Dru Yoga and its history in the West
The enthusiasm with which Dru Yoga has been recieved in the West arises from its precise knowledge of the body-mind-emotion system, and its wide variety of quick and effective techniques for giving practitioners the ability to manage their well-being at every level - body, subtle energy, emotions, mind and spirit.
Dru was first taught in the West by a small group of colleages at Bangor University, North Wales, UK from the late 1970s and early 1980s. Mansukh Patel, John Jones, Rita Goswami, Annie Jones and Chris Barrington were trained in Dru Yoga by Mansukh's parents who had participated in Mahatma Gandhi’s satyagraha campaigns in India. Mansukh and family emigrated to the UK in the 1960’s from Kenya's after Mansukh's childhood in the Great Rift Valley.
When you discuss Dru yoga with Mansukh, Annie, Chris, John or Rita, they will invite you to begin your experience of Dru Yoga with the fundamental pattern of any Dru Yoga class:
I Energy Block Release Sequences
I Postures, Mudras and Sequences
I Pranayam and Meditation
The Activation phase of Dru Yoga does exactly what the name implies. A wide variety of warm-up movements activate the main physical systems of the body, as well as enlivening the body’s subtle energy system.
Energy Block Release
According to Mansukh Patel, Dru Yoga's unique Energy Block Release sequences (EBRs) release specific blockages in your physical, emotional and other subtle energies. These beautiful, flowing sequences are one of Dru Yoga's most effective contributions to the world of yoga.
Mansukh, as well as Chris Barrington, head of the International School of Dru Yoga, describe how EBRs use movements, breath, hand gestures and visualizations to release the blockages of energy which lead to 'dis-ease', stress and painful emotions.
Mansukh and Chris point out that EBRs are accessible to anybody, and easy to perform. As in all Dru Yoga practice, success lies in awareness of your movement, rather than your physical accomplishments.
Dru Postures and Sequences
According Annie Jones, who has become one of Dru Yoga’s key authors and media presenters, in Dru Yoga every posture (asana) becomes a sequence, because every individual movement is done with care and focus. Dru Yoga emphasises Mansukh’s parents’ descriptions of how every sequence has the potential to bring you closer to the a point of relaxation, poise and infinite strength that we all have within.
Annie Jones goes on to describe how once you have released blockages with an EBR (Energy Block Release sequence), your energy is free and available for you to focus and direct. Dru Yoga sequences and postures aim to help you direct your emotional, mental and physical energy so that you can handle just about any situation in life.
Mansukh Patel and Rita Goswami describe in their best-selling book The Dance Between Joy and Pain how hand gestures (mudras) can be used to emphasise a physical, mental or emotional attitude.
Mostly, mudras are hand gestures that create subtle changes within the body that affect our mental, emotional and physical states. Anyone who has given a 'thumbs up' or made the 'peace sign' with two fingers in a V knows the power of gestures. You might have met some less complimentary mudras in a traffic jam!
Mansukh describes how mudras work by using different finger positions or attitudes of the body to redirect your energy in a way that cultivates specific thought patterns or qualities of mind. There are mudras to create courage, compassion, wisdom, strength of mind, joy... the list is almost endless!
In Dru Yoga, mudras help you step out of the world of action into a world of pure being. Mansukh’s parents were keen to emphasise that most of yoga's many facets require action - movements, breath control, even visualisations require mental action. However, we are human ‘beings’, not human 'doings'. Once you assume a mudra, all movement ceases. You gain respite from the world of action and an opportunity to reconnect with the original, exhilarating state of pure being we all have within.
Have you ever been taught how to breathe?
Mansukh has included a number of powerful yet easy-to-use pranayama exercises in The Peace Formula.
Science shows that if your breathing is shallow or irregular you are more likely to suffer from stress, disease or emotional reactiveness.
Alternatively, if you breathe deeply, slowly and regularly, you are more likely to be full of vitality, centred, wise and fun to be with.
Pranayama is the ancient yogic science that teaches you how to control the life-force within your body, through controlling the breath via various breathing exercises.
According to Annie Jones, the yoga tradition links each part of the breathing cycle with important parts of the psyche and emotional responses. For instance, if you breathe primarily with your diaphragm, you are more likely to have difficulty with anger. Or if you breathe primarily with your chest or upper lung region, you could be prone to low energy or even depression.
Yet if you breathe naturally in a complete breathing cycle, emotional stability, vitality and clear thinking can be yours.
According to Annie Jones, it is an easy choice to make!
Dru Yoga's unique Pranayama energy block release movements help you expand and free the breathing process, while training you to master each part of your breathing.
From there, the practice of pranayama leads a student to an understanding and control of the subtle energies of the various layers of our body (physical, subtle, emotional, intellectual and causal). Eventually, when the more advanced techniques have been mastered, it is possible to control your internal energies - your thoughts, emotions, physical well-being and so on - by thought alone.
The attainment of a Calm Clear Mind, the foundation stage of The Peace Formula, rests upon your ability to meditate.
Mansukh Patel guides the reader into a number of Dru Meditation techniques in The Peace Formula, although these are only a small subset of many.
The culmination of a Dru Yoga class, Dru Meditation takes you quickly into a richly satisfying state of contentment and fullness in which you become aware of the immensity of the healing silence deep within your heart.
Chris Barrington has pioneered the first Dru Meditation Teacher Training courses, and describes how the success of Dru Meditation lies in its ability to give you the right tools to bring you contentment - no matter what your state of mind. Each time you sit down to meditate you are likely be in a different frame of mind.
So, if you are tired, Dru Meditation gives you techniques that energise your mind and body. If you are agitated, then you would choose a different technique designed to help you calm down. If you are stressed or scattered, still more techniques would help you relax and ground yourself.
Regardless of how you feel, Dru Meditation gives you a way to get into that deep, relaxing and rejuvenating stillness that lies at the heart of meditation.
For more information, consider:
Dru Yoga – Stillness in Motion – Chris Barrington, Anita Goswami, Annie Jones, foreword by Mansukh Patel
Dru Yoga DVD – Mansukh Patel and Coby Langford
The Peace Formula – Mansukh Patel
The Secret Power of Light – Mansukh Patel
The Dance between Joy and Pain – Mansukh Patel and Rita Goswami
Easing Backpain - Mansukh Patel and Coby Langford