Secret Three: Top 5 Secrets Successful Living

After exploring Secrets One and Two – working regularly with the ‘light shower’ and inviting the attitude of gratitude into your life  – you should be feeling pretty good every morning!

How would you like to feel empowered, grateful, expanded, healthy and wise every minute of your day? I most certainly do!!! That’s why Secret Three is so crucial to your total health and wellbeing!

book-now-manTo become a master at anything – even living – we need practice. We need small doses of consistent effort.

We all know that going to the gym once a month and doing a 4 hour workout – is not going to get you far in achieving your ultimate fitness goals. But a small amount on a regular basis is what will get you there. The same applies to living a successful life!

In this third secret we’re going to explore how you can – very simply – bring your awareness into your day – helping to prolong the amazing feeling of light and gratitude from Secrets One and Two (if you haven’t done these yet, please follow the links and spend a few days exploring these concepts – it will make this technique even more powerful and effective!).

GOOD HABITS… BAD HABITS…
Have you noticed that things and times of day can become habits? How we brush our teeth, which shoe we put on first, how we make our tea…. Habits are often given bad press – especially if we think they are not ‘good’ habits. However, habits can also be really, really helpful! If we could get into the habit of taking a walk everyday… of attending a yoga class once a week.. or even of checking the diary before you book the holiday… we would be creating a much healthier lifestyle, and reducing our stress levels!

For Secret Three to work we need to create a positive habit to help us expand our awareness beyond those few minutes after waking up. To do this we need some kind of trigger. Here are some examples of triggers we can use:

> TIME OF DAY: Every day at 7.30pm or 15 mins after you get in from work etc.

> PHYSICAL PLACE: Every time I walk into this room, sit on this cushion, walk past this tree…

> BODY SENSES: Every time I see this picture, hear this bell, listen to this piece of music, smell a rose, light this candle…

CHOOSE WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO…
The second thing we need is an action – a small something we’ll do when triggered by whatever it is we choose. This can be a wide range of things – but keep them small and easily achievable to start with. This action should be tied in with your long term visions, dreams and goals. So if you are actively wanting to work on your health – make your action correspond!

There are 3 main areas of action which can help you get started:

> PRegal-Coby-Runner-300x244HYSICAL MOVEMENT: when you’re working on your physical health think about using a short movement based action for example; a yoga posture or sequence, dancing or a quick run up and down the stairs!

> MEDITATION & PRANAYAMA: if you are looking to focus more on your energy levels and reducing stress, why not have a simple breathing exercise (pranayama) where you focus on your breath for 3 or 4 minutes? This can be done sitting or standing, and is very effective for bringing you back into the present moment and building your inner energy levels.

> AWAREFUL LIVING: when you can’t just ‘stop’ what you are doing, how about choosing to be totally awareful in all your actions for 5 minutes? Every foot step, every word, every mouse click… what does it feel like physically? Then try to feel a sense of gratitude permeating through your body – “Wow! I have hands that can click the mouse!”

Advanced option – a higher purpose

A powerful practice is to dedicate your action to someone/ something else. You can dedicate your action towards a specific person or a group of people. You can also focus on peace between communities and nations and also towards the earth and animals – whatever is close to your heart and needs your energy and love.

How do I hold an intension?
Just before, during and as you complete your action, have an intention that this person/ situation will feel happier, more loved, healthier as a consequence of your action. If you can’t quite ‘get’ an intention simply use words or a feeling of gratitude or giving. You might also be able to visualise the final ‘happy’ or ‘resolved’ situation. This is a very powerful technique in the process of manifestation.

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS!
Start small and get good at doing one small action regularly! Try to choose a trigger that you are not going to be doing ALL the time (for example putting on the kettle, getting into the car). Thinsg we do too regularly are not likely to be good triggers as we often won’t have time/ remember to do the action. By not doing the action associated with you trigger – you will dilute the process, and it will no longer be an active trigger. If you find this happening – choose a different, more unique trigger.

radha-tree-300Once you’ve chosen one action and you do it regularly – try adding in another one! Build an array of good habits so that they soon become integrated, natural and spontaneous!

Remember you need to be committed to doing the action EVERY time you see/ interact with the trigger. For example; sitting on ‘that’ cushion means its time for you to do ‘X’ or every time you get the hoover out you take 3 deep slow breaths and fill your home with light and positive vibes for the benefit of your family.

 

You can also choose to do a certain action for a time period of days or weeks, and then replace it with a different one. This helps you to work with a variety of different actions and can certainly keep you on your toes!!!

This technique is a very powerful way of combining your mind, thoughts, emotions and body. Integration in this way helps us to find a more positive balance in our lives and live a more congruent lifestyle. These small changes on a regular and consistent basis are what will add up to make BIG steps forward in your personal growth.

Good luck in bringing your awareness more fully into your day!

 

Anouschka Dack

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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

Top 5 Secrets Successful Living

Do you wish you could enjoy your week days as much as the weekends? Do you feel as though you don’t have time to enjoy your life to the full? Does your life lack direction and purpose?

We all want to lead a balanced lifestyle, with enough time to enjoy our family and friends as well as pursuing hobbies and taking time to relax and unwind. However, even though most of us would say these are the most important things to us – they are also the easiest ones to throw out the window when times get tough.

So how do we find our perfect balance and live a successful life?

In this series of blog posts we’ll be exploring how to find your perfect life balance through a wide range of techniques and contemplations. Each area has a practical ‘to do’ section so you can put it into action – today – now!!!

Work through these secrets one at a time, see if you can anchor them into your life, making them into your new positive habits!

> Go to Secret One…

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
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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

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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anouschka@druworldwide.com

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