by guest author and Nelson Yoga teacher, Sue Cleaver
Yoga for Stress
Stress is an epidemic worldwide and Kiwis don’t escape from it either. An international survey by the Regus firm found that 60 per cent of participants were experiencing more stress-related illnesses at work, such as headaches and panic attacks.
A third said they were having difficulty sleeping because of work worries while forty-three per cent said family and friends had noticed they are stressed by work.
On top of these workplace stats are the numbers of people experiencing stress in their personal lives. Today many doctors acknowledge the link between stress and physical disease, with increasing numbers of physicians prescribing yoga to their patients.
Therapists have prescribed yoga for stress related disorders like asthma, chronic fatigue and irritable bowel, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and phobic disorders, depression and addictive behaviours.
Various research studies have also shown that yoga is a highly effective stress relief tool.
In 2011 a team of researchers working at Bangor University found that a six-week program of Dru Yoga reduced anxiety and fatigue, while increasing resilience to stress in the workplace.
And a little closer to home, in a 2006 Australian Dru Yoga survey over 86% of people who practiced yoga were better able to handle stress. More than 80% experienced less body tension while 90% of practitioners reported the yoga helped them transform their negative thinking which is a significant factor related to stress.
What is Dru Yoga?
Dru Yoga, which is growing in popularity in New Zealand, is a gentle and potent flowing form of yoga designed to take people into a stress-free space of stillness and peace.
Dru Yoga takes your awareness inwards where you can find peace. From that place of centeredness you can be stress-free no matter what is happening in life.
Dru Yoga is unique because of its Energy Block Release (EBR) sequences. These flowing movement sequences help to still your mind and remove built up stress from the body.
Dru postures and sequences then go on to loosen up tight muscles decreasing muscle tension and combating stress symptoms.
Deep breathing or pranayama promotes relaxation and oxygenates the brain for greater focus. Meditation, concentration exercises, and relaxation also play an extremely important role and are particularly good for managing stress. Importantly Dru can be done by anyone of any age or ability – it is easy to do.
Yoga for Back Pain
The New Zealand Women’s Weekly reports that back pain is the second most common cause of sick days off work (colds are first). It also says back pain costs ACC around $300 million a year and that four out of five Kiwis will suffer back pain at some stage in their life.
Once again this is a statistic we just can’t keep ignoring. Yoga however, has made its mark as an effective tool for combating back pain. Yoga strengthens the muscles along the back and enhances core stability – a great preventative for back injuries.
Dru Yoga’s EBR’s are designed to dissolve blockages in the joints and spine. Warm-up exercises are also used to free tension from the back, relieve tiredness, enhance circulation and increase body awareness.
Yoga balances the muscles in the back by stretching and strengthening both sides of the body. This balance is essential for back pain sufferers.
Osteopath and yoga teacher, Coby Langford, says, “A lot of the pain we experience is not due to the back problem itself, but due to the muscles that are compensating for it.”
She believes that creating a balance in the muscles of the back through an effective exercise program will reduce back pain.
Twisting postures like the Dru twisting cat stretch out those muscles that are locked in contraction and spasm, while strengthening movements like the cobra are then essential to build up adequate tone and strength in the appropriate postural muscles in the back.
Queensland nurse Di Fisher had chronic back pain for many years without much relief and couldn’t even sit for long periods until she started using a Dru Yoga Easing Back Pain CD.
“This program was totally different from anything I’ve ever had before. It explains what to do if you have disc problems and it wasn’t too hard for me even when I was in chronic pain. I just built up my strength gradually and now I am great so I tell many people about it.”
Research supports how good yoga is for back pain. In a controlled trial with 75 employees at Conwy County Council in North Wales, they found staff members who participated in an eight week Dru Yoga programme reported significantly less back pain than employees who did not participate.
Another Australian survey showed that over 84% Dru Yoga practitioners experienced a decrease in back pain with 44% experiencing strong improvement. Up to 90% of participants also experienced greater flexibility of the joints and spine.
Yoga to Balance Emotions
Yoga is pioneering the way in transforming emotional pain as it can shift negative emotional states into positive ones. Just think about how much better you feel once you leave a yoga class.
Dru’s unique EBR sequences are designed to transform emotional energy in the body. Gentle flowing movements are used to unlock emotional trauma without people having to relive the past. In fact Dru Yoga has even been used with refugees and aid workers as a de-traumasitation technique in war zones.
One of the key principals in Dru Yoga is that link between the body and the emotions. Leading molecular biologist Dr Candice Pert, says that chemicals in the body – messenger molecules called peptides – correspond with emotional states. So when you find ways to change the peptides, you change your emotions. One of the most effective way of doing this is though bodywork.
New Zealand Dru Yoga student Brighid Critchlow, says that Dru Yoga gives people tools so they can take charge of their emotional states.
“Dru yoga helps people to recognize the tell-tale physical indicators of emotions. Then, they learn how to choose an appropriate movement or breathing sequence to convert the energy of that painful emotion into a more positive state of being”.
For example, frustration and anger can be transformed into creativity with the rotated Triangle posture. Grief can be transformed into acceptance with the Camel posture or the Dru Four Directions sequence.
In another controlled study published in the Scandavian Journal of Work and Environment, a team of researchers working at Bangor University found that Dru Yoga reduced anxiety and fatigue, while increasing emotional well-being in the workplace.
A 2005 survey of over 400 Dru Yoga practitioners worldwide also found 90% of participants noticed that they had a greater ability to handle their emotions and were able to transform their negative thinking. About 84% experienced a positive shift in their mood and 73% were better able to deal with conflict.
Dru Yoga comes to New Zealand
A Dru Yoga Teacher Training is about to come to NZ for the first time in October. If you would like to know more about Dru Yoga course in Nelson visit the Dru Yoga New Zealand website, send us an email us or call us on 03 543 2121.
There are also six introductory days of Dru Yoga happening soon, see below for details.
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