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Article 1

Dru Yoga for Wellbeing and Resilience to Stress – by Jane Clapham

A ground-breaking new study demonstrates the beneficial effect of Dru Yoga in improving wellbeing and resilience to stress in the workplace. Research supervised by Bangor University found that a six week programme of Dru Yoga reduced anxiety and fatigue, while increasing emotional well-being and resilience to stress.

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Dru Yoga and Walking holiday in Snowdonia

Improving well-being and resilience to stress are key issues facing many organisations.[1-2] In the UK alone, 97% of senior human resources professionals believe stress is the biggest threat to the future health of the workforce,[3] and estimates suggest 175 million working days are lost each year in the UK due to sickness absence, half of which are stress-related.[4] Figures from the HSE suggest that stress in the workplace costs the UK over £530 million per year.[4] Experts believe these figures will increase further as a result of the recession.

Researchers conducted a randomized controlled study,[5] (the first such research done on yoga in the workplace) involving 48 employees from Bangor University. They were either placed into a Dru Yoga programme, or wait listed, as the control group. The yoga group participated in a six week program of Dru Yoga, comprising of at least one weekly 60-minute class.

Dru Yoga[6] is one of the UK’s leading forms of yoga, and was chosen for this study because it is a particularly safe, accessible and therapeutic form of yoga, which can be practised by most people. It’s both a graceful and potent yoga style, based on flowing movements, directed breathing and visualization. With its foundations set firmly in ancient yogic tradition, Dru works on body, mind and spirit-improving strength and flexibility, creating core stability, building a heightened feeling of positivity, and deeply relaxing and rejuvenating your whole being. Dru Yoga classes are available in the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands and across Europe, Australia and Canada. Short Dru Yoga retreats and yoga holidays in these countries are also very popular. Dru Yoga has been used for over 20 years in yoga classes, schools, retreats, hospitals and workplaces to relieve stress. Dru Yoga teacher training courses are also available internationally.

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Dru Yoga teacher training course in North Wales

In the programme used in this research, Dru Yoga senior tutor Padma McIntyre taught lunchtime classes of Dru Yoga to the participants in this study. Participants also received a Dru Yoga audio CD of the yoga programme, for use at home. In the yoga classes, Padma taught flowing Dru movements, which are accessible to people of all fitness levels and which have been found effective in reducing workplace stress. The programme consisted of the following:

  • 1. Activations – Every Dru Yoga class starts with a warm up to music, which brings a fun element to the class, increasing circulation through aerobic activity and warming up the muscles in preparation for the postures ahead;
  • 2. Energy Block Release (EBR) is unique to Dru, and consists of 14 specific movements which systematically stretch and releases tension from the whole body, and bring added energy and concentration. They are performed as a flowing sequence with the breath which helps to activate the relaxation response;
  • 3. The Dru flowing cat movement (marjariasana), which eases back pain;
  • 4. Sphinx – bhujangasana – to strengthen the back, reducing pain and helping correct poor sitting posture;
  • 5. Bridge – Setubandasana – was included in the programme as it is one of Dru Yoga’s key postures for easing back and hip pain. It is done in a flowing motion with the breath, making it an excellent stress-reliever;
  • 6. Deep Relaxation – Savasana – which uses the breath and visualization to aid the relaxation process and remove tension from the body and mind;

This Dru Yoga programme was chosen for its accessibility for all employees (as the majority had never done yoga before), and for its effectiveness in reducing stress. The wait-list control group received no intervention during this study. All participants were self-assessed on mood and wellbeing before and after the six week study, using two measures; the Profile of Mood States Bipolar (POMS-Bi) ref 40 and the Inventory of Positive Psychological Attitudes (IPPA)(41).

Results showed that at the end of the programme, the Dru Yoga group felt significantly less anxious, unsure, confused, tired, and depressed than the control group who did not practise Dru Yoga. In addition, the yoga group had a greater sense of life purpose and satisfaction, and was more self-confident during stress.

Researchers concluded that even a short program of Dru Yoga is effective for enhancing emotional well being and resilience to stress in the workplace, and recommended that employers should consider offering yoga classes to their employees.

This research is important, not just because it is the first ever randomised controlled study done on yoga in the workplace, but because stress is becoming a major problem for thousands of people in Europe. Stress is believed to trigger 70% of visits to doctors, and 85% of serious illnesses (UK HSE stress statistics). Employers are actively seeking proven methods to deal with stress, and yoga is a perfect solution. This study shows that even a short term programme of yoga can have beneficial effects, enhancing emotional well-being and resilience to stress. Ideally, companies could offer lunchtime yoga classes to their employees, but even a short period of yoga can have great benefits

References

  • 1. Shuttleworth A. Managing workplace stress: how training can help. Ind Commer Train. 36(2): 61-5. 2004
  • 2. Sparks K, Faragher B, Cooper CL. Well-being and occupational health in the 21st century workplace. J Occup Organ Psychol. 74 (4): 489-509. 2001.
  • 3. Fuller G. HR fears for employee health as stress grips nation. Personnel Today [Internet]. 12  September 2006 [cited 31 March 2010].

    www.personneltoday.com/articles/2006/09/12/37133/hr-fears-for-employee-health-as-work-stress-grips-nation.html

  • 4. Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Work-related stress. London: HSE. 2008.
  • 5. Hartfiel N, Havenhand J, Khalsa SB, Clarke G and Krayer A The effectiveness of yoga for the improvement of well-being and resilience to stress in the workplace. Scand J Work Environ Health 2010.

