The story of Dhurva Yoga begins In 2013 when I first started teaching yoga. As a novice instructor my teaching style was conventional, using standard forms and traditional props. But then the idea for a new prop to assist in stretching — a stick — came to mind; and the seed for Dhurva yoga was planted.
Of course, the idea of stretching with a stick was hardly new. It is a natural prop, used almost instinctively by athletes in “stick sports” like baseball and golf. Coaches and trainers use a stick to facilitate stretching during calisthenics because they enhance range of motion, strengthen the shoulder muscles and improve joint stability. Even physical therapists use sticks to assist in medical treatment. But, surprisingly, the yoga studio was an uncharted venue. Why, I wondered, had no one tried this before?
In my yoga classes the stick was at first used for stretching alone. But other uses were soon discovered. For example, sticks proved an excellent aid to balance, especially valuable for mastering difficult poses. The stick was integrated into classical poses with beneficial effect. And still other uses were found. After several months the stick became a constant companion for my students who were using them to augment most of the standard yoga poses and also to create new ones.
Thus, with time the stick became an indispensable tool rather than just another prop. The benefits were obvious. Students progressed faster. There were fewer injuries. Classes had better energy and focus. Ultimately, it became clear that this was no longer just stretching with a stick; the stick had become such an integral element that this was an entirely new kind of yoga.
This realization was a revelation. I hadn’t intended to invent a new form of yoga. But there was no mistake. Classes, while still still adhering to the time-proven fundamentals of conventional yoga, were now distinct from traditional forms.
The understanding that I had invented a new kind of yoga was a watershed moment. Until that point the evolution of this stick-based yoga had been natural and intuitive but somewhat random. Following this epiphany, though, I began consciously molding this new approach into a cohesive form. The process, for the first time, became decidedly self-aware. My clearest moments during this period were during self-practice. Flowing, balancing and revolutionizing the uses of the new prop, I began to unlock its full potential.
With this last, more directed step the new style matured. Novel poses were developed; pose sequencing was optimized; finally, general principles and an overarching philosophy were articulated. In a remarkably short period of time this incarnation of yoga become a fully fleshed out form. The only thing left was to choose a name. “Dhurva,” from the Sanskrit meaning “equilibrium” was the choice.
Most recently, I have taken steps to increase the exposure of Dhurva beyond its point of origin in Southern California. It was originally introduced to members of Fit, a downtown San Diego health club where its popularity grew quickly. Within months classes were being held at four Fit locations. Dhurva is now being introduced in other cities, states and even other countries. An illustrated volume of Dhurva poses has been published, with further written work on the way.
In refining Dhurva Yoga® the Yogistick® itself has also evolved. I began with any stick-like object that happened to be handy. Plastic piping was the next step; more uniform but far from perfect. Wood, a natural and more durable material proved a superior choice and is now the standard. And the Yogistick® continues to undergo transformation. I have recently designed a collapsible model for ease of transport; and a hand-crafted, aesthetically refined version is being developed so that the Yogistick® can become an extension of the yogi’s individual personality.
I want to thank all of the members and students that have been so supportive since day one! You have truly shaped this style from the beginning and are what makes it possible for Dhurva to be an exciting new choice for your yoga, fitness and health needs.
The Dhurva Lama