Dru Yoga and the Art of Deep Relaxation.
Welcome to the new blog page for True Equanimity Yoga. Here I will try and expand further on what I like to call “The Dru Essence” of this heart based yoga which is so beneficial for your body, mind and spirit. But first let me tell you a bit more about myself and my journey with Dru Yoga.
I have been practising Dru Yoga for nearly a decade in weekly classes with my teacher Sarah and my own daily practice. I have never really been into sport, preferring to walk in nature for exercise, and hated physical education as school as I was always the last one picked for the team. After the birth of my son I gained some weight and went through some difficult times in my relationship that impacted on my emotional well-being. I had been attending a local gym to be fitter and because it had a creche. While I persevered with the treadmill and weights the only activity I truly enjoyed was the “Body Balance” class on a Saturday morning. So when the gym closed down I sought out a yoga class and found Sarah’s Dru Yoga class at the local RSL. I immediately knew I had found my ‘tribe’ and have been going to a Dru Yoga class weekly ever since. Yoga and meditation have become an integral part of my daily life both on and off the mat. Dru Yoga has helped me manage anxiety, regulate my emotions, improve my core strength and pelvic floor as well as keeping me flexible.
In 2011 I decided to pursue the Dru Yoga Teacher Training course which I had learnt would be coming to Perth for the first time in 2013. Unfortunately a new job and other life events meant I had to make the hard decision to not start the course in 2013 and I finally commenced the teacher training in 2017. It was all meant to be and I am excited to now be able to share the positive health and wellbeing that Dru Yoga can offer with others. There are all types of yoga and you have to find the style that resonates with you. There is however a seemingly growing trend towards what I will call ‘fitness yoga’ whereas Dru Yoga is much more subtle, soft and slow at the same time as being potent. Dru Yoga is ‘resilience yoga’ and while it assists with flexibility, stretching and strengthening, for me the biggest benefits are on the emotional and mental layers of our being. Dru Yoga has assisted me to feel calm, grounded and relaxed and deal with the anxieties and stresses of everyday living. Emerging research suggests that practices like Dru Yoga change your nervous system, decrease inflammation, improve mental health, reduce chronic pain, and build resilience.
A typical Dru Yoga class starts a little differently than other yoga classes with activations to free tension, enhance circulation and awaken the energy in the body. If you have come to class after a busy day you might feel tired but you can access that energy or prana which is lying dormant within you. Activations in a Dru Yoga class are also a fun and social way to get started and interact with others. Following the activation are Energy Block Release sequence’s which are unique to Dru Yoga. These movements can help unblock energy and have proven to be very effective in clearing stress, relieving physical tension and emotional blocks. The next component is probably more familiar and involves a range of flowing postures and sequences such as the cat, downward dog, tree and sun sequence. I will discuss the energetic principles of Dru Yoga in more detail in future blog post.
The final and most important part of any yoga class is yoga nidra or relaxation. In a Dru Yoga class everything we practice is leading up to being able to settle into deep relaxation for at least ten minutes at the end of class. During relaxation the ‘rest and digest’ response assists your body, heart and mind to rebalance. Savasana, or ‘corpse pose’, is far from the easiest pose and is in fact a master pose. Can you keep your mind from wandering? Can you relax completely and not fidget? Can you relax completely and not fall asleep? Can you remain present in your body as you let go of your body? To accompany this blog I could have included a photo of myself doing a visually interesting yoga posture like warrior, dancer or downward dog. I could NOT include a photo myself doing an impressive yoga posture like a shoulder stand or the wheel pose because I am not yet able to do these inversions and back bends. So I chose to include a photo of myself settled on my mat, with my bolster under my knees, ready to completely surrender to stillness. Sound good? Come along and give a Dru Yoga class a go! The good news is that for people living a busy, stressful lifestyle just ten to twenty minutes deep relaxation can clear the effect of hours of stress.