Secret One: Top 5 Secrets Successful Living

So… what’s the first secret?

This is one of the biggest and best-kept secrets around! Secret One of a successful life is how you ‘start’ your day. Those first few minutes are crucial to how your day (and therefore your week, and month and year… and even life) unfolds and manifests around you.

In this first secret, let’s explore how you can, very simply and quickly, ‘set’ the energy of your day to help you to get the most out of your life.

meditate-in-bedAbout the technique
Jumping out of bed (or even dragging!) as soon as the alarm goes off and going through the mechanics of getting up and dressed can often feel like a chore, something to ‘get done’ before ‘life’ starts.

This is technique is about pausing for a moment and setting your intention for the day ahead BEFORE you get up. By regularly using this short meditation technique, you’ll be able to perceive a conscious shift in your daily awareness towards that intention you set in the morning.

The Light Appreciation Society
Today, I watched the sun as it rose over the mountain side here at our Dru Centre in North Wales. For what felt like an eternity, I was standing in shadow and waiting – it felt as though I was waiting for the light to bathe my soul – just as water bathes the body… The next moment a sparkle of light peeped above the horizon, swiftly followed by the rest of this wondrous disc of light. My appreciation for that light and what it ‘IS’ took my breath away. Bottom line: without the sun – there would be no planet earth. They’d be no ‘me’ or ‘you’ at all!

As we go through the Light Shower technique below – see if you can hold that sense of appreciation and wonder at the beauty of light, and what that light means to you.

The Light Shower Technique

1. As you wake up – gently move (without opening your eyes) into a comfortable seated position.

2. See if you can begin to visualise sunlight touching the crown of your head, your face, shoulders and body. You could imagine light streaming in through the window and touching your body.

light-shower3. Allow that light to flow down over the crown of your head and down towards the shoulders, chest, abdomen, hips, legs and feet. See if you can ‘feel’ it as it pours over you like a warm, soft, healing, river of light.

4. Have an intention for that light to fill you body internally with light. You can use this affirmation: “My body is filled with light, health and energy.” If you are a visual person you can try to imagine that every cell of your body has a little sparkle of light making you glow with radiance.

5. Now that you are totally filled with light, use these three affirmations from Energy Block Release 4 to set a general intention for the day:

  • Focus your awareness around your head: “May all my thoughts be filled with light and highest purpose”
  • Focus on the area of the hearts and throat: “May all my words be filled with light and compassion.”
  • Focus on the abdomen, hands and legs: “May all my actions be filled with light and be for the benefit of all beings”

6. Spend a few moments in quiet contemplation before gently stretching your body and starting your day.

Advanced option:
Once you’ve been practicing this for a while, and it becomes second nature to wake up in this way, why not start to modify and change the affirmations to suit you and what you are going to do during that day. If you’re ill, you can have an intention for that light to heal you. If you know you get angry, you could hold an intention to have more patience today.

> Go to Secret 2

 

We hope that you’ve enjoyed the first of the 5 Top Secrets to Successful Living. We’ll be posting the other 4 secrets here Dru Online blog so keep posted! Next in this series we’ll be exploring Secret Two – helping you to take the power of the Light Shower Technique and amplify it and turn it into a powerful tool for success!

If you’ve enjoyed this technique you may enjoy attending one of our yoga or meditation retreats in North Wales, or even joining our Online Meditation Course.

Warm Regards,
Anouschka Dack

> Go to Secret 2

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May 2013 – the bow

bow-for-blog

Dhanurasana or the Bow is an amazing backward bend, which also opens the chest and stretches pecs and quads. This posture gives a complete activation of the whole spine, helping maintain both its suppleness and strength and also of the hips.

In the final rocking stage the bow gives a gentle massage to the abdominal organs, obviously aiding digestion.

In this posture the Manipura chakra (the solar centre) and Vishuddhi chakra (the throat centre) are activated. As a consequence we find that on a mental / emotional level this posture helps us to become more able to express yourself.

