The benefits of yoga and yoga therapy are well documented and are part of mainstream practice for the recovery of sports injury or as part of a programme to help people with neurological conditions such as M.S., Parkinson’s Disease, Fibromyalgia and M.E.
Dru yoga is a therapeutic, heart based style of yoga that is designed to be practiced by people of all abilities and studies have shown that it is an extremely effective tool for improving core stability, spine flexibility and strength, whilst creating a heightened sense of positivity and relaxation. With its foundations firmly set in ancient yogic principles, Dru yoga combines graceful, flowing movement, directed breathing and visualisation which work on body, mind and spirit.
If you experience a neurological disease and are considering practicing yoga your concerns may be many and complex. Issues such as stamina, strength, balance and co-ordination may be accompanied by
a sense of physical and emotional vulnerability. In her ‘A Journey to Peace through Yoga’ Lynnette Dickinson writes about her experience of having MS:
‘We lose faith in our body because we can no longer trust it to do what we want it to do…’
‘There is a stigma attached to disability and disease, as if we have done something wrong to cause our illness. People feel uncomfortable and tend to keep their distance.’
Lynnette Dickinson writes how she found a Dru yoga class here in the UK. Dru yoga not only helped her through her illness, but gave her the strength to deal with emotional and relationship challenges which were having a negative impact on her health. She went on to train as a Dru yoga teacher and inspire others through her work.
To experience a neurological disease can result in feelings of depression, loneliness, anxiety, stress surrounding work, finances and relationships; low libido, poor concentration and sleep impairment – all of which can negatively impact on the individual’s experience of pain, muscle tremor and co-ordination and other symptoms which are common to their condition.
As a therapist and Dru yoga teacher I am in a unique and privileged position of helping people with neurological conditions to improve their health and sense of well-being. Often I work with the student and their family for a long period of time and develop a lasting relationship. I often teach Dru yoga in people’s homes, where they can feel more secure and comfortable. If the family members are interested, I encourage them to join in the lesson too. The student and family can enjoy the yoga stretches and guided relaxations together, often accompanied by some gentle teasing, laughter and, yes, tears at times. Yoga teaches us to accept everything – without attachment. As a yoga teacher my students teach me something new every day and I am inspired by their tenacity and inventiveness. Occasionally I get to witness a small miracle. . .
Mark (not his real name) had asked me to help him after receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. He was a popular man and had taught martial arts for many years. Now, he was almost completely house bound and suffered from bouts of depression. On one of my regular house visits I was greeted by Mark’s wife who worried about him. His symptoms had worsened and his medication had been altered. Mark felt despondent and was refusing to do anything. However, with some encouragement we began to practice a Dru energy block release, with Mark seated in a chair. The gentle flowing movements were having their intended effect, and I could see Mark’s muscles and joints becoming more relaxed. Then, to my astonishment he began to stand, take his full weight and perform the whole sequence for the next five minutes. We didn’t dare stop. Mark then went on to teach me some martial arts moves which he said were similar to the Dru. Eventually we sat down together, laughing at my inability to fend off his judo moves. Even when Mark needed to receive 24 hour care in a nursing home, our weekly yoga sessions were continued and the nursing staff noticed the difference these made.
If you are exploring the field of complementary therapies or if you have been recommended to take up yoga, why not contact us…