the tip of the nose…

17 Utthitahasta Padangushtasana (Figure 4.49, 4.50, 4.51)
First, push the chest forward and stand erect with equal balance. While standing this way, make sure that the head, neck, back, hips, arms and legs are aligned properly and gaze at the tip of the nose.

18 Baddhapadmasana (Figure 4.52, 4.53, 4.54, 4.55)
Place the right foot on top of the left thigh and the left foot on top of the right thigh. Take the hands behind the back and tightly clasp the big toe of the right foot with the first three fingers of the right hand and tightly clasp the big toe of the left foot with the first three fingers of the left hand.
Press the chin firmly against the chest. Keep the gaze fixed on the midbrow. Sit down, keeping the rest of the body straight. This has the name baddhapad- masana. This asana must be repeated on the other side (that is, first place the left foot on top of the right thigh and then the right foot on top of the left thigh) in order to exercise both sides of the body.
This has 16 vinyasas. The 8th and 9th vinyasas are the asana sthiti. The other vinyasas are like pascimottanasana. Study the pictures (Figures 4.52, 4.53) and learn how to keep the gaze. In this asana, one must do puraka kumbhaka. Only in yoga mudra sthiti should one do recaka. This sthiti consists of two forms — so study the pictures (Figures 4.54, 4.55) carefully.

26 Niralamba Sarvangasana (Figure 4.70)
This has 14 vinyasas. The 8th vinyasa is the asana sthiti. The form depicted in the picture is the 8th vinyasa. This is niralamba sarvangasana paristhiti. In order to get to this sthiti, slowly raise the arms and legs either together or one-by- one in the 7th vinyasa . Do only recaka at this time. Never do puraka kumbhaka.
At this time the chin should be pressed against the chest. The gaze should be fixed on the midbrow

27 Ekapada Sirsasana (Figure 4.71, 4.72)
This has two forms: dakshina ekapada sirsasana and vama ekapada sirsasana. Both these forms together have 18 vinyasas. The first picture depicts dakshina ekapada sirsasana and the second picture vama ekapada sirsasana. The 7th and 12th vinyasas are the asana sthitis of these dierent forms. For this asana, you need to do sama svasauchvasam (same ratio breathing). In the 7th vinyasa, the left leg, and in the 12th vinyasa the right leg, should be extended and kept straight from the thigh to the heel. No part should be bent.
Keep the hands as shown in the picture. In this sthiti one needs to do equal ra- tio breathing. When the hands are joined together in ekapada sirsasana paristhiti, one must do puraka kumbhaka. One must never do recaka.
While doing the 7th and the 12th vinyasas, the head must be raised and the gaze must be fixed at the midbrow.

32 Bhairavasana (Figure 4.78)
This has 20 vinyasas. The 8th and the 14th vinyasas are the right and left side asana sthitis.
From the 1st until the 7th vinyasa, follow the method for ekapada sirsasana. In the 8th vinyasa, instead of keeping the hands at the muladhara cakra (as in ekapada sirsasana), hug both arms together tightly as seen in the picture and lie down looking upwards. While remaining here, do puraka kumbhaka, raise the neck upwards and gaze at the midbrow.

33 Cakorasana (Figure 4.79)
This has 20 vinyasas. This is from the Kapila Matham.
After observing that this follows the form of flight of the cakora bird, this came to be called cakorasana. In the Dhyana Bindu Upanishad, Parameshwara advises Parvati that “There are as many asanas as there are living beings in the world”. We readers must always remember this. The 8th and 14th vinyasas are this asana’s sthitis. The 7th and the 13th vinyasas are like the 7th and the 13th vinyasas of ekapada sirsasana. In the 8th and the 14th vinyasas, press the palms of the hand firmly into the ground, do puraka kumbhaka, raise the body 6 angulas o the ground and hold it there. Carefully study the picture where this is demonstrated. Keep the gaze fixed on the midbrow. The other vinyasas are like those of bhairavasana.

