I like to begin my yoga practice slowly, beginning with some gentle movements to prepare the body for stronger work later on. I believe these first 15 minutes or so do far more than just warm up the body for exercise – they also allow us to make a mental transition from the day and its activities into the more inner world of the body and how we are feeling.

 We can start either lying down, or sitting cross legged or kneeling. It enables us to  start to think about the breath, and link the inhale and excale to the movement. As we start to relax, we might be able to locate and then release areas of tightness or tension in different parts of the body.

 Another way to begin your practice is to start standing, and over the last couple of weeks, I’ve used one of the Energy Block Release sequences drawn from the Dru style of yoga. These consist of  range of gentle flowing movements that are designed to gently move the body in various directions, for example shifting the weight across the feet, rotating the hips and then the shoulders, and bending sideways.

 If you’d like to try the Dru Energy Block Release no 1, you can follow one online demonstrated by a Dru yoga teacher in this YouTube clip.

 Dru Yoga is relatively recent branch of yoga, started by Mansukh Patel who learnt the principles from his parents, followers of Ghandi and deeply inspired by his teachings on non-violence and self-sufficiency. A key component in their teachings to Patel was the Bhagavad Gita, which Dru Yoga uses as a source book for meditation, yoga philosophy and social action, just as Gandhi had done. Patel and a group of friends at Bangor University in Wales started teaching Dru Yoga in the late 1970s, and the first UK-based teacher-training course graduated in 1988.