THE BASICS: A new kind of yoga for me! Dru Yoga seems to be all about restoration and inclusiveness. Movements are slow, deliberate and therapeutic, and focus is very much on establishing a mind-body connection to enhance overall feelings of relaxation. You are encouraged to reach the stage you are able to, working with and accepting your abilities, rather than fighting your natural capabilities, trying to show off, and slipping a disc.
THE BITCHES: Carly
THE CLASS: Lucy from Lucyoga had been in touch with me on Twitter and invited me along to one of her Dru Yoga classes- explaining that I wasn’t guaranteed to work up a sweat but that it would compliment Project HB holistically. I was delighted to try a class! I had initially wanted to go to one of Lucy’s rooftop classes in Peckham, but my weekend plans dictated I wasn’t able to make it down in time before her rooftop season finished, which was a shame. However, I was there for her first class at her new destination of the Westminster Quaker Meeting House in Covent Garden.
I arrived at a heaving Covent Garden tube, and wondered how I would relax in a yoga class that was situated in a place swarming with two of the most irritating sub-species of the human race; milling theatre goers and tourists. However, in the spirit of the class I was just about to attend, I refrained from yelling profanities at anyone, and found the Quaker House under some scaffolding on St. Martin’s Lane- down an almost hidden little alleyway to the side of the building.
Silence. I was shocked. This little alleyway must be some kind of vortex. I relaxed a bit and found the front (well, side I guess) door. There was a sign up that said which classes were taking place in the meeting house that evening, and which buzzer to press to gain access. I found my buzzer and pressed.
I should stop here to point out that I arrived 20 minutes early, as all eager HBs should. And so I was effectively pressing the buzzer whilst the previous Dru Yoga class was still going on. And approximately 5 seconds after I pressed the buzzer, (which was now emitting a continuous BEEP to notify me that it was buzzing inside), I thought perhaps I should read the small note under the sign for Lucy’s class.
“Do not press the buzzer until 10 minutes before class” it said.
I panicked. OhGodNo. Oh no no no no no. Please no don’t let me be the berk who has just failed to read simple instructions and caused a load of relaxing yogis to be rudely startled out of their savasana by a buzzing sound!! I frantically started looking around the walls for a “STOP BUZZING” button. There obviously wasn’t one. My mind raced- should I just smash the whole buzzer system off the wall? Have I actually just ruined a peaceful class for a group of people?! Should I call it a day now and slope off to Five Guys?!
Luckily, after sitting sheepishly for a while outside and practicing my innocent face (while the buzzer carried on it’s obnoxious beeping) the main doors opened and I realised that perhaps, in anticipation of moronic non-sign readers like myself, Lucy might just have had the foresight to disable the buzzer sound in the yoga room. And so I didn’t face a lot of peed off people as I tentatively shuffled in, thank goodness.
BuzzerGate aside- there was a relatively large congregation of people as three different classes were due to start at similar times. The Dru class was straight to the right as we walked in, and Lucy poked her head out and invited us into the room. We entered and she was quite literally beaming- great start!
Lucy invited us to get mats and cushions from the corner of the room and to spread ourselves out around the small hall space. We then went up one by one to pay our fees and say hello; I noticed straight away that Lucy knew the name of every student who she was expecting to attend, and even if she didn’t know who they were already, she was incredibly friendly and personal in her greeting towards each of them. This included myself! She greeted me really warmly and after the hell of Covent Garden and the inner turmoil of that bloody buzzer, I was instantly at ease. I paid up and went back to my space. Within 5 minutes everyone was signed in and the class began.
The warm up was great fun- we loosened up by swinging our arms and legs around in a way that reminded me of being a child, and my inhibitions about how I must have looked, melted away. Swooping movements and big sweeps of our limbs in different directions as we let the day go, felt really freeing. I think this feeling was enhanced by the fact that Lucy’s tone encouraged you to relax and forget yourself. She was friendly, funny and was self-depreciating about her own abilities which certainly made me feel less self-conscious and instead really accepted and at ease with myself.
If one of our poses went wrong, for example, we felt relaxed enough to laugh about it- there are plenty of studios that feel more like you are locked into silent “I’m more bendy that YOU” competition, and that really isn’t a very OM-like feeling. Lucy should be commended for encouraging a feeling like this in her classes, where a lot of others don’t even try.
We worked our way through flowing yoga poses after this, each time Lucy offering different variations of similar moves to allow us to work with our abilities. One such example was the dog-to-dolphin. We were up in a normal down dog and then had the option to rock ourselves into dolphin if we felt like our bodies were capable of it…. actually as I write this I am now thinking maybe it was cat-to-dolphin…. either way it was definitely domestic-animal-to-dolphin (Hah! I know you read these posts for their accuracy!) and we had the option to decide what our bodies were capable of achieving.
The peak of the class was assisted shoulder stands, where one of the students Stuart gave us a demo whilst Lucy talked us through it. We shuffled out mats up to the walls and walked our legs upwards, until we were indeed standing on our shoulders with assistance from the wall. Again we were given options to make this harder by extending our legs, and most of the class gave it a go (I think. I was upside down to be fair).
After this final slow stretch, we were encouraged to pop socks and jumpers on for the meditation at the end of class. We settled ourselves on our mats in our extra layers, the lights went down low, and by candlelight Lucy talked us through while body relaxation, from our limbs to each individual vertebrae and then to our minds.
I have a small confession. I think I may have fallen asleep at this point. I like to think it was a deep state of relaxation bought on by Lucy’s words, but I am 85% certain I snored at least once, woke up mortified (I know you know the feeling), and then managed to listen to the rest of the relaxation session like an attentive yogi. At the end of this, lights went on (luckily, or I think we would have all bedded down for the night!) and we packed up the room ready for our evening journeys back home. I felt peaceful and serene.
I caught up with Lucy after the class to say thanks and also to chat about the differences between Dru and other forms of yoga. It was lovely to be introduced to this new type of yoga in such a welcoming way, and for the whole of September your first class in Covent Garden will be £5, so I would definitely give it a go- it feels like Dru would be a good holistically enhancement to an otherwise frantic fitness regime.
THE VERDICT: A lovely class, and definitely one to consider adding to your yoga repotoire if you haven’t already. It was different to others I have tried and I felt a nicely stretched rather than aching as I often do after other types of yoga. However, my mind was just as peaceful, if not more so that usual, and I felt a connection from my head to my toes, and my brain to my breathing. It stood the test of the schlep back through Covent Garden as well, so something was definitely right with this class!
THE EXTRAS: I would recommend wearing several thin layers for this particular class, as I found the room a bit chilly in my usual yoga uniform (yogaform?) of a pair of short leggings and a sports vest. I was sitting by the windows, and also suffer from a warped internal body thermostat meaning that I’m either wiping beads of sweat from my forehead or watching my fingers turn blue for the majority of my life- and this was likely to blame for feeling as chilly as I did. But I think that because the class varies between gentle to moderate yoga movements and then moments of stillness, you would be better in a few layers. I popped my hoodie on half way through (helpful for warmth, not helpful for mobility).