Forrest Yoga is a slow-paced vinyasa practice. It features pranayama, core work, and long poses held in a heated room.
This form of yoga will increase your strength and stamina. It can release tension and stress while improving breathing. If you’re looking to reconnect with your body and build a personal healing practice, try this.
What Is Forrest Yoga?
Forrest Yoga was created by yoga teacher Ana Forrest. She is a Native American Medicine Woman who took a spiritual vow “to mend the rainbow hoop of the people.”
Forrest Yoga is a powerful style of hatha yoga.
It is incredibly healing. It has combined a rich tapestry of yoga practices. And it heals its practitioners by addressing their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
It is accessible to all levels and is made for modern-day people. With a gently heated room, Forrest Yoga uses intelligent sequencing, core work, and longer hold poses. This allows the body to generate more heat. The body can also move in an easeful and pain-free way.
Classes typically begin with deep breathing and setting an intention. This helps to quiet and focus the mind on a single objective.
Breath and intent are carried throughout the practice. This builds awareness and strengthens the connection between the mind and body.
Forrest Yoga builds flexibility, intelligence, and strength.
But more importantly, it deepens your relationship with your authentic self.
Four Pillars of Forrest Yoga
This form of yoga does not require strength or flexibility. It only asks for your willingness. It will teach you how to feel authentically and respond honestly.
Forrest Yoga is founded on four pillars. These include Breath, Strength, Integrity, and Spirit.
Breath allows us to connect to the feeling of our bodies. It ignites a passion for living inside of us. Forrest Yoga asks you to breathe deeply in every pose. This will help you ease tension and flow more gracefully.
You will develop strength through intense core sequences and long hold poses. These will help your body generate heat.
It will also heighten all of your senses.
Connecting to your core can help ease your back pain. It will improve your posture and build overall strength.
Intelligent sequencing and longer holds will help you progress.
By going deeper into poses, you will feel more confident than ever.
Forrest Yoga works with the edges of your practice. This means you will develop honest mind-body communication. You will push yourself but never too far. You will work around any physical and emotional injuries.
There are always ways to safely modify each pose. This will help you develop the tools to deal with fear and struggle. Building strength, you will also work on your self-respect and empowerment.
Many things set Forrest Yoga apart from other forms of yoga. One is the way you cultivate a sense of freedom.
You will connect with your inner soul.
You will have the courage to walk as your Spirit dictates. You will explore your breath, intent, and curiosity. And you will be willing to feel and be in the present.
This deep connection reminds us of our unique soul. There is no one else like you.
What To Expect From Forrest Yoga
Training in Forrest Yoga is structured as a long healing ceremony. Classes begin early each morning. It will start with a meditation by chanting native songs and playing drums. The meditation will call upon your spirit. It will ask you to use breath, mindfulness, and yoga to access it.
Forrest Yoga includes specific postures meant to address common ailments. These include low back pain, neck and shoulder pain, and weakness due to injury. Classes use creative sequencing and generally take on a theme.
Most often, sessions will build toward a variety of peak poses.
No two teachers or classes are ever alike. In this way, it is important to find a teacher that works for you.
Every week, teachers and students are allowed to try something new. Forrest yoga class styles can range in intensity. Some are slow-moving, others are Hatha style. Some focus on standing poses while others engage in deep hip-opening practices. Some might include long flowing sun salutations and inversions. Others will focus on twists and backbends.
But each Forrest Yoga class will include pranayama and meditation.
Some teachers choose to include chakras, standing and balancing poses, and arm balances. Others will choose inversions, twists, and backbends.
Forrest Yoga will also rely on a variety of props. There may be wall postures and partner poses for hands-on assistance.
But the four main aspects that make Forrest Yoga highly unique are listed below:
#1. Spirit, Native American, and Aboriginal Ceremony
#2. Healing and Medicine
Benefits of Forrest Yoga
#1. Increased Strength and Flexibility
Poses are held longer and often repeated. Over time, they will gradually deepen. This will help develop your stamina as well as your flexibility.
#2. Healing Chronic Pain
Forrest Yoga is incredibly healing. You will learn how to listen to your body and adapt your practice. There are always safe modifications to be made if you have an injury.
#3. Increased Confidence
Since Forrest Yoga works gradually over time, you will develop sustainable confidence. You might feel more comfortable doing inversions and arm balances. Each class will challenge you to try something new.
#4. Awareness and Strength in Pranayama
Ujjayi breath is specifically taught in every class. It is integrated into every move. Other pranayamas are used as well. This will help you connect deeper inside of your soul.
#5. Newfound Joy
Some Forrest Yoga classes can be very intense. But you will learn how to love that intensity. Getting deep into your muscles will get you out of your head. And you will find greater joy being in the moment.
Your body is a gift. It has a variety of tools. Through these practices, you will learn to appreciate your body for what it is. And you will appreciate the uniqueness of those around you.
