Dru Yoga is a gentle, flowing form of Yoga which is often dubbed the “feeling” Yoga due to its heart-based sequences which release tension and bring bliss and balance to body, mindand spirit. Popular with both beginner yogis seeking a very adaptable class, as well as more experienced yogis wishing to become their best version,Dru Yoga offers transformation at a deep and profound level.
What is Dru Yoga
The word ‘Dru’ comes from the Indian Sanskrit word; Dhruva, which refers to the ‘north star’ - the stillness of the stars aligning with our own inner stillness, otherwise known as the “Still-point” - and was developed in the late seventies by a group of forward-thinking students at Bangor University, North Wales, whose vision was to blend the ancient wisdom of Yoga with modern science.
After graduation, the five University friends: Chris Barrington, Rita Goswami, Annie Jones, John Jones and Mansukh Patel created the concept of Dru and with a philosophy of “less is more” they constructed unique sequences strongly rooted in the Yoga scriptures, alongside input from osteopaths, physiotherapists and neuroscience.
Two of the key fundamentals of Dru is that all movement originates from the base of the spine and on the premise that energy gets blocked in rigid joints all movements are encouraged with softly flexed joints to avoid pressure or injury - and to allow Prana (natural energy) to flow freely.
The slow, respectful and gentle awareness of Dru Yoga makes it highly suitable for anyone with back issues, or injury concerns. The principles of preparing the muscles and recruiting the stabilising/postural muscles ensures a safe and steady class, so it’s not surprising that Dru Yoga is dubbed one of the most accessible and adaptable styles of yoga around.
Three central components form the basis of Dru Yoga:
- This is a therapeutic form of Yoga so expect soft, flowing and graceful movements, sequences and postures
- Classical Yoga poses are incorporatedinto a series of unique Dru flows, known as Energy Block Release Sequences(EBR’s), synchronised movements/poses focused on a particular outcome, such as awakening heart energy or increasing vitality; and
- The focus on transformation, increasing energy(vitality) and removing energy blockages (physical as well as unhelpful thoughts/patterns)is very much at the heart of Dru and all sequences and postures are performed with awareness of activating and rebalancing the body’s subtle energetics(known as the Koshas and Chakras), also by using positive affirmations and visualisationsto encourage shifts, and a heightened sense of wellbeing.
What to expect from a Dru Yoga class
A typical Dru Yoga class will begin with Activations, performed to lively and ambient music, essentially stretching specific body parts eg ankle or wrist rotations, combined with flowing movements akin to movements in a Tai Chi session. The idea of the Activations is to help people get out of their heads and into their bodies, and to flood the system with endorphins, the feel good chemicals. A more focused muscle preparation on the muscle groups for the session follows the activations, including the all-important core stability and postural muscle training.
Less is more when it comes to stretching/moving but expect more rather than lesswhen it comes to positive transformation. This is achieved very subtly by rebalancing the Chakras (the body’s major energy centres) and with awareness of the ‘koshas’ (the subtle energetics which include our thoughts, feelings, breath, and connection to the Higher Self), making this a highly potent workout which impacts every level.
Through conscious breathing, observing thoughts, feelings and sensations while flowing through the sequences, the teacher will explain which Chakras are being stimulated, and the physical, mental and emotional benefits. The introduction of positive affirmations and visualisations are used to support the release of stress and trauma, and to restore balance.
There are seven unique EBR sequences in Dru, groups of poses and movements which focus on a particular outcome, and 10 or more other adapted sequences, for example, Chandra Namaskara (Moon Salutation), and the Salutation to the Four Directions. The unique Dru EBR’s are designed to help reverse the process of any blocked energy in the spine, joints or organs to prevent the emotional or mental effects of trauma from continuing, or worsening.
A Dru Yoga class will complete with at least 10 minutes of Guided Relaxation in Savasana (Corpse pose) as the ability to relax deeply, and integrate the energy shifts and anchor the effects is paramount to Dru Yoga.
In a Dru Yoga class you can anticipate
- A therapeutic, holistic Yoga class, resulting in feeling very refreshed, calm, capable and rejuvenated
- A great tonic for mental and emotional health, in addition to a powerful yet seemingly effortless workout
- A variation in content, different sequences and asanas are chosen for each session
- Ambient or relaxing music is often played throughout
- Mudras (energetic seals in the hands, working on the body’s subtleties) are introduced as another tool to help balance emotions, hormones, nerve impulses and energy flows
- Guaranteed delicious relaxation at the end of class, enabling a reboot of the central nervous system
- Deeply restorative sessions promoting a sense of balance, bliss and joy
- Calming mantras, positive affirmations and visualisations helping to encourage the possibility of co-creating and living an inspired, fulfilled life
Effects and Benefits of a Dru Yoga Class
Dru Yoga focuses on the awareness of the body’s energy systems while flowing through the physical movements to help bring yogis to their ‘Stillpoint’ and become Master of their minds, able to more easily overcome difficulties and transmute limiting beliefs.
Although Savasana is often considered the most important end to any Yoga session, in some yoga classes it is confined to just 2-3 minutes, whereas deep, restorative guided relaxation is at the core of Dru and helps to anchor and integrate new energies and create a greater sense of internal balance.
By introducing ways to relax more deeply and including positive visualisations and affirmations which reinforce a healthy mindset and vision (the body and mind is more receptive to suggestions such as; “I am calm, relaxed and peaceful”, or “I have all the resources I need to accomplish my goals” during Savasana), perhaps the greatest gift of Dru Yoga is the transformational elements it brings, and the ability to liberate life-force energy in a gentle, conscious yet empowered way.
Some of the top benefits include
- Feeling in flow with life, both on and off the yoga mat
- The ability to deeply relax, heal disease, trauma, and to replace negative thought patterns with more positive ones to lead a fulfilled life
- Core stability and postural awareness – essential to walk tall and prevent spinal and back problems
- Increasing mental focus and concentration through the meditative flows, mantras and breathing exercises (pranayama)
- Creating flexibility in the body helps increase a flexible outlook and mind so the encouragement to flow through the poses and sequences encourages more flow in life and is at the heart of Dru
- Deep stress release
- Improved postural alignment - flowing through the sequences helps you to become more aware of your centre, and increases co-ordination
- With regular practice the ability to manage stress will dramatically improve as focus and a sense of inner power deepens
- Energy levels are increased via the concentrated flow of Prana (life-force energy), breath and oxygen
The combination of positive mindset, visualisations, movement and meditations in a session of Dru will likely have a profound and life-changing effect on a person’s wellbeing. If you’re wondering whether Dru Yoga will be too slow for you, rest assured, among the gentler sequences such as the Earth Salutation, which deeply connects the yogi to the calming, grounding earth energies and to movement-breath synchronisation, the Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskara), Dru Power and the Vitality Sequences, which incorporate strong stretches, balances, and robust poses like Warrior 1 and 2, perfectly demonstrate that Dru Yoga can be both dynamic and powerful, as well as gentle and restorative.