34 Skandasana (Figure 4.80, 4.81)
This has 20 vinyasas. The 8th and the 14th vinaysas show the asana sthiti. The other vinaysas are exactly as for cakorasana. In pascimottanasana, we hold the big toes with the fingers of the hands as we place the face down on the knees. In this asana, instead of doing that, extend the arms out further forward, clasp the hands together in the manner of prayer, slowly bend the body forward and place the face down in front of the kneecap. You must do recaka in this sthiti. The gaze must be fixed on the midbrow.

35 Durvasasana (Figure 4.82)
This has 20 vinyasas. The 8th vinyasa is right-side durvasasana and the 14th vinyasa is left-side durvasasana. In the 7th and the 13th vinyasas stay in ekapada sirsasana sthiti. From there, in the 8th and the 14th vinyasas, get up and stand. Study the picture carefully. While remaining in this asana sthiti, the leg that is being supported on the ground must not be even slightly bent and must be held straight. Keep the gaze fixed at the middle of the nose.

37 Trivikramasana (Figure 4.85)
This has 7 vinyasas. From the 1st to the 5th vinyasas and then the 7th vinyasa, practise following those for utthita hasta padangushtasana. Practise the 2nd and 7th vinyasas as shown in the picture (study it carefully) and remain in these positions. The 2nd vinyasa is the right-side trivikramasana sthiti. The 6th vinyasa as shown is the left-side trivikramasana sthiti. The picture shown here only demonstrates the left-side trivikramasana. It is important that equal recaka and puraka kumbhaka must be carefully observed while practising this asana. Keep the gaze fixed on the midbrow.

38 Gandabherundasana (Figure 4.86, 4.87)
This has 10 vinyasas. The 6th and 7th vinyasas show the asana sthiti. The first picture shows the 6th vinyasa and the second picture shows the 7th. In the
4th vinyasa, come to caturanga dandasana sthiti and in the 5th vinyasa proceed to viparita salabasana sthiti. In the 6th vinyasa, spread the arms out wide, keeping them straight like a stick (like a wire) as shown in the picture. Take the soles of both feet and place them next to the ears such that the heels touch the arms and keep them there.
Next, do the 7th vinyasa as shown in the second picture. This is called supta ganda bherundasana. In this asana sthiti and in the preliminary positions, do equal recaka puraka kumbhaka. Keep the gaze fixed on the midbrow.

from Yoga Makaranda ‘Part II’

1. Kneel on the ground. Now place the forearms on the ground in front parallel to each other and about 12 inches apart. The elbows should be about 12 inches in front of the knees. The palms with fingers stretched and close together should be touching the ground. 2. Raise the head. Lift the knees slightly from the ground. Inhale deeply, hold the breath, jump and take the legs above, so that the body is balanced on the forearms. Spread the legs. The legs are bent backward so that the leg is in the form of a bow.
3. Cross the legs as in Padmasana. Take one or two deep breaths. There should be no retention of breath. The eyes should gaze at the midpoint of the eye brows.

Sit erect, with both legs stretched in front.
Bend one leg, say the right, at the knees, and place the foot of the right leg on the left
thigh, so that the heel of the right foot is as near the naval as possible. The tendency of the stretched leg to twist to the left should be resisted. The foot of the left leg should be perpendicular to the ground. The knees should not be more than 12 inches apart.
3. Exhale slowly, and twist the trunk to the left, keeping the spine erect. Take the left hand behind the back so that the fingers of the left hand may catch hold of the right leg at the shin, just above the ankle.
Twist the head to the left so that the chin is above the left shoulder.
The right hand is stretched and the outside of the left foot is caught hold of by the
palm of the right hand. The fingers of the right hand should touch the sole of the left foot. In this position the shoulder blades and right arms will be in a straight line.
6. The eyes should gaze at the tip of the nose in the case of married people. In the case of those who are unmarried the gaze may be to the midpoint of the eyebrows.