The bow is a very powerful posture for helping us to train the mind. In the practice of archery it is said that the concentrated focus on a target helps the subject and the object to become one.

Contraindications:
If you are suffering from heart problems, high blood pressure or have had recent abdominal surgery please avoid this posture. Women who are pregnant or are menstruating should also avoid this posture.

Body preparations:
It is really important to prepare the body for the stretches this posture brings. Use the Quadriceps stretch (stand on one leg and hold the other foot close to the buttocks – keeping the knees close together and the sternum lifted), the Iliopsoas stretch and the pectoralis Stretch (take a yoga strap – or your hubby’s tie – and hold onto it with your arms about 1m apart – then lift up and over your head, so your arms are stretched out behind you).

How to do this posture:
You can perform this posture on a blanket if you need to cushion the hip bones. You may also find that you need to use straps to perform the individual stages of this posture. If your hands don’t reach your feet easily then please take care not to over-stretch – use a strap or a sash hooked around the ankle. It is important to gain the benefits of the posture without any pain.

Stage 1 (preparing the knees and thighs)
Lie in the prone position with both hands extended in front and the forehead placed on the floor. Bend the right knee and bring your right hand back and take hold of the foot. Draw the foot towards the right buttock so you can feel the stretch along the front of the right thigh.

Then bring the left hand also to the right foot. Breathe in and as you exhale raise the right thigh by pushing the front of the right foot into your palms and moving your heel away from your buttock, whilst at the same time lifting your head and chest off the ground. Hold for a few seconds, breathing normally. On an exhalation lower your head and chest to the ground and release hold of your right foot. Make sure you release hands and feet gently back to the floor.

Rest in Makarasana for a few moments before repeating with the left leg.

Stage 2 (full posture)
Remain in the prone position, bend both knees and take hold of the right foot with the right hand and the left foot with the left hand. Breathe in and as you exhale raise both the top of the body and the legs off the ground. As the body balances on the abdomen it rocks gently with each breath (the breath will be faster than normal in this position).

Your arms are like the bow-string which tenses to bring the body back into the shape of the bow.

Top Tip: 
It is important to follow this posture with some forward bending postures. Either the knee-to-head posture (Janu Sirsasana) or the sitting forward bend (Paschimottanasana) would be ideal.

Yoga and Walking

mouli-for-blogIt’s not just because the dog needs a tree that we should head out into the big green yonder… it’s because it’s actually vital for our full health and wellbeing. Here at Dru, we try to get out and about for a walk every day – read on to find out why!

1. Lift your mood
Simply by heading out for a 20 minute brisk walk your body starts to release endorphins – or the ‘feel good’ hormones. This in turn helps us to feel positive about our lives and enthusiastic about our day ahead.


2. Get fit
Brisk walking is also beneficial aerobic exercise for helping to promote weight loss. By getting out and about you are naturally using more energy and therefore helping those extra calories from that sneaky packet of crisps to be used up with exercise – rather than sitting on the hips!

3. Get a change of perspective
When we are out of our ‘normal’ environment it becomes much easier to see things from a different perspective. Those things which seemed too big or overwhelming can now become more clear and can feel more manageable.

 4. Dedicate those positive vibes
When we walk with an awareness of gratitude it can become a powerful act of dedication. When we think about how amazing it is to be able to walk, run, play and get easily from A to B, we can then choose to dedicate that great feeling to others who may be less fortunate than ourselves. We can hope that someone close to us may also feel the beauty of movement today, or that those who are not able to walk will feel some improvement in their health.

Why not give it a try next time you’re ‘pounding the pavement’!

5. Keeping it up…
It’s not necessarily easy to keep up your daily walk… When it gets really busy at work, or you get home late and you are tired, a walk round the block can feel like the last thing in the world you want to do! At these times the best thing is to put on your shoes (without thinking too much!) and just walk out the door!!! You’ll find that once you start – it’s much easier to keep going.

