What is your drishty in life

Finding your life drishty

What’s your drishti in life?

The question of “why” often poses itself. Why did I/ my child have an eating disorder? Finding the exact answer to this can be useful but over the years I’ve come to realise that the general answer tend to always be the same. At some point in the person’s life something rocked them enough to make them unstable on their feet. And what do you do when you become unstable? You reach for something nearby to stabilise you.

An ED is a crutch to help you feel more stable. That seems fair, doesn’t it?


This is based on a lie.

Surprisingly perhaps I’m not about to launch into how the ED lies about thinness and food or, how the goal post will always move and that you will never be enough. You know this. The lie is that you should always be stable and that wobbling means you can’t stand on your own. The lie is that you need a crutch when you don’t.


The ED offers to fix a problem that isn’t truly one.

We all wobble in life, some more than others because life doesn’t throw us the same cards.

I don’t know how much you know about yoga but try to picture someone doing a balancing pose in yoga (say warrior three).  Now imagine someone comes along and pushes them, they are going to wobble and almost certainly fall. That’s similar to life dealing you with a bad hand and something really hard happening to you; you couldn’t predict it and it wasn’t your fault.

Imagine the person is wobbling simply because it’s their first try at yoga, they don’t really know what they are doing and really they just need more practice. I find a lot of young teenagers are in that category. They come to me at the age of 14/15, anorexic, telling me that they put lots of weight on when they were 12/13 and that they are now terrified of this happening again. Puberty is often a factor here but, aside from that, those tweens simply didn’t know what they were doing with food, that’s all. They had more freedom, stopped at the corner shop, perhaps more often than they should have on their way to/back from school, it’s not a big deal. It doesn’t mean they needed their ED to make them better, most young teens do that, there’s no real problem, nothing needs to be fixed, they just need to grow into themselves both physically and mentally.



Another configuration is someone who has strength and who could easily hold the pose but they don’t quite get that no one is going to give you a medal for lifting your leg the highest. They will want to showcase their athletic prowess without giving too much thought to the value of stillness. They will push and push but also look around the room, perhaps searching for the clock to see how much more time they have to hold. They are likely to wobble and fall too. Pursuing the “best diet” at all cost is precisely likely to cost you a great deal because you will have lost sight of overall health.

Now imagine a person who is quite versed at yoga, it’s not their first time, they are more than capable except that they haven’t quite got the principle of yoga, which isn’t based on competition. There’s only you and your practice, what the others are doing is irrelevant. So there they are, in their pose, but they want to check what everyone else is doing, they want to make sure they are not doing anything wrong or they are distracted by the shiny Lulu lemon leggings that beautiful yogi is wearing. No doubt about it, they will wobble and perhaps come out of their pose. In yoga like in life, you have to do your own thing instead of comparing with what the others are doing. The moment you start comparing your diet or your body with those of others, you’re in trouble even if you’re normally quite solid.


What’s the secret then?

Well that’s your drishty. It means focused gaze and in yoga it is used to hold still. You pick a point in the room and you stay focused on this while in a challenging pose. This enables you to withdraw into yourself and concentrate solely on you and your practice. This, I find, we tend to acquire when we age, we become less bothered by what the others are doing and we are more able to tune out the noise around us telling us to be blonder, younger, thinner etc. Yet even those who are seasoned yogis are always at risk of wobbling because you never know who might come and push you, because we all have bad days, because the noise can sometimes get too much. That’s ok, it doesn’t mean you’re rubbish at yoga or even at standing, you don’t need a crutch. You might just need to sleep it over, to gather yourself, to rest etc. You might need to talk it over with someone so you can understand that the fault was in the person who pushed you and that you are still more than capable to hold still unaided.

Finally I have come to notice that the people who wobble the most are those who just haven’t found their drishty in life just yet. It’s not always easy to find and you might need several attempts. They haven’t found their purpose and their values preferring for now to look around at what others are doing and being swayed by popular opinion. Perhaps that explains why so many teenagers are falling prey to eating disorders? They don’t know who they are and what they want so finding that point of focus is going to be harder.

Now that it’s ok to change focus, you may wobble along the ways but there’s no rule dictating that you have to keep the same focal point at all times.

People get their drishty wrong thinking happiness will come form doing that successful job or earning that amount of money but if that doesn’t really resonate with them, they will wobble. I see people with no hobbies who are unstable. The thing is that they either haven’t found what makes them tick yet or they have something but think it’s not cool enough so they don’t pursue it and instead chase something that society will more readily validate. If your thing is carp fishing, then do that.

You know the saying: those who mind, don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. Allow yourself not to mind because you are the only person who matters.


Photo credits: Rachel Hoile

Featuring my lovely friend and yoga teacher Wendy Reynolds