This asana is the counter pose to the ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA - Section A, and should be done immediately after that asana.
1. Sit upright, with both legs stretched in front. Bend one of the legs, say the right, at the knee and place the foot on the left thigh as high as possible. The heel should be as near the navel as possible. Now bend the left leg at the knee and place the left foot on the right thigh as high as possible, and the heel as near the navel as possible. The knees should be as close as possible and touch the ground.
2. Take the left arm around the back and catch hold of the toes of the left foot by the right hand. Next, take the right hand behind the back and catch hold of the toes of the right foot by the fingers of the right hand.
Note: Which hand is taken round first is important. In the position described above, it will be observed that the LEFT leg is crossed over the right leg, and it is the LEFT arm that is taken round the round back first, to catch hold of the toes. When the asana is repeated on the other side, the right leg will be over the left leg and right arm will be taken round the back first.
3. Chin lock, chest forward. In the case of those who are married, the gaze should be to the tip of the nose, and in the case of the others the gaze should be to the midpoint of the eyebrows.

This mudra is so called, as in it, the JNANA INDRIYAS are sealed up. These are the external organs of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and speech, the ears, eyes, nose, and mouth. Technique:
1. Sit in any one of the sitting postures - PADMASANA, SVASTIKASANA, VAJRASANA etc. Spine erect, shoulders in line.
2. Place the thumbs to close the openings of the ears, the first and second fingers on the closed eyelids, the first finger above the eyeball and the second finger below the eyeball, the pressure should be light, the ring fingers at the side of the nostrils but without closing them, and the little fingers at the outer corners of the closed lips. The upper arms should be horizontal and in line with the shoulders. Chest should be raised and the stomach drawn in. Note: In the beginning of the practice, it is enough if the thumbs close the ear holds; at the next stage of the practice, the small flaps over the ear holds, Tragees (?), should be pressed over the ear holds by the thumbs; and at the stage of advanced practice, the lobes of the ear should be folded over the flaps and both pressed over the ear holds by the thumbs, so as effectively to exclude all external noise.
The mudra should preferably be done in a dark room. The room should be pleasant and cool and sweet smelling. A few incense sticks may be kept burning. One should sit facing in such a manner that at the end of the Mudra, when the eyes are slowly opened, cool breeze lays on the eyes.
Pranayama siddhi is to be attained before starting on the practice of this mudra.
The order in which the fingers are placed on the various organs is given below. First ears holes are closed, then the first and second fingers placed gently on the closed eyelids, then the ring fingers on the sides of the nostrils, and lastly the little fingers at the corners of the mouth. The eyes should internally gaze at a point midway between the eyebrows, and imagine and concentrate on a spot of light there.
5. Take long deep breaths, with hissing sound in the throat.
Note: During the first week practice for a minute, the second week for two minutes and slowly raise the duration to a maximum of five minutes. More than this period of 5 minutes can be practiced only by recluses, it is not for those in ordinary life.
There is also a variation of this mudra where the fingers are not used for closing the organs to exclude external stimuli, but this is for advanced students.
It gives additional benefit if the eyes are washed before the exercise with a slightly warm lotion made of water in which a very small crystal of refined camphor is dissolved.
4. The fingers are removed in the reverse order. First the little fingers then the ring fingers then the first and second fingers and last the thumbs. The eyes are very slowly opened, the internal gaze brought down to gaze at the tip of the nose, and the gaze slowly raised to the middle distance and then to the level as the eyes are fully opened. As mentioned in the second note under step 2, it should be arranged for cool breeze to play on the open eyes at this time. It is important that there should be no abrupt opening of the eyes, as this is extremely harmful.

