by Amber Campion

What is Dynamic Release Method™ (DRM)?

When I began teaching yoga more than a decade ago, my work was in the prison system of New York City, teaching at-risk and incarcerated youth. My first year doing this was solely as a volunteer teacher. One year later, I was hired on as a lead teacher and eventually a trainer as well. Teaching yoga to a population of students who are were not typically part of Western ‘yoga culture’ required a very different approach to teaching the practice.

Those early years of teaching were more about using simple asana in a very therapeutic way while integrating powerful dialogue about life, choice, truth, kindness, and so on. My teaching was more focused on the philosophy of Yoga (such as the Yamas and Niyamas) rather than Asana and Pranayama. However, I needed to express myself in a real world way, to meet my students where they were at, and find a language that spoke to them so they would feel a connection with me and open up. My goal was to engage folks in real conversations, asking them questions they might not have been asked before and opening them up to a possibility of a life they may have not considered before.

Teaching from this place radically shaped the way I approach the practice of yoga today. It helped me take off my ‘teacher’ mask, to get real, and to be confident at (publicly) speaking from my heart. I would say that my voice as a teacher was developed in those 6 years as a teacher ‘on the inside.’ It turns out those students were my teachers, giving me my voice and my wings. I bow to them in reverence and gratitude.

In 2009, when I began teaching weekly classes in yoga studios, I struggled with how to blend my desire to truly create the awakening I saw take place in a practice that was not just based on asana alone. One that truly moved past the stories of mind and into the heart through conscious dialogue, vulnerability, and authenticity. It was with this question that I began to create ‘my way’ of teaching. I didn’t have a name for it for many years and instead just explained to students that my style of yoga may seem a bit different to them. Over the years I have refined the way I present myself as a teacher and from that I have developed what I now call DRM: Dynamic Release Method.

When you step on to the mat in one of my DRM classes it will feel very much like a typical yoga class. However, as you begin to flow you may notice subtle differences in the way I present the practice. The main difference in a DRM class is not so much in what I am saying, but in how I am saying it. I am trained in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and I use languaging that addresses the three most influential components involved in producing human experience: neurology, language, and programming. Neuro-Linguistic Programming describes the fundamental dynamics between mind (neuro) and language (linguistic) and how their interplay affects our body and behavior (programming).

NLP is more of a coaching technique that helps people to re-wire the brain so they are not operating from their limiting and destructive patterns, habits, and beliefs. In a yoga class, I am not coaching students, however I can use subtle language patterns from NLP to help students tap into their subconscious mind. This really is the goal of yoga, to be able to release the blocks of the mind. DRM creates space for students to ‘go deeper’ right away and understand yoga as a practice for creating deep release not just in the body, but also in the mind. I find that when I consciously use hypnotic cadence and language in my classes, the effect it has on students is very powerful, much like a Yoga Nidra class. Clarity and the confidence to create the change they are seeking opens up to them with less resistance and more ease.

The Five Key Components of DRM

  1. Class sequencing is never planned out, as I teach directly to the students in front of me. This allows me to be fully present in that moment and teach to what my students are needing and experiencing that day. I can plan a theme, but am always open to completely letting that go.
  2. I check in with students at the beginning of class, giving them space to ask for what they need that day and express what is going on for them physically, mentally, and emotionally. Some powerful experiences have happened in a few of my classes due to this and have even, on occasion, prompted the class to dialogue about collective emotions stirring, such as overwhelm or self-doubt.
  3. We always do SMR (self-myofascial release) work in my classes. This powerfully assists physical release of tension that often asana alone can not get to unless you are already very evolved in using your breath and mind to create that kind of space. Asana and SMR create a potent combination that have helped many students heal from injuries that were ailing them for years.
  4. I use cadence in my voice, metaphors, and other NLP languaging to assist the experience of ‘going deeper’ beyond the mind chatter and into the heart of truth/knowing. We move dynamically in a DRM class, one might even say the practice is suited best for the intermediate to advanced practitioner. However, the movement is slow, mindful, and guided by the breath with a focus on staying in our parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation response).
  5. The main objective of this class is releasing what no longer serves us so as to create space for our truest selves (our potential) to emerge. Finding balance, both literally and figuratively, is emphasized in each class using balancing polarities of Sthira (stability/steadiness/discipline) and Sukha (mobility/ease/expression). It is recognizing the need for both that creates harmony and true balance.

Dynamic Release Method™, created by Amber Campion, is a unique hatha/vinyasa based yoga method that blends the richness of yoga, SMR (self myofascial release), and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) packed into one radiantly dynamic practice. The effects of the practice seek to revitalize the nervous system keeping dis-ease from evolving into one word: disease. It’s a balancing and grounding flow fusing both Yang (active) and Yin (passive) energies. This method is designed to build intelligence of the physical body as well as the energetic body through a practice based on the principal of balancing polarities: Sthira (Stability/Integrity) and Sukha (Mobility/Flexibility). DRM gracefully guides students to safely develop physical strength, create space for deep release in the body and mind, as well as cultivate the flow of inner power or vital life force, also known as Prana or Qi. Join Amber for a DRM class any Tuesday or Thursday at Luma at 9:00. See Class Schedule.