January is when many people start looking for yoga classes. They’ve heard that yoga is good for them and that it’s relaxing. Few people realise the vast variety of styles on offer or the differences between them. Unfortunately, going to a class that doesn’t suit you could put you off yoga forever. It could even be dangerous, especially as doctors often recommend yoga as a gentle form of exercise which isn’t always what it is!
Body and Soul Yoga is rooted in the Dru style blended with classic Hatha asanas. So to get back to the original question: What is Dru yoga? Really, it is yet another style although less well known than Ashtanga (sometimes called Power Yoga because of its focus on strong warrior poses) or Vinyasa (where you flow continuously from one posture to the next). Hatha yoga is often seen as an easy, gentle style with postures held rather than flowing as in Vinyasa which is why I describe my classes as a blend of Dru and Hatha yoga. In actual fact, “hatha” refers to the physical aspect of yoga so in a sense all styles of yoga are “hatha” and the postures themselves are “asanas”.
Perfect for beginners, intermediate and advanced yogis
Dru yoga is fun, safe and accessible. Classes typically start with activations (warm-ups) specially designed to include everyone and get participants moving. You won’t find anything too difficult. In fact there is no “right” or “wrong” with the warm-ups – as long as you are moving, enjoying yourself and comfortable with what you’re doing. As the activations progress more structure is introduced and often body preps (stretches to prepare your muscles for the postures to come) are included in this section of the class.
I often precede the activation stage with seated or supine stretches, gently grounding the mind in the body and getting participants used to moving with the breath. Sometimes I introduce simple breathing techniques such as Alternate Nostril breathing and I explain the Ujjayi breath to beginners so they understand how to use breathing in their practice.
The warm ups are usually followed by one of the Energy Block Release sequences enabling energy to move freely around the body – averting dis-ease when energy gets stuck in the joints eventually resulting in health problems. Beginners enjoy these movements and almost immediately feel the benefits on a physical level. Intermediate students may start to become aware of the subtle bodies (koshas) as the sequences work at a deeper level.
The main section of the class focuses on one or two main asanas (poses) – introducing the basic alignment and breathing required for beginners and taking awareness deeper for more advanced students, incorporating affirmations and visualisations. Everyone is able to work to their own ability and alternatives including chair options are offered. You won’t find instagram style balances or extreme inversions in Dru yoga. Some poses may challenge you but it is the journey not the destination that matters. Asanas are always broken down into manageable chunks and don’t worry if the full pose isn’t for you.
All yoga classes end with some kind of relaxation (often savasana or corpse posture) but Dru takes it to a new level. The Dru complete relaxation takes students through their whole body from feet upwards and then again through their subtle body in preparation for 15 minutes relaxation. Students are gently guided back into their physical bodies before leaving the class feeling relaxed and ready for whatever challenges may come their way.
You can expect to leave a Dru class feeling amazing on much more than just a physical level. Even beginners tell me they feel completely different after classes. But unlike some other disciplines there’s no need to spend weeks learning complicated moves – you just come along and get started. And the more classes you do the more you will benefit from this fantastic style of yoga.
Still not sure? Just try it and see. You’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain! You can come to one of my classes (check the website for days, times and venues) or try an online taster from the Dru online studio. You have to pay to access the full range of classes but many are available free.