If you’re a regular at my classes you’ll be familiar with our ‘activations’: we start every class with some uplifting, upbeat music and we move to it, energetically, with lots of flowing movement and shaking all the stress out. Dru is pretty unique in this regard: not many schools of yoga do this. So why do we?
The concept of energy and that we are energetic beings is an underpinning principle of Dru Yoga. Dru Yoga classes are designed specifically to affect participants at all levels of their being as our energy permeates all layers. Let’s look at the energetic principles of Dru Yoga as this will lay the foundation for how and why activations work and the importance of them at the start of a class.
Energy becomes blocked in the spine and in all the joints of the body. From the joints the blockage can go deeper into the muscles and eventually into the internal organs. Dru’s energy block release sequences deal with this in depth but that is a topic for another day! Any gentle flowing movements can help release energy.
By locking our joints we are blocking energy flow so therefore you are encouraged to slightly flex your joints during a Dru class. By doing this you begin to build strength in the muscles that support the joints. The most common is locking knee joints so learning to unlock these is really beneficial on so many levels. Unlocking joints allows energy to flow assisting you to be fluid and flowing instead of rigid and stuck.
Our spine is the backbone of our whole being on every level, a dynamic pillar of living information that supports our koshas, or layers of being, from physical through to bliss. All movements in Dru originate from the spine. Stiffness in the spine is the main cause of energy blocks and therefore we encourage as much segmental spinal movement as we can.
Every posture and movement comes from somewhere and goes somewhere. Consider every posture as a sequence and notice how empowering your practice becomes.
We aim to activate all the bodily systems during an activation as this enhances circulation and increases our awareness of the physical body. Many people starting their yoga journey are quite disconnected from their bodies with little or no body awareness. Activation prepares the body for better yoga movement with increased blood flow and helps prevent injury as it brings awareness to any points of tension or vulnerabilities.
By activating we also access our vital life force, or prana, which often lies dormant from too much sitting, making us feel tired and lethargic. Activations reawaken life force energy and wake you up! Activating also brings in more prana that stimulates the energy pathways known as nadis, increasing the flow of fresh prana into specifically connected organs and systems within us. This movement work also starts to stretch into the fascia, the connective tissue found all over our body beneath the skin. Fascia surrounds all our organs and muscles and becomes sticky from being still for too long, restricting movement and energy flow.
In summary, activations:
- Are a great warm up to prepare the body for the yoga movements to follow,
- Connect us back into our bodies if we have become a little disconnected,
- Assist with proprioception, the awareness of our body moving through the space around us. This helps in many ways, balance being one of them, and
- Are fun and easy to do! Everyone can do activations and they can be great ice-breakers to bring the class together and establish a sense of belonging to the group.
I hope that is helpful and if you have any questions or comments please leave them below, or share your own experience with activations.
See you in class or somewhere soon.