This forms the seventh step in ASHTANGA YOGA. It has advisedly been placed thus, as a proper practice. Progress and benefit in this step is ensured only by systematically following the previous steps: YAMA, NIYAMA, ASANA, PRANAYAMA, etc.
It is futile to attempt the practice of DHYANA without first strengthening the JNANA- INDRIYAS or higher organs of perception which are to be used in this practice. In its turn the strengthening of the higher organs of perception requires a healthy body capable of proper circulation of rich blood and pure air in these organs and of healthy nerves. This can be achieved only by the regular and systematic practice of asana, PRANAYAMA, wholesome and bland food (SATVIC FOOD) taken in moderation, proper frame of mind (NIYAMA), proper practices in physical cleanliness (YAMA), and preservation of vitality (BRAHMACARYA).
When once a fair proficiency has been attained in asana and pranayama, the aspirant to dhyana has to regulate the time to be spent on each and choose the particular asanas and pranayama which will have the most effect in strengthening the higher organs and centres of perception and thus aid him in attaining dhyana.
The best asanas to choose for this purpose are SIRSHASANA and SARVANGASANA. These are to be done with proper regulated breathing and with bandhas. The eyes should be kept closed and the eye balls rolled as if they are gazing at the space between the eyebrows. It is enough if 16 to 24 rounds of each are done at each sitting.

As DHYANA is practiced in one of the following sitting postures, these asanas should also be practiced, to strengthen the muscles that come into play in keeping these postures steady. The eyes are kept closed and the eyeballs turned internally to gaze at the space between the eyebrows. If the eyes are kept open, the gaze is directed to the tip of the nose. It is enough if 12 rounds of each asana is done.

Ramaswami on Drishti in krishnamacharya's later teaching

How is Drishti used in Vinyasa Krama?

Drishti is mentioned in many of Pattabhi Jois works, but for all those years I've been studied with Krishnamacharya, he never mentioned about Drishti. He never mentioned about it. Only thing he will say, whenever you do Trataka you gaze at the lamp, and then internalize it. That's about all. But whether you must look at the toe, and all that I find,  that kind of thing he never mentioned. Keep your head down, and your eyes closed. Most of the time our eyes are closed, we are following the breath. Most of the asanas you keep the eyes closed and work with the breath. Concentrate on breath, except in standing poses. When you are doing Paschimottanasana, you better have your eyes closed, so that you will be able to focus on the breath and the bandhas. Everything is happening inside, you don't need to keep your eyes open. Wild Yogi Magazine interview

Pattabhi Jois on Drishti in Yoga Mala

These quotes use either drishti, gaze or look

Drishti quotes

The method for doing the Surya Namaskara has been described in various ways by various people. We cannot categorically state which is correct, but when we reflect on the science of yoga, we see that the tradition of the Surya Namaskara follows, in the main, the method of vinyasa, or breathing and movement system, the movements of rechaka, or exhalation, puraka, or inhalation, and meditation. According to the yoga shastra, this tradition includes: vinyasa; rechaka and puraka; dhyana [meditation]; drishti [sight, or gazing place]; and the bandhas [muscle contractions, or locks]. And this alone is the method which should be followed when learning the Surya Namaskara, as yogis declare from experience. Indeed, the Sun Salutations done without following the rules mentioned above are little more than exercise, and not true Surya Namaskara.

This is the method for the first Surya Namaskara, which is often practiced while chanting mantras. For this, meditation is very important, as are the drishti, or gazing places, which include: nasagra drishti [the gaze on the tip of the nose] for samasthiti; broomadhya drishti [the gaze between the eyebrows] for the 1st vinyasa; nasagra dristri for the 2nd vinyasa; the gaze between the eyebrows for the 3rd vinyasa—in other words, for the odd-numbered vinyasas, the gaze should be focused between the eyebrows and, for the even-numbered ones, the gaze should be on the tip of the nose. In addition, for the even- numbered vinyasas, rechaka should be performed and, for the odd, one should do puraka. On the whole, the method for doing rechaka and puraka is the same for all the vinyasas and asanas ahead. A sadhaka [spiritual aspirant] should learn it with patience.

Those who practice the Surya Namaskara in accordance with scriptural rules must never forget to be
mindful of the drishti, bandhas, dhyana, rechaka, and puraka, as discussed earlier.

Gaze quotes

Then, turn the left foot to the left, and doing rechaka, reach down and take hold of the big toe, gaze at the tip of the raised hand, and do puraka and rechaka as much as possible; this is the 4th vinyasa.

