Dru Yoga in the Workplace

Taking Yoga into the Workplace

More and more research is being published to show that yoga reduces stress in the workplace, and yoga is being seen increasingly as a solution to stress- related absenteeism. Stress and back pain are two key factors leading to sickness absence at work, costing the British economy an estimated £17 billion per year.

Ned Hartfiel, a researcher from Bangor University, was interested in the effects of Dru Yoga on workplace stress, and as part of his doctorate research, did a 8-week randomised, controlled study with employees of Conwy County Council, which has been published in the Oxford University Press’ Journal of Occupational Medicine. The study showed that the Dru Yoga programme significantly reduced perceived stress, back pain and hostility, and that participants felt more self-assured, attentive and serene after the yoga classes.

Dru Yoga was chosen for this study, as it is a particularly safe and therapeutic form of yoga that can be practised by most people. Dru Yoga is characterized by graceful movements, directed breathing and relaxation techniques that include affirmation and visualization. The Dru Yoga classes in this study were divided into four stages: activation exercises, energy block release sequences, postures and relaxation.

One participant in the study, Susan Williams, a Community Engagement Officer, tells her story of experiencing yoga in the workplace.

‘I received an internal e-mail that explained about the yoga pilot project and that it could help with stress. I had never done any yoga before in my life, but I had been fascinated with the ancient health enhancing properties of yoga, and I thought I had nothing to lose and everything to gain from giving it a go.

As a professional with a job that required a lot of energy and drive, I was wearing myself to the ground. My stress levels had become too high, to a level whereby I had to take time off work. I had tried to hide my stress for a number of years, however, during the last year I could no longer hold it together. Physically I felt tired. Outwardly I was enthusiastic, encouraging, assisting and motivating others; however inwardly, I was empty and giving out my reserves! I couldn’t go on any more. I was burnt out and with two children to look after. I was scared, and I needed to find a way out.

I embraced the Dru Yoga programme of exercise. I was able to complete 7 out of the 8 weeks of Yoga, and I practised at home with the DVD at least once a week, but more often twice. I found that Dru Yoga had a noticeable effect on my self-esteem and levels of confidence. I felt more in control, ready, aware, dynamic and empowered. I began to recognise the inner strength within me. It had always been there, but now I knew it! I was happier, and it was so much easier to cope with my circumstances. Although my circumstances had not changed, my outlook, attitude and behaviour began to improve remarkably.

Since starting the Dru Yoga pilot study, I have had no long term stress-related sickness absence. In fact, I have now enrolled on a course to become a Dru Yoga Instructor! I would not say I am ‘cured’, as I am still susceptible to stress and anxiety. However, I am using the tools I have learned from Dru Yoga, and it works!

Emotionally I am more calm and positive. Physically I am stronger, with greater flexibility and overall in much better shape than I was before. Although I am physically active and lift
weights, Dru took my physical capabilities to a new level, and I love a challenge! Dru uses visualisation as well, which really helps when doing the movements. It works on a deeper level and leaves me feeling grounded with a feeling of harmony, acceptance and simplicity. Namaste.’

As more research shows how yoga can help with workplace stress and back pain, it’s time for yoga teachers to take their skills off the mat and into businesses – who need the benefits of yoga more than ever.

 

Yoga for reducing perceived stress and back pain at work N. Hartfiel; C. Burton; J. Rycroft-Malone; G. Clarke; J. Havenhand; S. B. Khalsa; R. T. Edwards Occupational Medicine 2012; doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqs168 More information about Dru Yoga, visit druyoga.com

Ned Hartfiel
ned@druworldwide.com

Journey of a Yogi – Anouschka Dack

When we are searching for meaning or inspiration, it’s really important that we’re not so busy ‘searching’ that we miss it!

As a teenager, I was most definitely ‘searching’ for something. Having been brought up attending church and youth groups every Sunday I knew something ‘more’ existed, yet I was still missing a deep, lasting connection with myself.

I consider myself extremely lucky, because right when I needed it; I found Dru Yoga! I was 16, and attended a youth event run by Jane Clapham and the Dru Yoga team at their retreat centre in North Wales. The joy and excitement of finding my path inspired me to step into my power and start practicing yoga. Dru isn’t just about performing a yoga posture, it’s about your inner connection with you. For some of us that’s through physically moving the body, releasing endorphins and healing the body. For others its the balancing of mind and emotions, gaining a clarity of thoughts and perspective, and for others it may be to touch upon our essence in the depth of meditation. Read more about Dru Yoga here…

As someone brand new to yoga I threw myself in at the deep end, and at 16 I was one of the youngest ever to start and then graduate from the Dru Yoga Teacher Training course. I was able to manage my finances by paying in installments and by 18, I was teaching at university to earn my way through my degree. As the course is standardised worldwide, I was also catch up any weekends I missed throughout the country.

