Dru Yoga celebrates its 40th birthday this year.
In just four decades Dru has opened centres around the globe, including in Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, the Netherlands, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
Dru is now the 2nd largest yoga school in the UK.
What’s more, it's estimated that more than a million people world-wide have been touched by Dru's body/mind techniques during the past forty years.
In this blog cum time-line, I look back to the creation of Dru Yoga and the key steps on our remarkable journey from the Seventies to the present day, and beyond.
My own journey with Dru Yoga began back in the early 2000s when I was forced to abandon my weekly trapeze lessons (really!) due to a recurring problem caused by a dislocated shoulder in my teens.
I was taken to Wendy Faulknall’s Yoga for Your Health Dru Yoga class in Sheffield by a friend who didn’t want to go on her own.
Wendy is a beautifully warm, very experienced teacher who has now become a dear friend and mentor.
My friend went twice then moved to London and I kept going week after week. It was remarkable. This was the first time I’d properly stuck at anything.
I found myself gradually moving from the back row – where I felt I could hide – to the front row as I grew in confidence and appreciated for the changes Dru Yoga was working.
Dru Yoga was not just benefiting my body – reducing stiffness, lessening back pain and increasing flexibility – it was helping to soothe my mind, calm my emotions and reduce my stress levels.
I started to feel more in touch and more in control of myself physically and emotionally. I was hooked!
It seemed a natural progression to train to become a teacher in 2014 – encouraged and supported by Wendy - so I could share these benefits with others.
I have now been teaching for several years and love seeing Dru Yoga work its gently powerful magic on my students.
I am so grateful to the founders of this wonderful school of Yoga and to all those who have joined during the past forty years to grow and build and share this wonderful work with more and more people around the globe.
Now, dig out your flares and let’s go back to when it all began…
The birth of Dru – five inspiring young people meet (Mansukh Patel, Chris Barrington, John Jones, Rita Goswami, and later Annie Jones) and share a committment to making a difference in the world.
The first Dru Centre opens – Maristowe House in the West Midlands - Dru's history begins here with regular yoga classes and satsangs (talks about yoga philosophy.)
· Dimensions Health Store in Bangor was opens.
A 1008 mile walk for peace marks the beginning of many successful Dru seminar tours.
The first Dru Yoga Teacher Training course begins - there are so many students they had to share yoga mats!
The Life Cancer Clinic is established to give health and wellbeing techniques to people living with cancer.
Friendship Without Frontiers launches; a mammoth journey around the globe visiting 31 countries teaching Dru techniques.
The first Pathfinders course runs – a course that combined yoga philosophy with outdoor adventure.
The purchase of Snowdon Lodge in North Wales (now our international training centre, Snowdonia Mountain Lodge)
Eurowalk 2000—Peace walk and seminars in continental Europe (body/mind techniques are taught all over Europe)
The Dru team receives the Gordon Wilson Peace Award
Reconciliation/detraumatisation work begins in Auschwitz and Northern Ireland
24-hour peace vigils commences
The Dance Between Joy & Pain book is published and becomes a Dru best-seller.
Eurowalk Bosnia—first war-zone detraumatisation seminars took place for the United Nations Refugee Agency
Eurowalk UK – three parallel walks covering 3,000km of Britain, 150 seminars and 100 media appearances
Thousands of shoes collected and sent to Moldovia where children were barefoot in sub-zero conditions
Dru expands when outreach teams were sent to10 new locations world-wide
Birth of the World Peace Flame (WPF) - a symbol of humanity's hopes for peace is created at the turn of the millennium
10 tonnes of emergency aid is collected and sent to Kosovo and hand tools sent to Africa
Assisi to Rome Peace Walk - the World Peace Flame is presented to Pope John Paul II
70,000 signatures for peace are delivered to UN in New York, EU in Brussels and 10 Downing St in London
The World Peace Flame opens Parliament of World Religions in Cape Town.
Dru facilitates a World Conference on Spirituality and Peace. 1,800 delegates come together in The Hague to explore peace solutions.
The WPF – lit by Sir Christopher Lee - opens the Cinema for Peace gala in Berlin
197 countries unite and contribute stones to create a World Peace Flame pathway in The Hague
For the first time in history nearly every country in the world come together to make a joint Statement for Peace
Dru Professional Network (DPN) is created to accredit and support registered Dru Yoga Teachers
The first free medical camp opens in Gujarat, India, providing free medicines and restoring sight and health to those in need
Dru's first Meditation Teacher Training course runs in Snowdonia
Dru Dance begins, fusing the grace of Dru yoga and the energy of dance
Birth of the Dru Online Studio as Dru's yoga and meditation classes began to expand on the web
Dru Sound & Mantra course launches as the benefits of sound and mantra gain popularity in the yoga world
Dru School of Ayurveda launches and this sister science to yoga continues to grow in demand
Peace is in Your Hands educational pack for children is distributed to treach children about peace-making in schools worldwide.
Dru Research begins at Bangor University giving scientific backing to Dru Yoga in the workplace.
Dru Yoga Therapy Diploma Course begins as more and more yoga teachers want to use yoga for more in-depth and targeted therapeutic benefits.
Dru Healthy Back Programme is launched in collaboration with Bangor University
Dru today is now a worldwide phenomenon, training hundreds of teachers each year, creating an incalculable effect on the world
Dru is now the 2nd largest yoga school in the UK
Dru Techniques continue to be taught worldwide, including in Africa, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Germany, Canada, Norway, Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales
It's estimated that more than a million people around the world have been touched by Dru's body/mind techniques
Dru continues to support the World Peace Flame and its charity work. The World Peace Flame (WPF) burns in thousands of homes, schools, workplaces, hospitals and places of worship around the world. More than 20 WPF monuments burn across the globe
Hundreds of schools across five continents are using the Peace in Your Hands education pack. That's more than 80,000 children who are learning to celebrate the diversity they see around them
About 30,000 patients have received free medical care in impoverished communities in Gujarat, India in the 75 medical camps funded by the World Peace Flame Foundation. Over 2000 cataract operations have been performed and 7000 pairs of free spectacles have been distributed giving sight back to those who couldn't afford medical care.
And if you’re reading this, if you’re coming to one of my TOBY YOGA classes then THANK YOU for playing your role in the ongoing story of Dru Yoga.
Here’s to the next forty years!