Here are some great ideas about how to integrate your walk into your daily life to get you started!

  1. Park about a mile away from work – then you have to walk there and back again!
  2. Don’t get enough milk… (This is a crafty one to get the other half out the door!)
  3. Have a ‘walk buddy’ – when you are with another person you can help each other to keep up the good habit.
  4. Use the stairs instead of the lift.
  5. Walk the kids to school.
  6. Make it a family habit to go for a stroll after dinner every evening.

 6. Yogic walking?
The literal translation of yoga is: ‘to unite’ and when we walk with awareness we have a wonderful opportunity to be able to connect to nature and our surroundings.

As we allow ourselves to fully enter into the joy of walking we start to experience other potent benefits. For example, it can help us to tap into a more subtle part of ourselves, allowing us to feel more emotionally balanced, physically energised and to enjoy a deep sense of connection to inner self and the world around us. Discover more about yoga and walking at one of our yoga weekend retreats in Snowdonia.

If you are familiar with some of the yoga asanas and sequences, you will also find that to practice them out of doors will bring a added dimension for you to enjoy. Learn some asana in this blog under our ‘posture of the month’ category or visit us at the Dru Yoga Online Studio here.

Anoushka (27) small

Discover the amazing benefits of walking today!

Anouschka Dack


> Yoga and walking holidays

> Dru Yoga Online Studio
> Dru Yoga teacher Training
> Yoga in your area

How I discovered Dru Yoga…

dru-class-teacher-croppedI first discovered yoga in the mid-nineties. I was teaching at secondary school level at the time, and I was looking for a way of managing a stressful job and keeping flexible. I noticed my local leisure centre offered a yoga class and I joined up.

At the time I wasn’t aware of different yoga styles, but from what I recall it was a hatha style class, with the emphasis on holding various hatha poses for a period of time.  I had never tried yoga before and loved it – it offered me time out after a busy day’s teaching for myself to just be and quieten my busy mind.

Soon after starting yoga I began to re-evaluate my life and as a result left teaching. I loved the job in many ways, but the practice of yoga really brought home to me the effects that my teaching job was having on my health.  I entered into a series of jobs in heritage, moving around the country. I endeavored to keep my yoga up – using videos when I couldn’t find a class.  And attending classes where ever possible – over the years I have attended hatha, Iyengar, Yin and Kundalini classes.

I first came across Dru yoga in 2009 whilst surfing online. I remember being intrigued by its gentle graceful nature, flowing sequences and the ‘energy block releases’ unique to this style of yoga. I looked for a local teacher but unfortunately wasn’t able to find a regular local class in my area. I contacted the Dru Midlands office based in Wolverhampton and they encouraged me to try some workshops and even try the Teacher Training Taster day they had planned.  Having attended the taster and a workshop – as well as buying the DVD – I became hooked.

I completed the Dru Teacher Training course in 2012 and I loved every minute of it. Not only did the course satisfy my appetite to discover more about Dru, I learned effective techniques to apply in my everyday life. When it’s all feeling a bit hectic my favorite is to take some time out and stand in mountain pose, breathe and ground myself. Simple, yet very effective!   And the energy block releases have taught me the importance of releasing unresolved emotional energy.

Dru yoga has been a valuable addition to my life on many levels. It helps me manage the demands of daily life, keeps my energy levels up and also allows me the time and space to focus. I am now teaching Dru Yoga and I am constantly delighted to see how Dru yoga positively helps and empowers my students.

Susan Hardwick
Dru Yoga Teacher, Nottingham

Disocver more about Dru:
> www.druworldwide.com
(yoga holidays, yoga teacher training & local yoga workshops and classes)
> Online Yoga studio
> Online Meditation course
> Online Gita Course

Autumn – time to pause!

This autumn; pause, catch your breath and allow yourself a bit of time for clarity and perspective.