Then, doing rechaka , turn the right foot out, bend the knee completely, place the right hand by the side of the right foot, stretch the left arm straight out over the ear, and gaze at the fingertips; this is the 2nd vinyasa, which is the state of the asana and during which puraka and rechaka should be done as much as possible.

When in the 9th vinyasa of Baddha Padmasana, or Yoga Mudra, one should meditate upon one’s chosen deity (ishta devata), while directing the gaze between the eyebrows and doing rechaka and puraka as much as possible.

The arms, spine, and neck should be kept completely straight, the chin tilted down a little, and the gaze should be directed on the tip of the nose. Then, jump back into the 4th vinyasa of the first Surya Namaskara

See also drishti/gaze quote above for Second surya namaskar.

Looking Quotes

Then, taking the breath in slowly through the nose, raise the arms straight up over the head, bring the hands together, lean the head back a little, and look at the fingertips; this is the 1st vinyasa.

Next, doing rechaka, bring the right leg out to the right, hold the arm, leg, waist, and chest straight, and look to the left, breathing fully and deeply as much as possible; this the 4th vinyasa.

Next, doing puraka, lift only the head, do rechaka, and without losing hold of the sides of the feet, come up to sit straight on the buttocks while doing puraka, hold the raised legs wide apart and straight, as in the 8th vinyasa, keep the chest, arms, and waist straight, look up, and do rechaka and puraka as much as possible; this is the 9th vinyasa.


Also these quotes on drishti from Guy Donahaye's Ashtanga yoga Sangha website with transcriptions of public talks by Pattabhi Jois.

Question: When you are practicing, your eyes must focus one place (drishti), ears?

Guruji: Only for nose breathing, sometimes asanas taking time, breathing is coming ears, that is very dangerous, that is no good. Only for nose, complete close your mouth. Nose breathing, that is health. With throat and nose including you take breathing, without throat including, breathing is not cleaning your blood.

Question: And mind? When you are looking one place? Your mind is going this place?

Guruji: No, no, no, why is going there?

Question: I don't know. What about controlling all the senses?

Guruji: Three portions are there, that is called trishtanam. Trishtanam means: one posture, one drishti, looking place, one breathing system. Without these three, mind control is very difficult. That's why you take breathing system, posture and drishti, that is three important. Posture is coming, breathing is correct, posture is correct is coming. Breathing is not correct, posture is not correct.
Inhalation time exhalation is doing, exhalation time inhalation is doing - posture is not correct. Good posture you want, correct breathing you take. After, you look drishti, you take drishti. Nine drishti is there, no three drishti, you take every asana. After, mind gradually is controlling possible.

If you want yoga, real yoga, you take practice. Don’t take another placeyour mind. Don’t be stupid. Take practice, practice, practice,practice. Suspicion is came, you ask any one question, I am telling -no problem. But now you take practice - is very first important. But youtake method, and this everyday I am telling, take method: breathingsystem (viyasa), postures, looking (drishti), all including - you take practice, God (will) givegood health and mind. No problem. Thank you very much.

That is why I am telling method. Youfollow that method. Breathing and breathing system (vinyasa) is veryimportant. Posture, breathing system and looking place (drishti). All is veryimportant. That is why, these you follow. These is given by God, Goodhealth and prosperity. Thank you very much.

Question: While doing tolasana at the end of practice, which is the correct drishti?
Answer: Both sides: Pull up. Pull upping time you take Nasagra dristi. One also here also, both dristi, no problem. Nasagrai dristi and broomadhya dristi.


Manju Jois on Drishti

"First asana then bring in drishti, then bandhas, then philosophy".

Sharath on Drishti (conference notes reports)


With correct drishti and proper attention we should not be bothered by that wayward limb, loud breath, or the accidental or intentional bump.

