Drishti Intention & Focus (4:25 audio)

In yoga we often refer to drishti as the vision, or gaze. We are taught to keep our eyes still and our vision focused. For me, my yogi’s adventure log, my practice journal, is my drishti. It’s my intention, my focus, and the revealed perception of my reality. 

I have kept journals ever since I was a little girl. Dream journals. Poetry journals. Personal journals. And yes, yoga journals. Lots of yoga journals. For yoga teacher training with Baron Baptiste in 2004, I brought a checkbook sized journal that I kept under the top corner of my mat during practice. Afterwards, I would frantically scribble everything I could remember from the practice. I left that bootcamp having filled that journal and promptly bought another, and another, and yet another. By the time I attended a 5-Day Flowing Through the Chakras retreat with Seane Corn two years later, I had filled several journals from various workshops and trainings. As I started teaching, I kept journals of what I saw in my students, things I was surprised that came out of my mouth, assists that I tried on and students enjoyed, and much more. For awhile even, my journals were colored pencil drawings trying to capture the images I saw in my students auras during class and analyses of their chakra adjustments. Journals from trainings and workshops and my teaching were far easier to keep and fill than the ones for my ow practice.

At first, I tried to keep elaborate journals on my practice, planning out full class sequences, scribbling and changing as happened, and then writing out detailed descriptions of insights and sensations. But those extensive home practice journals never kept long. I’d always feel too rushed, too busy after practice to take that kind of time to log everything.

And then I realized my yogi’s log should be as tiny as the checkbook sized journals I favored. Rather than elaborate paragraphs and musings like I kept in my personal journal, why didn’t I try just writing the main ahas, the simple take-aways. When I started doing that, my yogi’s logs took on a whole different energy. 

The first day I found myself reaching under that corner of my mat from pigeon pose, I wrote down something very profound, at least the writer in me thought so. When I have a thought, and I take the time to push that thought down my arm to form letters onto a page, the thought becomes more than just an idea bouncing around in my head, it becomes a feeling in my body, and then it becomes words on a page. When I loop back to re-read my journal entries, no matter what they are, I realize that many, if not all my thoughts that I wrote down become some kind of reality. While those things I don’t write down usually go poof into thin air.  

My practice log is very simple. I write down what I want to make real. And if I can name it in just one word, it has that much more power and energy to become real. Less is more. Then, I practice. I don’t consciously come back to my drishti intention during practice. I just move, and feel, and see what happens.

After practice, I reach under that corner of my mat for my checkbook sized notebook, and I scribble down the sequence I did, or at least a short series within the practice that felt particularly significant. Then, I look back at the one word intention I wrote at the beginning. I kid you not, every single time I re-read that intention, and compare it to the sequence, a brilliant aha happens. It may be something simple, or it may be something very profound. Then, throughout the rest of my day, that same message inevitably pops up everywhere. 

On those days that I don’t practice, or I choose not to write in my yogi’s adventure log, I don’t have that beautiful gold thread of insight weaving through my whole day. I miss it. And that brings me craving my time on the mat the next time I get there. That little golden thread of insight has become one of my greatest motivators to get on my mat often.

What I know is this. When I take the time to write down my intention and my insight, in as few words as possible, that intention becomes an insight that becomes a reality of my life. 

Have you kept a Yogi's Log? How do you set an intention or log your insights from practice? Please share in the comments below.

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