Based upon soft, flowing movements, controlled breathing and visualization, Dru yoga is both a graceful form of exercise and a potent means of stress relief. With its foundations set firmly in ancient yogic tradition, Dru yoga is a style that has been passed down through the generations. It works on the body and the mind, strengthening core stability and building a heightened feeling of positively and empowerment.
In this fast moving world Dru yoga works in contrast by slowing us down, both physically and mentally. The power of stopping possibly requires more energy and determination than faster forms of exercise. Performing these simple Dru moves and asanas correctly can dissolve physical, energetic, emotional and mental blockages. It’s not about how difficult the pose is, it is about how much awareness you bring to it.
During Dru lessons you will hear ‘energy’ or ‘flow of energy’ referred to many times. When our bodies are harmonious energy flows freely through our bodies, we feel well.
Energy can get blocked in the spine and all joints of the body. From the joints these blockages can go deeper affecting our muscles and eventually our internal organs. Energy block release moves can reverse this role and play a major part in detoxifying our body. Stiffness in the spine is the main cause of energy blocks and therefore Dru yoga emphasizes the important of flexing all the parts of the spine.
Energy gets blocked if our joints are locked and therefore during Dru practices you are encouraged to keep all joints soft. When you hold your joints soft, you will discover that you recruit more of your postural muscles.
Dru yoga is a way to honour and respect your being. On the physical layer a natural outcome is that your health will benefit. On the mental level your mind will be clearer. On the emotional level you will develop greater emotional stability. On a spiritual level you will touch your inner world. Enjoy the journey! (Dru Yoga: Stillness in Motion)
You often hear me refer to chakras during class and probably wonder what I am referring to. Chakras are simply known as energy centers. Every major structure in the physical and subtle body has its own chakra. There are seven major chakras situated along the spine and relate close to our endocrine and nervous system. Chakras are ultimately an expression of the ‘life force’ projected through our bodies.
The chakras can either be in-balance (spiral of empowerment) or out-of-balance (spiral of disempowerment). When you start to look more deeply at chakras you will probably start to recognize something of yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses.
A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF EACH CHAKRA
Mooladhara – is the root of the chakra system, dominated by the element of earth and controls our survival instinct and basic needs. Relates to the emotion of fear. This chakra has been referred to in class when we practice the cobra and adhomukha svanasana (dog) as good asanas for letting go of fear.
Swadhisthana – there is a strong quality of attachment if this chakra is out of balance and emphasizes the feelings of greed, jealousy and envy. When we work with this chakra we learn to let go and be free of attachments making room for creativity and harmony. Paschimottanasana (sitting forward bend) is an ideal asana for this chakra.
Manipura (navel) – our power house chakra! This chakra has often been compared to the sun, providing warmth and energy for our body and mind. When this chakra is deficient we lack energy and interest in life. Ardha matsyendrasana (sitting twist) strongly activates this chakra and aids digestion, therefore creating more energy.
Anaharta (heart) – in balance brings all those beautiful qualities of love, joy and compassion. When out of balance we are unable to feel happy for others and we become selfish and judgmental. ‘Love is the most powerful force in the universe and it is also the most available force because everyone can tap into it” Martin Luther King Utkatasana (chair of the heart) is a great example of an asana working with the heart chakra.
Vishuddhi (throat) – communication is enhanced if this is balanced with the added qualities of authenticity and sincerity. You will find that when this chakra begins to open your choices of music will change to those forms that take you inwards towards inner silence. Setubandhasana (bridge) allows the throat area to be stimulated and any blocked energy to be released.
Ajna (between eyebrows) – this centre is often referred to the third eye and comes from the Sanskrit meaning ‘to know’. When in balance gives a clearer vision and purpose in every area of our life. We cannot open this chakra by effort alone and need to be ready for this to happen spontaneously. The asana cobra allows us to move our glaze to the ajna centre and gives us the possibility of inner sight and purpose.
Sahasrara (crown) – we have arrived! This is the ultimate destination of all yogis introducing us to our ‘real self’ and enjoying the play of life no matter what happens. All yoga practice leads us here, we all have the potential to reach this highest point.
Understanding the KOSHAS reveals the essence of Dru – Ganga Martin
In the western world our vision is often outward looking that we fail to turn our insight inwards towards our true self. We look to outer attachments (possessions) to make us feel good; when I get that job, when I owe that particular designer bag?, when I am rich, and so on. All material items will fade and rot but those inner resources of joy, happiness, contentment are all eternal and reside within.
We have 5 layers of experience (below I refer to Dru yoga but theser layers of learning can be experience in all aspects of life)
Physical (Annamayo Kosha): we learn our moves/asanas physically, moving and holding our bodies in particular ways.
Breath (Pranayama Kosha): once we are familiar with the moves the breath is then introduced. The breath is the bridge between the body and mind and has the ability to change our emotions immediately. When breath is introduced it allowas the moves to become deeper and more effective.
Emotions (Manomaya Kosha) : Each posture /movement comes with ability to tap into your thoughts and emotions either to enhance well-being or to release negative emotions such as fear and weaknesses.
Thought (Vijanamaya Kosha) Taking your experience to a deeper level to the conscious and unconscious thought. You will find your intuition sits here. How you think affects your body.
Inner Self (Ananadamaya Kosha): At every centre of human beings lives SELF – sitting patiently to be discovered. Decisions and true direction are held here, holding a powerful source of being for the individual. All yogis are travelling to this place of discovery; this is where you find the ability to be contented and happy in any of life situations. – acceptance and joy dance together in harmony.