Question. Should students put as much effort into the drishti (gaze point) as into say posture?
Answer – yes, these three things are very important. This develops your focus and concentration. So when you go to the next step – pranayama and dhyana (meditation) – these things will help you, they will help you to concentrate. This is dhyana what you are doing, it becomes like that.

When we are practising our focus should be on our asana through our drishti and breathing.

Yoga is to control the mind, to make it calm. But how you do yoga depends on you. Your practice should give you that brightness, that energy within you. You should feel that ‘union’ and that feeling should become stronger day by day – and as it does your mind becomes calmer, you become more focused in practice (i.e. you’ll be looking at your drishti and not at the hot guy/girl behind you, your mind will be focused on your breath and not on where you’ll go for breakfast)


from interviews by Guy Donahaye's Ashtanga yoga Sangha website

GUY: What is unique about Ashtanga Yoga?sharath

SHARATH:  First I would like to say that Ashtanga yoga is totally unique. I’ve seen many other systems of yoga, which are not even close to Ashtanga Yoga: they don’t give any prominence to breathing or gazing (drishti) or all those things. In Ashtanga the main thing is not only posture but you have to do the breathing correctly, that is ujjaya breathing and vinyasa krama - that vinyasa krama I’ve not seen in any other form yoga.

This is a very powerful practice, which came from Krishnamacharya and it is unique in its effect on the body. So what I personally feel is that this type of yoga is more powerful than the other types of yoga I have seen. Mostly they do sitting in one posture and just relaxing in the posture, there’s hardly


And from left field....

from Iaido
"The Iaido is the way to pursue formation of character by practcing
the law of Ken (sword)".

Metsuke is the term used to describe “gaze”. The direction of the gaze is always towards the opponent, and it can be a wide gaze or narrow gaze, but never a fixated gaze.

In iaido, we talk about Enzan no Metsuke, which means “far mountain viewing”. The term originates with the idea that you must view the opponent as a whole, the same way you would look at a faraway mountain to take in its entire beauty at once.

Another famous phrase about metsuke is the Kan Ken no Metsuke. “Kan no me” is the seeing of the nature of things, and “ken no me” is the seeing of the surface phenomenon. It is said that when viewing an opponent, it is important not only to recognize the posture and body appearance, but to recognize with a keen eye his mental state and thoughts through his posture and body language.


8. Metsuke (Positioning of the eyes)
Metsuke is the positioning of the eyes when one faces one's opponent.
It is also the way one should observe one's opponent. Since a long time ago, it has been said there are two methods two methods of, Ka-Ken-no-Metsuke. As the eyes are the window, window of the mind, and the eyes' movement reflects the mind working; it is important to see the movement of the opponent's entire body by focusing on one's eyes. That is so called En-zan- no-Metsuke, which means watching one's opponent as if one is looking at the distant mountains.
from the Doctrine of Iaido

Eyes open Eyes closed?
from Zen training methods and Philosophy Katuki Sekida

THE EYES AND VISUAL ATTENTION The eyes have a very impor­tant role in practicing zazen and realizing samadhi, and I now wish to make some observations on them. I do this with some reluctance, since what I propose differs from the traditional precepts about the use of the eyes. Zen teachers almost always advocate keeping the eyes open or half-open in zazen. We are indeed usually advised strongly against zazen with the eyes closed. The reason usually given for this is that practice with closed eyes leads to sleepiness and wandering thoughts. This is admittedly good advice for beginners. Personally, however, I always close my eyes when practicing zazen. In my experi­ ence, when the eyes are open the mind naturally looks outward. If I want to direct my attention inward, I have to make a deliberate effort to exclude the visual sensations received through the eyes. Closed eyes spare me the difficulty and facilitate inward attention.

