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

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

Online yoga studio
Online Meditation course
Online Gita Course

Advertisements

September – Vipariti Karani

Vipariti Karini – supported inversion

This powerful yet gentle yoga posture is classed as an inversion, but for those of us who think ‘up-side-down’ means head stands, wheels and peacocks; this posture is most definitely a welcome relief!

Annie Jones, one of the founders of Dru has been practicing this posture for years: “Vipariti Karani is one of my favourite postures, indeed, the whole of my personal yoga practice builds up to this point. Not only is it calming for the mind, but it seems to create space around my thoughts – giving me the perspective and time to think. It’s said to be beneficial in preventing conditions such as alzheimer’s as well as helping us to keep our minds alert and our memories sharp.

It is a calming posture which helps to lower blood pressure, and yet, if you are tired, a simple 5 minutes of this posture will see you restored and ready to face your next task. Due to the inversion, the downward pressure of gravity is taken off the organs, allowing them time to relax, it also helps gently increase the blood supply to the brain, and therefore nourishing the cells with fresh oxygen and nutrients.

Finally, my favourite benefit of this posture is that it helps to nourish and calm the area of the throat. The gentle compression of the thyroid gland stimulates the metabolism assisting in weight management and physical energy levels as well as gently activating and nourishing the vishuddhi chakra, the centre of our self expression and communication which resides at the level of the throat. In fact, Vipariti Karani is perfect for anyone like me who does a lot of communicating.”

> watch how to do this posture here

Who shouldn’t do this posture?
As a low supported inversion this posture can be done by most people. It is even said to be beneficial  for those with high blood pressure, as it has a calming effect on the body, and you can choose to have a very low inversion or higher, depending on how you feel. If you have extreme high or low blood pressure, you can get the same benefits by simply placing the legs up a wall with you back flat. Take extra caution during pregnancy, as you shouldn’t be on your back for too long, especially after 4 months, but placing the legs up the wall for a short period of time in early pregnancy can help reduce swelling and tirdness in the legs. If you have glaucoma, you are on the first 3 days of your menstrual cycle, have a neck problem or a heart condition, please don’t do this posture.

How to do this posture
1. Place a blanket on the floor, it needs to be folded so that your hips to your shoulders are on the blanket, with the head comfortably on the floor. This ensures when you are in the posture that the neck is free to move easily.

2. Place more folded blankets, a folded duvet, or cushions on top of the base blanket.

3. Sit carefully onto the pile of blankets. Reach one hand back to balance your weight as you lie down onto your back, with you hips supported by the blankets. Your head should be on the floor, and the shoulders on the base blanket.

4. Engage your core stability muscles and begin to raise the legs till they are vertical with your arms resting comfortably by your sides.

5. Relax for as long as you feel comfortable. You may need to bring the knees to the chest to give your legs a break if they get tired. To come out of the posture, place the feet on the floor and roll to one side. Pause for a minute to balance the blood pressure before you push yourself up into seated.

6. Sit quietly for a few minutes and absorb the incredible benefits of this posture.

> You can do this posture as part of Annie Jones’ Natural Weight Loss Class 1 on the Dru Yoga Online Studio
> Watch this posture here
> Posture taken from the Dru Yoga Teacher Training course
> Yoga retreats in Snowdonia

What’s your biggest carrot???

The other day I was talking with a friend and I asked her – what is your biggest carrot to get you out of bed in the morning?!?

From my experience as a yoga teacher I have come to understand just how important the first few minutes of each day are – they are essential to set the energy of the day and to hold a positive intention for what you are going to do and achieve. We all have those mornings which are a bit harder than the others – you know the ones –  when its cold… dark… raining… or you just want to stay warm and cosy… sleeeeeep zzzz zzzz zzz…

But all in all I’ve found that if I get up when I wake up rather than lounge in bed I have a much better, happier and more productive day. Having said that I don’t just leap out of bed and dive into the shower! The first 10 – 15 minutes are a perfect opportunity to come round gently and really savor the moment. Someone else I know has an automatic tea maker (whatever next!) which means she props herself up in bed and enjoys a cuppa without even getting out of bed (of course if you have a human tea maker its even better!)

So the important question is…. what do we do in those first few minutes?!?!?

In a way it goes back to your goals. What is it you want to achieve in the long run – and then split it down into manageable chunks.

1. Positive Affirmation
The first thing I personally work with are my positive affirmations. These are great to get in BEFORE the mind has a chance to get in with the self sabotage!  So things like; “I am full of health and vitality!” ” I stand in my full strength and power!” “I am so happy and grateful that _______”

2. Those who are close to me
Then I think about those who I love – “I am so happy and grateful that ______ is full of energy and has the confidence to _______.” You can make up all your own statements, however, do ensure that they are in the present tense and that they are positive and empowering – even if it’s your mother-in-law you’re thinking about… she must have some good qualities!!! You will be amazed how your relationships start to become more positive with every person you think about. This goes a long way to healing breeches inspiring forgiveness and most importantly keeps YOU inspired and uplifted too!

3. Think about your carrot!
What is it that you are motivated, passionate, excited and inspired about? THAT is your carrot. What is it that you would get out of bed for? What is it you would drop everything for and run towards? (I’m not necessarily meaning your work here!) What is it  – or even – who is it that you love most? When you think about that thing you love – you will find that because of the space you give to yourself first thing in the morning, ideas will start to come to you about how to make your carrot even bigger, better and even shinier! Creating the space and time first thing in the morning is a little like creating a vacuum for creative ideas to slip in. Therefore keep a notebook by your bed to record any fabulous flashes of inspiration as they come in!

 

Remember, the best time to do this is before you get out of bed in the morning. I find propping myself up with pillows is great – lying down to do this can be detrimental to the overall purpose of waking up with energy!!!

Anoushka Dack

Anouschka Dack

So tomorrow morning remember to wake yourself up with energy and vitality! Enjoy! Anouschka and the Dru Manchester team