How is Dru Yoga Different?
In my first blog post I touched a little on some of the components and principles of Dru Yoga and why I resonate with it as a yoga practice and now as a yoga teacher. The word Dru comes from the Sanskrit word ‘dhruva’ which is the name for the north star which does not move. Dhruva symbolises the constant, immovable or fixed or as we refer to it in Dru the ‘still point’. In that stillness we can sit back from anything that is happening around us and see things from a point of clarity and inner calm. This is why I chose the name True Equanimity Yoga as Dru gives me the tools and practices to help me maintain mental calmness even in times of stress.
Dru Yoga is accessible and inclusive for beginners, all ages, fitness levels and every ‘body’. It is a slow, subtle and mindful practice which regulates the nervous system. Dru Yoga includes yoga asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing), mudras, positive affirmations, empowering visualisations, sequences and relaxation performed in a flowing and dynamic style.
A typical Dru Yoga class is a little different from most other yoga classes and will generally have these components in the following order:
Classes start standing for a systematic activation of the body from head to foot which frees tension, dispels tiredness, enhances circulation, increases our physical awareness and allows our energy to flow outwards. In my classes these are done to more lively and up beat music and can be social and fun!
- Energy Block Release (EBR) Sequences
The 3 main EBR sequences are easy to do yet they are potent and able to dissolve physical, energetic, emotional and mental blockages. EBR sequences generally conclude lying down in crocodile (makarasana) posture to allow the benefits of the movements to ‘rest and digest.’
- Flowing Postures and Movement Sequences
There are many sequences with specific effects and outcomes but all sequences are done in flowing manner which is subtle, slow and gentle. An example is the grounding and flowing Earth Salute Sequence which can be viewed on Dru Yoga Online Studio.
- Deep Relaxation
This is a very important part of any yoga class. In a Dru Yoga class the 10-15 minute relaxation at the end of class allows the energy which has been stimulated an opportunity to anchor and settle in the right way in order to create internal balance. The Dru Foundation Relaxation has four stages including progressive muscle relaxation, softening the body using the breath, resting in stillness and re-energising the body.
There are some energetic principles of Dru Yoga which are the foundations for safe and effective practice of all Dru postures and sequences:
- Energy Blockages
Energy becomes blocked in the spine and in all the joints of the body. Energy Block Release sequences can reverse this process and assist to detoxify the body.
- Soft Joints
Energy gets blocked when the joint are locked, therefore in a Dru Yoga class we keep our joints soft e.g. knees, elbows.
- Spinal Movements
The spine is dynamic and stiffness in the spine is another cause of energy blocks in the body. All movements in Dru Yoga originate from the spine and I will often refer to uncurling from the base of the spine or the ‘spinal wave’.
Every posture and movement comes from somewhere and goes somewhere. Consider every posture as a sequence.
In a Dru Yoga class there are some guidelines about the practical application of breathing which is very basically whenever we contract the body we exhale and whenever we expand the body we inhale.
- In-breath and out-breath
On an in-breath we expand the body, for example raising the arms over head on an inhalation. On an out-breath we contract, for example moving the arms downwards and inwards. Whenever we squeeze or compress the body we exhale, for example as we forward bend. Twisting also squeezes the body so we breathe out as we twist and breathe in as we return from the twist.
- Integrate movement with breathing
One crucial aspect for all yoga practice is the integration of breath with movement. In order to synchronise movement with the breath our minds must be attentive to the process of conscious inhalation and exhalation.
- Inhalation (energy) and exhalation (release)
The inhalation can provide you with the energy you require to adopt a posture, while exhalation allows you to release tension so that your body can relax more deeply into the pose.
To break automatic breathing patterns it can assist to allow a short pause of 1-2 seconds after each inhalation and exhalation. You can also deepen your breath by adding in abdominal or belly breathing or deep yogic breathing during your yoga practice.
Dru Yoga will help you become more aware of all the layers of your being (koshas) including the physical, energetic, emotional and mental. Dru Yoga works with the flow of energy within our body to access every level of our being. So enjoy the journey and if in doubt just Dru it!