Outwardly directed attention is connected with positive samadhi, inward attention with absolute samadhi. It is true that thought can be inhibited even with the eyes open, but one cannot prevent the eyes from reflecting external objects, and sensation inevitably occurs. This fact makes it somewhat difficult for us to enter completely into absolute samadhi. Perhaps those who keep their eyes open are practic­ ing positive samadhi. Unfortunately, most Zen students do not know the difference between positive and absolute samadhi. It is true that even the practice of positive samadhi can bring about kensho, and students who experience this may be well satisfied with their practice. However, my belief is that such a practice will lead to only a partial grasp of Zen. There are numerous cases of people who attain so-called kensho but who by and by disappear from the Zen circle, to be heard of no more. Perhaps they did not penetrate deeply enough into Zen.
We can distinguish two kinds of attention, abstract and sensory, the former operating independently of the sense organs, the latter employing them. Sensory attention is, of course, of various kinds: visual, auditory, bodily, and so on. In zazen practice, sensory atten­ tion is more effective than abstract attention. The latter tends to become exhausted rather quickly. If you simply work abstractly on Mu, you will rather quickly be overcome by wandering thoughts, but if you use your visual attention to look into yourself-and more pre­ cisely, to look into the tanden-you will reach a state of awareness of your existence itself. And you will also find that you are steadily getting into absolute samadhi. Profound silence envelops you. It is as if you were going down into the depths of the sea, ultimately to settleon the bottom of it.

When I close my eyes and direct my visual attention inward, at first I can see only darkness, but presently the inner scene becomes clearly lit, and the mind's eye is steadily looking into the innermost part of myself. This inward direction of the visual attention always tends to be accompanied by bated breath, and also by bodily atten­ tion. These three elements, visual attention, bated breath, and bodily attention, eventually fuse into a single act of concentration that con­ stitutes a powerful driving force toward absolute samadhi. We can call this driving force "will power" or "spiritual power."
Auditory attention naturally tends to be outwardly directed. When you listen to the ticking of a clock, your mind is directed toward the sound, and this leads to positive samadhi. Visual attention, too, is normally directed outward. Only when you close the eyes can you direct attention completely inward.
If, as an experiment, you concentrate attention on the palms of your hands as they lie in your lap, you will feel a delicate tremor there (possibly caused by the bloodstream), and you will be directly con-nected with the existence of the palms. You are exercising bodily attention. Whenever visual attention is directed upon any part of the body, bodily attention necessarily makes its appearance there. It is as if a spotlight were thrown there in search of some important object. The clear feeling of the palms now occupies your whole attention.

In other words, you are concentrating your mind on the palms. In practice, visual attention, bodily attention, and the mind are here one and the same thing.
Or again, direct your visual attention to your arms and try to watch them in imagination. You will find that your breathing slows down, your body becomes quieter than it was before, and a condition of gentle, constant tension develops in the skin. Almost at once, you will probably feel a delicate, thrill-like sensation occurring first around the back of the upper arms and hands, then spreading quietly in all directions. At the same time another thrill-like, delicate vi­ bration will start to appear first around the ears, then will spread to the cheeks, forehead, throat, and shoulders. The sensation of thrilling is accompanied by a clear feeling of delight that calms the body and mind. The condition of the internal organs, the blood circulation,
and other psychophysical matters are all reflected in the skin. The thrill will presently subside, and then there comes a peace and silence, dominating the body and mind. Off-sensation sets in before you are aware of it. There is a definite affinity between the thrill-like sensa­ tion and off-sensation, and the latter follows the former.

As a beginner you may not immediately experience all this, but the fact of knowing that such a phenomenon occurs will help you to acquire the ability to bring it about rather readily. The thrill-like sen­ sation will be less frequently experienced by more practiced students and will generally be skipped altogether when you are mature. There are also some people who do not experience the thrilling at all, per­ haps for constitutional reasons. They have no need to worry about this, as the thrill is not a necessary condition of entering samadhi. Many musicians, poets, and painters, however, seem to be familiar with the sensation of thrilling. Hakuin Zenji describes another method of inducing off-sensation, which is somewhat analogous to that which we have just described in that it involves concentrated visual and bodily attention. He instructs you to imagine that a soft cake of incense is placed on the top of your head. The cake melts and gradually soaks down into the forehead, cheeks, and throat, and then on into the chest, stomach, belly, and legs. Off-sensation will soon follow.
When you have attained proficiency in the practice of these tricks, a trace will be left in your body and mind, so that even when you do not resort to them off-sensation will rather easily occur in your zazen practice.