With a nip in the air and the leaves starting to fall – it’s important we regcognise this time of change; both inside us and out in nature. If we are awareful, this time of year can be very beneficial to us and our journey forward. As the earth begins to cool and the nights draw in, how about reaching inward to the warmth inside?

In Dru Yoga we often talk of ‘Dru Points’ or places of internal and eternal stillness that we can encounter through our yoga and meditation practice. It is where we find ourselves in perfect balance and harmony with ourselves, our loved ones and the world around us. Dru Points are a  powerful way to stay connected to your inner self – even when things are a little rough round the edges.

By pausing for a few breaths each day and taking just a few minutes to anchor yourself in reality, it is also less easy for people or situations to knock you off balance. How you sit or stand to do this is really important as your posture effects not just your physical body, but also your emotions. If your spine is tall,straight and strong – those are exactly the qualities you will feel inside too.

Practical Tip – Vertical Alignment Breath

Tadasana
Stand tall; ideally out in nature. Iif this is not possible, sit comfortably with your spine straight – not slouched! Close your eyes and begin to take your awareness inwards towards your physical body. Take your awareness down to the feet, where they are in contact with the earth or floor beneath you. Feel a balance between the left and right feet and the toes and heels. Feel perfectly centered and balanced.

Draw the awareness up the legs feeling a wave of strength moving upward into the hips. Engage your core muscles by gently pulling in at the lower abdomen and up from the pelvic floor muscles. Feel that wave moving up the spine, to the top of the head. Feel as though the crown is being lifted slightly, so that the rest of the body feels light. The shoulders and gluteals are relaxed.

Vertical Alignment Breath
Once more focus at the feet. This time take you awareness down into the earth beneath you. See if you can tune in to the trees around you the soft earth, the leaves on the ground. Then spread your awareness outward so you feel the hills around you, the fields, rivers and lakes. From here take the focus downward again into the solid strength of the earth. You may be able to touch a feeling of light and warmth from the earth.

With a conscious in breath, draw warmth, strength and light up from the earth to the souls of the feet and up through the legs to the heart. At the heart allow yourself to pause and as you breathe out continue the journey of the breath up to the crown of the head. Breathe naturally as you focus here. Become aware of the air and spaciousness around you. The birds in the air, the clouds, the wind and the blue sky. Move the awareness upward as in your mind’s eye you see the sky above you filled with stars, solar systems and planets. You can feel the warmth from our sun. With the next in breath draw that warmth, spaciousness and openness down to the crown of the head, and down through the chest into the heart once again. Pause here as the focus starts to move down again to the earth.

Once you have identified your visualisations of Earth and Sky, you can move through this process a little quicker. From the heart take a breath in and then breathe out and push the awareness down into the earth. Connect with the earth and with the in breath raise the awareness again to the heart. With the next out breath, push the awareness upward from the heart to the crown and beyond into the space above you pause in that expansion and again with the next in breath draw those qualities back down to the heart. Repeat several times. When you are ready to complete; rest your awareness at the heart centre for a few breaths. Touch the deep stillness within.

This technique is very powerful for helping you to establish your place on this earth. You are walking firmly anchored to the world around you, but, as Gandhi said, “your head is crowned with the stars”. At the heart is a place of balance – this is your centre. Your equilibrium. Come to rest here daily and you will feel calm and peace pervade everything you do.

Enjoy the peaceful earth this autumn!

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

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www.druworldwide.com (yoga holidays in North Wales)
www.drumanchester.com (200 hr Dru Yoga Teacher Training – November 2012)
www.druhealthyliving.com (Holistic therapies and mentoring)
anouschka@druworldwide.com

Online yoga studio
Online Meditation course
Online Gita Course

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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www.druworldwide.com
www.drumanchester.com
www.druhealthyliving.com
anouschka@druworldwide.com

Online yoga studio
Online Meditation course
Online Gita Course