Dru Yoga tips to help you deal with Christmas Stress

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Christmas is meant to be a time of peace and joy and giving. For many of us, however, it has become a time which is far from peaceful. Our stress levels rise as we count off the days. Shopping takes over our lives and the ‘giving’ can become obsessive anxiety about whether we have spent enough on our gifts, or got enough food in for the big day. The message of peace and love which is the essence of Christmas can get well and truly lost.

So how can we get back to the essence? How can we bring to Christmas that sense of peace and genuine (rather than commercial) giving that it really represents?

Dru Yoga, of course, has all the answers, as it will always bring us back to that place of stillness within us. Dru Yoga postures and sequences will restore our bodies and minds, releasing blocked energy.

Simply standing in Tadasana (the Mountain Posture) connects us deeply to the earth. Visualise a tree, with its roots firmly anchored into the earth, giving a wonderful sense of stability. Using the breath, lengthen through the legs, keeping the knees soft. Engage the core stability muscles slightly to support the posture. Lift the sternum, relax your shoulders, lengthen the back of your neck. Feel tall and relaxed.

At this time of year the earth is dormant, but a lot is happening under the surface to prepare for the renewed growth of spring. It’s the same with this posture. As we stand on the earth in this focused way, an amazing well of energy can rise up through our spine.

The vertical alignment breath can help this process. Visualise breathing in from the core of the earth, letting the breath flow up your legs and up through the spine to your heart. Then as you breathe out, imagine the breath flowing upwards from your heart, out of the crown of your head and up into the heavens. On the next breath, repeat the process, drawing energy down from above to you heart as you breathe in, letting it flow down from your heart and out of the soles of your feet back down into the earth as you breathe out. Repeat this process for as long as it feels comfortable, as you become a connection between heaven and earth. Finish by drawing energy to your heart from above, then offering it out horizontally to bless the world.

Winter is a time for stillness and reflection, for preparing and making plans for the year to come. Complement your yoga practice with introspection, looking at the direction you want your life to go in, considering how you can best strengthen and help yourself, those around you and the wider world.

For more Dru Yoga poses to keep you calm, visit the Dru Yoga Online Studio or visit the Dru Yoga Centre in Snowdonia for a stress- relieving yoga retreat!

 

 

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May – the tree

Vrksasana or the Tree Posture is  a fantastic balancing posture which is close to any Dru Yogi’s heart! This posture has many levels and many layers of understanding.

Physically this posture is great for balancing the leg muscles, toning the gluteals and core muscles as well as introducing flexibility to the shoulders and back. The real benefits of this posture, however, come from the deeper levels of the emotions and the mind, bringing you into a place of deep stillness – this ‘Still Point’ or ‘Dru Point’ is the essence of Dru Yoga. This posture can be easily modified for those who have hip, knee or balance problems by placing the toes on the floor and placing the heel against the ankle. This posture is a perfect balance of flow, breath and movement. It is graceful and powerful, even in its simplicity. Practice this regularly to gain clarity of mind, perspective and concentration on the matter at hand.

Stage 1: Stand in Tadasana, the Mountain Pose. Feet hip width, parallel and facing forward. Feel strength lifting through the legs, gently contracting the abdominal muscles as you lift up through the spine, lift through the sternum and then through the crown of the head. Then taking the weight onto the left leg, strengthen the left gluteal. When ready turn the right knee out to the side.

Stage 2: Breathe in and simultaneously lift the right leg and raise the arms sideways  and reach upwards above the head. Place the foot onto the floor, knee or thigh (wherever you can reach comfortably), and join the palms together above the head (if you have high blood pressure allow the arms to lower, so the palms are level with the forehead).

Stage 3: Breathe out as you stay balanced on the left leg and draw the hands down to the level of the heart.

Stage 4: Breathe in, as in a small movement, you rotate the fingertips of the palms to turn away from you to point forward at the level of the chest.

Stage 5: Breathing out push the palms forward so the arms straighten out level with the heart (still standing on one leg).

Stage 6: Soften the shoulders, arms and wrists as the hands separate and open the arms out to the side taking a deep breath in.

Stage 7: Next out breath allow the arms to slowly come down the sides as you release the leg and place the foot on the floor.

Return to Tadasana, a place of focus and balance with the body’s weight equally on both feet. Repeat on the other side. Allow there to be a gentle flow as you transfer one side to the other.

How did you get on? Let us know by writing in the comments section below!