If you direct visual attention not to the palms or the arms but to your interior-to be precise, to the tanden-you will find yourself looking steadily into your own existence. When you are mature in this practice, you can enter absolute samadhi in the space of one breath.
Experienced Zen students who are successful in their practice must be using this inwardly directed visual attention, but they seem never to have reflected upon the fact, much less analyzed it clearly enough to be able to tell others about it. There is a great difference between doing a thing knowingly and unknowingly. Lacking a clear understand­ ing of what they are doing, it is likely that they will sometimes find there is something not quite right with their practice, without being able to identify the fault. Some Zen students probably resort simply to abstract attention to Mu and then find that they are subject to stray thoughts, since this sort of attention readily becomes fatigued.

Once again, direct your visual attention to the tanden. The sensa­ tion of the tanden will suddenly become apparent and fill your mind. You will find you are steadily and strongly holding and watching your­ self. Now let the tension of the respiratory muscles relax, and with­ draw the visual attention; you will be merely abstractly thinking of the tanden and you will find that your concentration is drastically weakened.

Particularly interested in the sense of drishti as mudra or is it mudra as drishti
Krishnamacharya's son, Sri TK Sribhashyam, considers mudra to be a support for pranayama a practice to develop concentration and one pointedness.

"Yoga has two elements to support our spirituality breathing Prânâyâma, and include breathing postures and concentration, called Mudra".

Mudra practice helps us offset the influence emotional during concentration. The Mudra represent some postures in yoga which include a concentration or a specific point within the body or outside the body. External objects are divine objects, which are devoid of human emotions. In Yoga we do not use objects that have a dependency with our emotions and human relations.

The outer points are points of connection between the soul and the Creator.

Points inside the body are like a network and relate to the existence of the soul in life. These very specific points of concentration are considered divine objects.

Concentration is added to the number of breaths specific (3, 6 or 12). The Mudra can be practiced alone, in no specific order, because their role is on an emotional level, it involves cutting the interrelationship between sense perception and emotions.

Here are some points of focus:

- Adityas (Sun): it is the solar disk, black and shiny, which is the door to go beyond this world. This concentration is against the practice.

- The Star: lying on the back, direct the eye as far as possible in the sky.

- Taraka: it is the point on the horizon, infinity beyond the earthly world.

- Murdhna: this is a point which lies to the root of the nose. Murdhna gives us the support of spiritual masters. It is thanks to their light, their spiritual strength as we continue to move towards the Creator. It is our belief that nourish them and help us to strengthen it.

- Divya Chakshush: point of the occiput. Divya Chakshush means "vision of God" is one of the largest concentrations for the vision of our soul.

- Nasaagra: tip of the nose. Reduced from dispersions of sense perception.

- Nabhi: behind the navel. Nabhi restores harmony in the emotional activity.

- Mula: Mula means "root", it is located between the anus and the genitals. This is an extremely important point. This is to bring all of our different human emotions to the root of emotions, Mula, to activate and give way to the divine emotion.

- Bruhmadhya: the point between the eyebrows. In philosophical terms, its meaning is "land between the two" heavenly and earthly.

- Shirsha: fontanelle. It is located in the upper part of the skull at the inside. It is also a vital point, since the soul is supposed to leave at death. The soul is often seen as confined to Mula. It is therefore necessary to create a path for him to go Shirsha, concentration upward, directing the gaze Mula and follow a vertical line Shirsha.

- Hrudaya: the place of residence of God in us. It is a little outside the physiological heart. In the concentration of Mula Shirsha to it automatically by Hrudaya. This is protected from any human emotion. As a state mental Hrudaya is given automatically when the field is free of mental sensations and emotions.

Seminar given by Sri TK Sribhashyam in Neuchâtel from 29.07 to 08.01.06

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A Reminder

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included.

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta


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