About Jane Clapham

Jane Clapham is a senior Dru Yoga teacher, who teaches yoga and meditation in the workplace, as well as on retreats and holidays worldwide. She has practised Dru Yoga for 25 years to keep her stress free most of the time! Jane may be contacted viajane@druworldwide.com  If you’d like to know more about Dru Yoga retreats, teacher training or to download a free stress management pack, please visit  www.druworldwide.com

Article 2

How to Create Resiliency through Mindfulness by Maya Shlanger, PsyD ~ 2 min read

 Often, the moments that you overcome adversity are the moments when you appreciate the gift that life offers us the most. When you are facing those less-than-enjoyable moments and dealing with great challenges, you may wonder: How hard will this hit me? How soon will I recover? And most important, how can I help myself?

Resiliency is the ability to work with adversity in such a way that one comes through it unharmed or even better for the experience. Resilience means facing life’s difficulties with courage and patience — refusing to give up. It is the quality of character that allows a person or group of people to rebound from misfortune, hardships and traumas ability to weather the storm of life.

Below are three ways to increase positive emotions and bring you into resiliency.

1. Gratitude practice.

As defined by Robert Emmons, this is “a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life.”
Although being thankful is a good start, expressing gratitude is a lot more than just saying thank you. Research now indicates people who are consistently grateful have a lot to benefit from. According to positive psychologist Sonia Lyubomirsky, gratitude boosts happiness in eight ways:

  • 1. promotes savoring the positive life experiences
  • 2. bolsters self-worth and self-esteem
  • 3. helps cope with stress and trauma
  • 4. helps us move on from loss or chronic illness
  • 5. encourages moral behavior
  • 6. builds social bonds, strengthens existing relationships and nurtures new ones
  • 7. is incompatible with negative emotions and may actually diminish or deter such feelings as anger, bitterness and greed
  • 8. helps prevent people from taking the good things in their lives for granted

You can practice gratitude by keeping a gratitude journal, expressing gratitude directly to others, and keeping your gratitude practice fresh and meaningful.

2. Meditation practice.

Be mindful and aware. Once you can perceive difficult patterns without anxiety, you can work to rewire them. No matter what experience is arising in the mind, when you remain steady in awareness, you’re not upset or retraumatized.

Meditation practice requires no tools, no money, and can be practiced virtually anywhere. You can try classes, audio guides, books, retreats, phone apps and many other tools to assist or support the practice. Ultimately, a mindful practice can seamlessly be part of your everyday life.

LKM or Loving-Kindness Meditation brings about positive attitudinal changes as it systematically develops the quality of “loving-acceptance.” This is a powerful way of healing the troubled mind to free it from its pain. This meditation can be extremely powerful in cultivating self-love and opening up the heart.

Loving-kindness is the first of a series of meditations that produce four qualities of love: friendliness (metta), compassion (karuna), appreciative joy (mudita) and equanimity (upekkha).

Below are some loving-kindness phrases to say silently or aloud. The practice starts with saying phrases of loving-kindness to yourself, although many start with a beloved person, which can be easier for some to access opening their heart. Then follow with a neutral person (somebody you know, but have no special feelings toward, e.g., a person who serves you in a shop), lastly a hostile person (someone you currently have difficulty with).

You may choose to start with three phrases, and either build to more or switch to another three phrases as you continue your practice.

May I be happy and peaceful
May I be safe and protectedMay I be healthy and strongMay I have ease of mind and heartMay I be free from sufferingMay I be kind to myselfMay I trust my goodnessMay I love and accept myself just as I amMay I live with ease and well-beingAnd be filled with loving-kindness

3. Decreasing the landmines of negativity.

We feel negative emotions more intensely. This stems from evolution: Each of us is the offspring of ancestors who took dangerous cues seriously enough to create the next generation. It is important to learn from situations such as “do not eat poisonous berries.” But if we over-experience negative situations, we are not easily able to recover from them. Working with a professional can help you break negative thinking patterns.

Only 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation alleviates stress – 2 July 2014 New research shows 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation for three consecutive days helps to alleviate psychological stress.

25 Minutes of Mindfulness for stress LINK

 

Only 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation alleviates stress – 2 July 2014
New research shows 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation for three consecutive days helps to alleviate psychological stress. Read more.
– See more at: http://www.questforlife.com.au/research

 

Mindfulness For Kids: Why We Should Be Encouraging Young People To Find Inner Peace Posted: 25/06/2014 15:24 BST Updated: 09/07/2014 13:59 BST

Mindfulness helping adults and children LINK

 

Mindfulness For Kids: Why We Should Be Encouraging Young People To Find Inner Peace
Posted: 25/06/2014 15:24 BST Updated: 09/07/2014 13:59 BST

What is stress?

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I must be one of the few people who get excited about a health form with lots of ticks. Its because I think to myself, yes…Dru yoga can really help with that and that and that!

Check out the Dru Yoga website to learn more about the current research that is available to learn about what is possible for your wellbeing.