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
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. The cobra and adhomukha svanasana (dog) are good asanas for letting go of fear and relate to this chakra.
Location of the body: Base of the spine
Balanced characters: Well grounded, feeling safe and secure, ability to relax, attuned with nature, purposeful.
EXCESS: Overeating, inactive, sluggish, tired, fear of change, rigid boundaries.
DEFICIENCY: Disconnection from body, underweight, fearful, anxious, restless, can’t settle, poor focus and discipline, financial concerns.
PHYSICAL MALFUNCTIONS: Frequent illnesses, disorders of bones, teeth, issues with legs, feet, knees, base of spine, hips, buttocks, eating disorders, lack of vitality.
Aromatherapy Oils: Cypress, Myrrh, Patchouli, Lavender and Cedarwood. Choose the oil that makes you feel grounded and safe. Either put in a bath or use in an oil burner.
Suggestions for balancing this chakra: Place bare feet on the earth (grounding), wear red, sit outside in nature, meditation, breathing exercises, smell the associated oils, identify your fears.
AFFIRMATION: I am safe, and the earth supports me
This chakra is situated close to and slightly above the base chakra and is dominated by the element of water. When we work with this chakra we learn to let go of attachments in emotional terms. Paschimottanasana (sitting forward bend) is an ideal movement for this chakra.
Location of the body: At the level of Coccyx
Balanced characters: confident, open, friendly, express a deep joy of life, good self/body image, balanced ego, creative.
EXCESS: over excited, self-indulgence, manipulative, seeking constant reassurance, high emotions.
DEFICIENCY: lack of emotions, rigid body, self-controlled, stiffness in joints, rigid hips, fearful.
PHYSICAL MALFUNCTIONS: Kidney and bladder problems, infertility, ovaries and prostrate problems, lower back problems.
Aromatherapy Oils: Ylang-ylang, sandalwood, jasmine, rose and petitgrain use a few drops of your preferred oils either in the bath or burner.
Suggestions for balancing this chakra: Learn to belly dance, keep a journal and record your feelings, dance.
AFFIRMATION: I am creative. I feel connected to all the goodness and abundance that life has to offer.
This is a power house chakra. It’s often been compared to the sun, providing warmth and energy for body and mind. The half sitting twist strongly activates this chakra and aids digestion, thereby creating more energy.
Location of the body: Solar plexus (naval)
Balanced characters: strong, confident, motivated for the good of all, face challenges with optimism and determination. Calm strength.
EXCESS: the need for control, in constant doing and unable to relax.
DEFICIENCY: Afraid of their power, Trouble setting boundaries, being assertive and following through with their will.
PHYSICAL MALFUNCTIONS: Rules liver, gall bladder, spleen, stomach and kidneys.
Aromatherapy Oils: Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, chamomile, lemon and thyme use a few drops of your preferred oils either in a burner or put in a carrier oil (Sweet Almond Oil) and massage on the abdomen.
Suggestions for balancing this chakra: Play bold music, watch a sunrise, gaze at a candle flame, sit by an open fire, wear yellow/gold particularly around the waist.
AFFIRMATION: I am strong and able to face life challenges with determination and optimism.
When in balance this chakra brings all those beautiful qualities of love, joy and compassion. When out of balance we unable to feel happy for others and we become selfish and judgmental. LOVE is the most powerful force in the universe and is the most available energy for us all.
Colour – Green
Location of the body: Middle of the chest
Balanced characters: Compassionate, truthful, generous, radiating warmth.
EXCESS: abuse of love relationships, needing to be the centre of attention.
DEFICIENCY: uncaring, unfeeling, jealous, unable to forgive.
PHYSICAL MALFUNCTIONS: Rules the heart, upper back, breasts, lungs, skin, immune system, arms and hands.
Aromatherapy Oils: Rose, bergamot, geranium and clary sage all activate the heart chakra. Choose an oil you like and mix with base oil (sweet almond oil) massage into a friend’s palm or your own, if you feel you need some heart support.
Suggestions for balancing this chakra: Practise loving kindness, take time to enjoy nature, fill a vase of pink flowers, listen to uplifting music or watch a ‘good feel’ film.
AFFIRMATION: I am loved
Communication is enhanced if this chakra is balanced with the added qualities of authenticity and sincerely. When this chakra begins to open you will find that your music preferences will change to those forms that take you inwards towards your inner silence.
Location of the body: Throat
Balanced characters: Truthful, clear spoken, reflective, creative, good communicator.
EXCESS: Over-talkative, judgemental, dishonest, poor communication.
DEFICIENCY: Unable to talk, quiet, unable to speak up.
PHYSICAL MALFUNCTIONS: Rules the throat, neck, vocal cords, jaw, arms, nose, teeth and hearing.
Aromatherapy Oils: sage, eucalyptus, lavender, sandalwood, neroli, myrrh and chamomile. Mix with base oil (Sweet Almond oil) and gently massage into the neck.
Suggestions for balancing this chakra: Spend time in silence and listen regularly to the inner voice, wear the colour turquoise around the throat as a necklace or scarf, lengthen the back of your neck, by tucking your chin into your chest.
AFFIRMATION: I speak my truth
This centre is often referred to as the third eye and comes from the Sanskrit meaning ‘to know’. When in balance ajna gives a clearer vision and purpose in every area of our life. We cannot open this chakra by effort alone. We must accept that is happens as spontaneously.
Location of the body: Between the eyebrows
Balanced characters: Often very humble, people will seek their wise guidance, light and humorous, intuitive, respectful.
OUT OF BALANCE: Doubtful, lacking insight, lacking discrimination, isolated, unspiritual.
PHYSICAL MALFUNCTIONS: Rules the eyes, base of skull, face, nose, sinuses, cerebellum and the central nervous system.
Aromatherapy Oils: Rose geranium, jasmine, vetiver, basil, patchouli, rosemary or mint.
Suggestions for balancing this chakra: Take time alone sitting quietly, reflecting, maintain a regular practice of yoga and meditation, look for deeper meanings when surprises happen.
AFFIRMATION: I see all things with clarity.
You have arrived! This is the ultimate destination of all yogis and arguably all of us. It introduces us to our real self enables us to enjoy the play of life no matter what happens. All yoga practise leads us here. We ALL have the potential to reach this highest point.
Location of the body: Crown of the head
Sense: No specific sense
When this chakra is open: Modest, humorous, compassionate – no longer affected by conflicting emotions, giving them an aura of calm.
PHYSICAL MALFUNCTIONS: Cerebral cortex, brain and the whole of the body.
Aromatherapy Oils: Lavender, frankincense and rosewood. Burn these oils during meditation.
Suggestions for opening this chakra: Spend time in silence, go on regular retreats, meditate regularly.
AFFIRMATION: I am connected to all that is.
(Cards used Chakra Reading Cards by Rachelle Charman)
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.