A series of life-changing circumstances forced Rachael Hattersley to follow her heart.

The sudden death of her father and redundancy from the banking industry forced Rachael to pursue a pastime as a profession.

“I came to Dru Yoga probably about five or six years ago. I had a really bad back. I’d been working in financial services, in banks and building societies and used to be sat all day working a lot of hours.”

Rachael discovered Dru Yoga, developed in 1988 by a group of university students from Bangor and based on the ancient yoga tradition with elements of Tai Chi, through her local gym and has been practising it – and is now teaching it – ever since.

“When I started to do Dru Yoga, I felt a connection with it and really loved it because it felt like you could join in even if you cannot do everything.”

She says the incorporated Tai Chi elements offer greater flexibility for participants. “Some yogas are quite strong and they (the university students who developed the idea) wanted to make something that was new, fresh thinking and suited modern day life.”

Rachael found Dru Yoga helped with her back pain and it also helped her cope with her grief after losing her father, Trevor, suddenly after a heart attack.

“I lost my father five years ago and it helped me to cope with other health challenges I had at the time because it helps with energy levels. I had a lot of depression and grief and a major adjustment to change. It gives you a bit of time and space.

“The word ‘Dru’ means ‘North Star’ which is about finding a point where you can be a bit still in the busyness and have a bit of time out. You sometimes feel you want to stop the world to get off. You can be still and really just be nurtured and nurture yourself.”

The death of her father made Rachael put her own life into perspective. “I’d only spoken to him the night before,” she recalls.

“It made me think you only get one chance. He hadn’t retired yet and I thought it is no good living life when I retire. I am still young and it made me re-evaluate my entire life.”

Rachael learned hypnotherapy and reiki and spent two years doing yoga training alongside her banking career. She graduated from her yoga course in May and started running her own class.

“Within the two-year course, you can do it for personal development or to teach and I started it for personal development. When I got half way through, I thought I could teach it. I started one class which I was doing alongside my full-time job. I got made redundant in March and thought I would give it a shot and would treat it like a gift.”

Rachael saw redundancy as an opportunity for her to pursue passing on the benefits of Dru Yoga to others. She also celebrates her 40th birthday this year. “And they say life begins at 40, so I thought it is a good time.”

After launching her first ‘Aspire to be’ class in Birstall , Rachael has since set up other sessions in Wyke and Littletown, close to her Cleckheaton home.

“I do think everyone aspires to be either better or happier and I would like to think that I can help them.

“People haven’t always heard of Dru Yoga and also people have this idea when you say ‘yoga’ that you have to be able to get your legs up by your ears, but you don’t have to be flexible. The point is to help you wherever you are starting from to move forward,” explains Rachael.

Among her testimonies is the woman who was off work with chronic pain. Since attending Rachael’s class, she’s back at work and her pain has eased.

Reading from the testimonial, Rachael says the improvement was almost immediate. “She is like a new woman,” she says.

From personal experience Rachael knows it works. She has taken up belly dancing and has been on a dress-making course.

Before she was made redundant, she had contemplated doing Dru Yoga full-time. “Before it was work, work, work,” says Rachael.

“My bad back has gone and I am much happier in myself. I don’t get poorly, I am less stressed. Every which way it has changed my life and now I feel I can just trust that things will work out. I am more able to take life in my stride.”

For more information, call (01274) 878779 or 07984 923243, or e-mail rachael@ aspiretobe.net