WHAT IS FORREST YOGA?
Designed by Ana Forrest, Forrest yoga is a healing, powerful style of Hatha yoga designed to address modern-day issues - both physical ailments such as low-back pain, neck and shoulder tension and over-worked wrists - as well as emotional strains such as stress, anxiety and a sense of disconnection from self and others.
Accessible to all levels, Forrest yoga uses a gently heated room, intelligent sequencing, core work, and longer pose holds to generate heat in the body allowing it move in an easeful, pain-free way.
Classes begin with deep breathing and setting an intent to quiet and focus the mind. That breath and intent are carried throughout the practice, building awareness and strengthening the connection between the mind and body.
It is an inspiring yoga practice that builds flexibility, intelligence and strength while helping deepen the relationship with your authentic self.
THE FOUR PILLARS OF FORREST YOGA
Forrest Yoga does not require strength or flexibility; only a willingness to learn how to feel authentically and respond honestly. The practice is founded on four pillars - Breath, Strength, Integrity and Spirit.
By breathing deeply in every pose, you'll learn how to ease tension, get present and connect to your body.
Abdominal work connects you to your core, easing back pain, improving posture and building strength. Intelligent sequencing and longer holds help you progress in the poses and go deeper.
Learning to practice honestly at your edges and safely modify each pose for your body, particularly when working with injuries, builds strength as well as self-respect and empowerment.
Through breath, intent, curiosity and willingness to be feel and be present, you'll find a deepening connection to your own unique Spirit.
FORREST YOGA BASIC MOVES
Part of what makes Forrest yoga different from other styles of yoga are these basic moves. They're used in every pose and form the foundation of a strong practice.
In every pose, the head and neck are relaxed to ease tension and compression in the neck, shoulders and jaw.
WRAP THE SHOULDERS
Draw shoulder blades down your back and around the side of the rib cage toward your arm pit whenever the arms are overhead (even in Downward Facing Dog). Doing so engages the larger, more stable muscles of the core to move your arm, increasing the stability of the movement with less effort and strain in the neck and shoulders.
Ujjayi is an audible breath through the nose. On both the inhale and exhale, there is a slight constriction of the muscles in the back of the throat, as if you were trying to fog up a mirror or whisper to a friend across the room. The sound is similar to that of ocean waves (though I've also described this as Darth Vader breathing). This is a conscious breath, used as a tool to focus the mind, deepen the breath and stay present. The vibration of Ujjayi breathing stimulates the relaxation response of the nervous system while at the same time heating the body, preparing it for movement.
ACTIVE HANDS & FEET
Spread the hands and toes to activate the lines of energy through your arms and legs. In standing poses, press down through the balls and heels of the feet while lifting up through the toes and arches. This provides stability for the knees and ankles and turns on the muscles in the legs, supporting the upper body.
TUCK THE TAILBONE
A better word might be "lengthen". By drawing the tailbone down, the low back lengthens and decompresses, improving posture and easing stiffness.
TELESCOPE THE RIBS
Ribs are lifted up, away from the hips, to lengthen and decompress the spine while engaging the abdominal muscles to build strength and improve posture.
EXPAND THE RIBS
Each inhale is directed down into the belly and the back of the ribs. Feel your your ribs expand sideways towards your arms. This simple movement engages the diaphragm, allowing a deeper, fuller breath and releasing tension in the neck and shoulders (as the muscles of the neck are often used to breath when we're stressed or anxious).
IS THE ROOM HEATED?
Yes. In Forrest yoga classes, the room is heated to 80-85 degrees. This allows the muscles to move with more ease and range of motion with less chance of strain while additionally generating a cleansing sweat.
DOES FORREST YOGA INVOLVE TREES? A FOREST?
Nope, though you certainly could take your Forrest yoga practice outdoors. Forrest yoga is named after Ana Forrest who developed this unique style of Hatha yoga over her 40+ year teaching career to address the issues of modern lives and bodies. Scroll up to read more about what makes Forrest yoga unique.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR/BRING TO CLASS?
Wear clothes that you are comfortable moving in and which allow for a full range of movement. Fitted tops and pants offer the benefit of staying put in any pose (even through inversions). If you prefer looser clothing, consider a form-fitting layer underneath to prevent unintended exposure.
Yoga is typically done barefoot to provide to provide traction on the mat and to work the muscles of the feet and ankles. If you prefer to wear socks, several brands, including ToeSox, offer options with added grip on the soles to prevent sliding.
Bring a yoga mat if you have one (if not, most studios offer mats to rent for $1-2). For your comfort, I recommend addititonally bringing a water bottle and a small towel.
IS IT TRUE THAT I NEED TO DO YOGA ON AN EMPTY STOMACH?
Though everyone's level of comfort working out after eating will differ, it is better to practice yoga on an empty stomach. Ideally, wait three to four hours after a large meal, one to two hours after a light snack.
HAVE A QUESTION NOT ANSWERED ABOVE? SEND ME AN E-MAIL