Dancing, drishti and dharana: Discovering the sixth limb of yoga by learning to dance

My wife and I had a chance to dance to a live band the other day – such a blast!  And she said afterwards: “you are always such a good dancer even if you don’t know what you are doing.”

I don’t think she realized but a number of years ago she would have said just the opposite:  my dancing was stiff and awkward even if I had the steps down,  and I remembered that this change in my dancing did not happen gradually, it was sudden and involved yoga.  So I looked up my notes from the experience and found them from 2011:

A couple weeks ago I had great success dancing and it was because I made myself really present in the moment.

But what was really interesting was the way I put myself into that state.  It was like flipping a switch.  And I realized this is the same switch in my mind that I have eased in balance poses in yoga.its like I can put my ,IMS in this very present state at will — but until now I’ve only used it for balance poses.

So how to access this in daily life ?  One thing I do in the poses is gaze on a drishti point.  That’s not what causes the state, bit it helps me recall it.  But there is an internal analogue to the external drishti, a sense of focusing the mind internally and refusing to be distracted, that I can actually feel like it’s physical.  It’s not about the eyes, but still it involves an unwavering internal spot of focus.  

Reading these notes I realize I have stumbled upon the sixth limb of yoga, dharana.  Here is a good post about how drishti is a key component of dharana.

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