I often get asked what is Dru Yoga? Dru Yoga has its roots in Hatha Yoga in that in this context Hatha means physical. Under the umbrella of Hatha Yoga there are many traditions and styles such as Iyengar, Ashtanga and Vinyasa. Hatha can translate to mean ‘force’ so Hatha Yoga can be considered anything that you might do with the physical body including asana (yoga postures). Another translation is that Ha represents the sun and tha the moon so yoga aims to yoke, join or balance these two energies. While Dru Yoga is the second largest yoga teacher training school in the United Kingdom it is not so well known in other parts of the world. Dru Yoga can also be considered Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga and Kriya Yoga but these are worthy of a seperate blog post at a later date.
So Dru Yoga has its roots in Hatha Yoga and includes classical yoga postures (asanas), pranayama (the science of breath), mudras (hand gestures), positive affirmations, empowering visualisations and powerful sequences practiced in a flowing and dynamic style. Joints are kept relaxed and soft during movement, as in Tai Chi or Qi Gong, as this creates flexibility and a free flow of subtle energy. In Dru Yoga all movements generally originate from the spine because a flexible, healthy spine supports your entire yoga practice as well as health and well being. There is also a focus on core stability and you will often hear me in class cue to engage your core by pulling up the muscles of the pelvic floor and lightly contracting the muscles of the lower abdomen on an out breath. Dru classes also offer body preparations for postures or sequences and often these stretching and strengthening exercises have similarities to Pilates mat classes.
A typical Dru Yoga classes will include activations to warm up the body and shake of the stress, Energy Block Release sequences, postures or sequences, pranayama, relaxation and meditation. Dru Yoga works on a physical level but also works on a subtle level as it balances the chakras (energy centres of your body), works with the koshas (layers of your being) and prana (life force energy or inner winds). Dru comes from the Sanskrit word dhruva, which refers to the stillness that can be experienced in Dru Yoga and Meditation. In this stillness we are able to sit back from anything that may be happening around us and act from a point of calm, composure and equanimity.
The concept of energy and its applications forms one of the pillars of Dru Yoga. Energy can become blocked in the spine and the joints of the body and if not released can lodge in the tissues and organs of the body and become dis-ease. Energy Block Release sequences are carefully designed to help relieve these blockages with the joints kept soft and slightly flexed rather than locked. A feature of Dru is the spinal wave as stiffness in the spine is the main cause of energy blocks. Energy is directable by thought, were awareness goes, energy flows! Awareness to the breath can create a focus for energy, using an inhalation to intensify energy and directing the energy on the exhalation. Visualisation of the energy flow as a tangible form as light, warmth or colour focuses the awareness via the senses to the inner energy or prana.
So here are eight reasons why you will love Dru Yoga:
- Your back will feel better
- You will feel blissfully relaxed and renewed
- Dru is an internationally established school of yoga
- It is proven to reduce stress
- You will gain higher energy levels
- Dru is for everyone no matter what age, shape or size
- You will learn how to sort your emotions
- It touches body, mind and spirit
In 2023 my Dru Yoga and Meditation classes will still stay with the typical format of a Dru class with activations, Energy Block Release sequences and relaxation. I intend to bring in more more pranayama (breath practices), concentration practices and meditation as well. I resonate with the flowing, grounding and energising Dru sequences like Salutation to the Earth, Sun and Moon however this year we will practice and explore some of the more classical Hatha postures like Cat/Cow, Downward Dog, Cobra, Camel, Tiger and Eagle poses. The Dru approach to traditional yoga postures makes them accessible and enables the flow of energy to revitalise the body from inside out, helping you to feel great!
Let me know your favourite Hatha yoga posture that you would like me to teach in class! My go to is the Cat Pose (Marjariasana) as this is such a good posture for the spine. I love cats and it is always such a pleasure to watch a cat stretch, they make it look so easy! A healthy spine means a healthy, happy life. The cat posture increases awareness of the wave like motion of the spine and the energy released through your spine creates a wonderful sense of free flow and harmony through the whole chakra system.