Urdhva Drishti

Definition - What does Urdhva Drishti mean?

Urdhva drishti is a yogic term that refers to focusing one's gaze upward or toward the sky during asana practice. Urdhva drishti can be with eyes open or an internal gaze with the eyes closed. From Sanskrit, urdhva means “elevated” or “upward,” and drishti translates as “eye,” “gaze” or “seeing.”

Used to focus the mind during meditation and asana practice, drishtis are the points of focus that can be a physical, visual location or an internal, mental point. Focusing on a drishti helps the yogi concentrate and block distractions, making it easier to hold a pose and to enter deep meditation.

Yogapedia explains Urdhva Drishti

Some drishtis are parts of the body, such as the tip of the nose, but urdhva drishti is a gaze into infinity, which at the same time builds internal focus. It is sometimes also called antara drishti, but when so-called, the eyes are closed and the gaze is mentally upward toward the third eye light.

In addition to improving concentration and focus, urdhva drishti helps with alignment and balance in the pose. Asanas that utilize this drishti include:

  • Virabhadrasana 1 (warrior 1 pose)
  • Ardha chandrasana (half moon pose)
  • Namaskar parsvakonasana (prayer twist)

Some of the other drishtis used in yoga practice include: nasagra (tip of the nose), angushthamadhyam (thumbs), hastagram (hand), nabhi chakra (navel center), bhrumadhya or ajna chakra (third eye or between the eyebrows) and padayoragram (toes).

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