I found developing my own yoga and meditation practice quite a challenge at first… sitting still has never been my strong point, but perseverance and tangible results are very helpful indeed! We used a yoga journal or portfolios to record our experiences with the different postures as well as a couple of research projects on the spine and the chakra system. These really helped me to anchor my personal experience and gave me a reason to practice regularly. This was especially useful as a busy undergrad student at uni!

I enjoyed the challenge of teaching and through my years of working in Wolverhampton I attended some of the Dru Yoga post-grad courses and as a consequence found my yoga took me into some very exciting places! From Yogi You (Dru Yoga for kids and teens) I taught in schools with kids as young as 4 and 5, through to teaching teenagers studying ‘stress’ as part of their psychology A levels! I went on to teach in retirement homes, in day centres for adults with learning difficulties, pre-natal students and even Dru Dance!

Throughout all of this I have had the unwavering support of my Dru colleagues who having started out as my teachers on a course have now become my dearest friends and mentors.

My yoga career has now developed and I now work with the Dru team in Manchester with one of the founders of Dru in the UK; Annie Jones. Together with our fantastic Dru team and volunteers we run yoga teacher training courses, meditation and yoga foundation courses, workshops, classes and1:2:1 programmes. I also have the amazing privilage to travel to teach yoga at our Dru workshops and events around the world.

My current focus is to live by Dru’s mission statement of ‘giving people the tools to transform themselves’. It is vital that we as teachers, help our students feel strong and empowered and to realise that we do make a difference to ourselves and others’ lives. We we can, and do, positively impact those around us.

That, in essence, is what Dru has given me; the confidence, strength, vision and purpose to give, inspire and uplift everyone I meet. Dru has given me the tools and techniques I needed to become an empowered individual. It is a style that everyone can enjoy, learn and teach – no matter your size, shape or age! I’ve really had to drop my pre-conceived ideas of what a yoga teacher ‘should’ be – I’ve never been a stick insect! It’s important to remember both as a student and as a teacher you are perfect just as you are – right now.

Yes, we all want to improve, but don’t keep putting yourself down – waiting and searching… because you might have just found it!!!!

Welcome to Dru!
by Anouschka Dack
Dru Yoga Teacher trainer and holistic therapist in Manchester

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A matter of mind over massage?

As a therapist I often get asked to ‘fix’ someone or get them better – but what does that really mean?

Over the last 10 years I have been on many holistic courses – always in persuit of the ONE therapy that will bring the most relief – i guess the miracle cure or the ‘pill’ that will fix everything and make anything unsavory just disappear… From CraniaoSacral therapy to hot stone massage, meditation and NLP – the question is always: what is the perfect combination?

Unfortunately you, like me, will find that there is only one thing that can ‘fix’ any problem and that IS that miracle cure… Yes – you’ve guessed it!!! It’s YOU!!!!

Now that may sound a bit harsh – of course we, as therapists, can ease your journey and give you guidance and even make it enjoyable – but I have found from my experience that is is our MINDS that hold the greatest control over what we see, feel and perceive. As each one of us is unique each of our paths is different. The way we feel nurtured and cared for is different. The way we see if a glass is half-full or half-empty… these are all filters that have been developed from a lifetime of learned judgements, perceptions, values and morals.

So is it a matter of mind over massage?

For me it’s simply a matter of mind and massage! There is no way I have yet found to ‘think’ away those aching shoulders or to ‘think’ away vertigo, but to apply the right formula of massage, yoga stretches and maybe even a pinch of positive self talk there is little doubt that with strength and purpose of mind we can achieve ANYTHING we wish for in our lives – and not just reduced back pain.

There are a few things that can really help keep your body happy and healthy. The most important is to ensure that every day you do some kind of movement work – whether it’s a walk in nature or some stretches – keeping your spine healthy is one of THE most fundamental ways to ensure optimum health. Remember that you spine moves forwards, backwards, sideways and twist – so doing these movements at least once a day should help to keep your physical body healthy and awake.

To train the muscle of your mind – you will have to be cunning and strategic – you’ll find that the mind has a great capacity for self sabotage. Just the other day I was talking to one of my mentors saying that I couldn’t get consistent with my meditation practice… The answer was quite revealing; “But you are CONSISTENTLY NOT doing your practice!!! Therefore your problem is not consistency! It is your MIND resisting doing something it doesn’t want to do!”

So in the matter of mind and massage I suggest a mixture – just like cooking find your best recipe by trial and error. Find the bits that work, the bits that need a bit more seasoning and the bits that complement your dish perfectly – then formulate your plan and stick with it for your total wellbeing in both body and mind!

Anouschka Dack is a holistic therapist and Dru Yoga teacher in Manchester. Specialising in holistic and hot stone massage and CranioSacral Therapy. To book an appointment email anouschka@druworldwide.com.