#7. Call Your Spirit
Forrest Yoga is also incredibly spiritual. It will ask you to call upon your innate essence. This will connect you to parts of yourself that are overlooked. By recognizing your spirit, you will feel more love for yourself. You will learn from your body. And you will reclaim past trauma and hurt.
#8. Deep Emotional Healing
Forrest Yoga is not just physical. It is deeply emotional. This will allow you the opportunity to release what no longer serves you. Through each practice, you will heal your heart more and more. You will find a release in places you might not expect.
8 Basic Moves of Forrest Yoga
These eight basic moves make Forrest Yoga different from other yoga styles. They are incorporated into every pose. They form a foundation for a strong practice.
#1. Ujjayi Breath
This is a breathing technique that allows you to calm the mind. Ujjayi focuses you on your breath. It helps to override any distracting thoughts.
And it will ease you into a meditative state.
As you inhale and exhale, keep your mouth closed. Constrict the back of your throat. Your breathing will make a rushing noise, almost like snoring. This is a controlled breath through the diaphragm.
Keep your inhalations and exhalations equal in duration.
Ujjayi can be calming and balancing.
It can also improve your concentration and release tension throughout the body. By regulating the heating and cooling of the body, Ujjayi warms the core from the inside out.
#2. Expanding Ribs
Each inhale is directed down into the belly and the back of the ribs. You will feel your ribs expand sideways towards your arms.
This simple movement engages the diaphragm.
It allows for a deeper, fuller breath. It will release tension in the neck and shoulders. When we are stressed or anxious, we use our neck muscles to breathe. Expanding the ribs will take our breath further down. This will help us connect to the lower parts of our body as well.
#3. Active Hands
Forrest Yoga relies on active hands. This means that you spread your hand bones wide apart.
Extend through your fingers as fully as possible.
By doing so, you will activate the lines of energy throughout your arms. You will also stretch between your fingers and feel refreshed in every pose.
#4. Active Feet
Active feet will create a steady foundation throughout your practice. Press through the heels and balls of your feet. Then lift your toes and arches. This will provide stability for your knees and ankles. It will also instigate the muscles in your legs.
Overall, active feet will support the upper body.
#5. Telescoping Ribs
This sounds complicated, but it’s very simple. Place your hands on the lower part of your rib cage. Inhale to lift your ribcage away from your belly. Your ribs will lift up and away from your hips. This will lengthen and decompress the spine.
Telescoping your ribs will also engage your abdominal muscles.
This will build strength in your back and improve your posture.
#6. Tucking Tailbone
You may have heard this in other yoga classes. A better way to describe it is to lengthen your tailbone. By lengthening it downward, you will relieve pressure off of your lower back.
This will allow the low back to decompress and ease any stiffness.
#7. Relaxing Neck
In every pose, the head and neck should be relaxed. There should be no tension in your body starting from the very top. This will relieve any compression in the neck, shoulders, and jaw.
#8. Wrapping Shoulders
Start by drawing your shoulder blades down your back. Then draw them around the side of the rib cage towards your armpit. Do this whenever your arms are overhead.
This will help to engage the larger and more stable muscles of the core.
It will increase your stability of movement while using less effort. Additionally, this will put less strain on your neck and shoulders as well.
By doing this, you will remain more present in your practice.
Forrest Yoga is a healing system of yoga. It brings healing and balance to the body through every class. Designed to address modern-day ailments, it can relieve lower back pain and tension in the neck and core. Forrest Yoga can also ease anxiety, over-stimulation, and a sense of disconnection.
This form of yoga is emotionally, physically, and spiritually healing.
This the very core of Forrest Yoga. It focuses on the breath and has lasting and deep changes to your physiology and psychology.
Conscious control of your breath will allow you to shift your nervous system on demand. This will give you greater control in times when you feel stressed or anxious. Your practice will also develop interoception. This is the ability to receive and react to stimuli coming from within.
Breathing consciously and deeply builds this link. And core work is to strengthen this connection.
Getting into your core gets you out of your head. Postural remediation happens at the core as well. This will improve digestion and restore a positive sense of body identity. Forrest Yoga may also give you an exhilarating feeling of happiness.
This specific system of yoga is continually changing.
This is to meet the needs of different people. But it also teaches its students to embrace change. By introducing new information, Forrest Yoga keeps things fresh. It asks its practitioners to be adaptable. There are not many things that we can rely on in this life.
But the one constant thing is change.
Practicing adaptability on the mat helps us to apply this virtue off the mat. Forrest Yoga will help you remain calm in the face of change. And the system itself will remain relevant to your changing needs.
Embrace change and try Forrest Yoga.
Connect deep within your soul and challenge yourself to go beyond your limit.
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Meditation coach Emma Morrison is the go-to person for those living in Salt Lake City, Utah, who need to release stress and tension or simply dive deeper into their meditation practice. In her writing, you’ll receive useful information on how to live a more fulfilling life.