As a general point our classes are potent and explore the whole person not just the physical body. There is an emphasis on awareness, and we encourage our students to explore yoga practises which suit their unique needs at that moment and to be able to learn about all aspects of their personality through yoga. We also encourage a broader outlook by offering satsangs, study groups, workshops and other events and by teaching and encouraging yogic lifestyles. We recognise that change is a process that takes place naturally as a consequence of regular practise with full awareness, rather than by forcing the mind and body beyond its limit.
Throughout our classes we explore various yoga themes, yoga philosophy, mantra, poetry and on occasion storytelling. Usually there is no music in our classes but every now and then we may theme a class to music, may bring some live music into the classes such as a harmonium, harp or bring a sound healer in to share a sound bath or may introduce recorded music in the relaxation.
Our classes have been influenced by a great variety of styles, below you will find a brief description of the ones we explore predominantly in our classes:
Druvananda Yoga – ‘To be firmly fixed in Joy'
Druvananda comes from the Sanskrit words Dhruva which means “to be firm, fixed or the still point” and Ananda which means “joy or bliss”. This style of yoga is unique to Yoga Nature Sheffield and has been developed by the Founders Jo and Ben. The style developed quite organically from combining their favourite styles of yoga – Dru, Satyananda and Mandala Yoga – together. Druvananda takes you beyond the limits of the physical body, so that you can connect with a deeper layer of your being where we reside firmly in joy regardless of the challenges of life. Typically in a class there is potent breath-focused postural and sequence work, use of a great variety of mudras, an exploration of a plethora of breathing practises, relaxation and deep meditation practises.
Dru Yoga – ‘The Still Point'
Dru comes from the Sanskrit word Dhruva, which refers to the stillness that can be experienced in Dru Yoga and Dru Meditation. In this stillness we are able to sit back from anything that may be happening around us, and see and act from a point of clarity and inner calm.
Dru Yoga has its roots in Hatha yoga and includes classical asanas (yoga postures), pranayama (breath work), mudras (gestures), positive affirmations, empowering visualisations and powerful, flowing, dynamic sequences. A lot of people liken Dru Yoga to Tai Chi or Qi Gong.
Dru Yoga is famous for its unique sequences known as Energy Block Releases and unusual “yoga flows” such as the Earth & Water Sequences and more. There are also more dynamic sequences such as Sun & Moon Salutations and Dru Yoga Dance.
Satyananda and/or Mandala Yoga
These are forms of yoga and meditation incorporating ancient and traditional practices as well as information gleaned from modern medical-physiotherapy. Satyananda and Mandala Yoga uses practises in a traditional way, asanas (postures) to balance the body and mind through the physical body, pranayama (breathing practices), mudras (gestures) and bandhas (seals) to work on the energy body, Yoga Nidra (psychic or yogic sleep) and meditation to calm and focus the mind.
For deeper practise students may wish to also explore the Shatkarmas (the six purification methods) Kriya and Kundalini Yoga. These later practices need to be explored with a highly qualified teacher either in an ashram or 1 to 1 or small group setting. Both Jo and Ben have experience in these areas but for a deeper experience we would recommend you make a visit to Mandala Ashram.
Mandala Yoga is a sub-branch of Satyananda yoga, as taught at Mandala Ashram.
The word Hatha literally means “force” but a more esoteric meaning is “sun and moon”. This is the original postural yoga, and all other posture based yogas stem from it. Typically, this style is slow moving and meditative with not much sequence work. You will hold the postures for long periods of time, breathing into them and observing, with non-judgement, the workings of your mind.
Before Hatha, came the various schools of classical Tantric yoga. Contrary to popular misconceptions, classical Tantra has very little to do with sex! Rather, it is in Tantra where energy body work really came to the fore. Concepts such as kundalini and chakras arose within the context of Tantric yoga and mantras were a very important part of the tradition. Both Satyananda and Dru yoga are highly influenced by Tantra and we explore many practises and concepts in classes that are Tantric in origin.
On occasion we introduce and explore some aspects of Yin Yoga. Yin Yoga targets the connective tissue of the body such as the bones, ligaments and joints. In Yin Yoga we tend to hold a posture from 1 or 2 minutes up to 5 minutes. We allow time, the weight of the body, gravity and the breath to open up the deep connective tissue.
Our classes typically contain the following:
Settling – this is a short 5-10 minute seated practise at the start to help us to “arrive” into our practise.
Preparation – we do a variety of preparatory yoga based exercises to help us limber up the body, mind & energy complex in preparation for the variety of yoga practises that follow.
Asana practices – we explore the asanas (postures) individually and we can hold them for between 2 to 5 minutes.
Dynamic Dru or Hatha Flow sequences – we link the postures into a variety of sequences and create “yoga flows”.
Mudra – these can be body gestures, hand gestures or internal gestures of the mind.
Mantra – the repetition of sacred sound, usually at the beginning and end of the class but can also be used in postures and sequences.
Pranayama – an exploration of a great variety of breathing exercise. These are usually explored throughout the session.
Dharana and Dhyana – concentration and meditation practises. Explored throughout the classes and can be expressed through postural work, sequence work, breathing work or more concentrated at the end of the class where we sit for 5 to 15 minutes in meditation or mindfulness practises. The more focused meditation practises can include: Ajapa Japa (meditation upon breath with mantra), Antar Mouna (inner silence meditation), Chakra Shuddhi (chakra purification), Tratak (gazing meditation at a candle flame, flower or other object), Nada Yoga (yoga of sound, including singing, chanting, OM chanting).
Deep, restorative relaxation or Yoga Nidra – please note that Relaxation and Yoga Nidra are two completely different sciences, both of them however are explored lying down. Deep, restorative relaxation involves a body scan, visualisation and/or listening to gentle inspiring words, music or poetry. Yoga Nidra (psychic or yogic sleep) on the other hand, has several components (some of which are the ones described in the relaxation) to it and is done in a very specific way. It’s rare that we have time for a full Yoga Nidra in classes but sometimes we get a chance to explore it.