When you’re starting your yoga journey, the number of different disciplines can be overwhelming. It can be hard to decide which discipline will be best for you. Do you choose a classic like Hatha Yoga, or go for something less traditional like Bikram Hot Yoga? Is there a practice out there that can address your needs and and the hopes you have for your yoga practice?
While each discipline is appealing for different reasons, one lesser-known practice you should consider is Forrest Yoga. Forrest Yoga is great because it engages your mind as well as your body. This practice is meant to be customized to your own experience level and previous injuries, and to be a way to incorporate your yoga breakthroughs into your daily life. So whether you’re advanced in your practice or you’re still beginning, you can modify the practice to suit your schedule and your comfort level.
Ana Forrest developed Forrest Yoga in 1982 to help her overcome her own life trauma with addiction, abuse, and illness. Using her decades of experience as a teacher, healer, and yogi Ana developed a practice that works to heal emotional pain as well as physical pain. Ana encourages her students to develop a deeper connection with their spiritual selves, and to take the lessons they learn during their practice off the yoga mat and into their lives.
Each session of Forrest Yoga is guided by the four pillars of Forrest Yoga: Breath, Integrity, Strength, and Spirit. This focus, combined with modern techniques, allows practitioners to deepen the connection between the mind, body and spirit, and provides a holistic way to heal emotional and physical pain.
The Four Pillars
Breath: Breath becomes the basis of Forrest Yoga, as students learn to focus on the connection between their breath, their mind, and their body. Through practice, students learn to breath fresh healing energy into their bodies.
Integrity: By tailoring poses for the specific physical and emotional injuries of each student and holding these poses for longer periods of time, Forrest Yoga allows for greater exploration of the mind. During the practice, students will learn to identify neurotic thought patterns, transform them into creative problem solving capabilities, and then apply these realizations to their everyday life.
Strength: Through Forrest Yoga’s holistic approach, students build emotional as well as physical strength. You’ll work through personal injuries and develop a greater mind-body connection.
Spirit: The final pillar focuses on reestablishing a connection with the spirit and strengthening that connection. As you learn to connect to your spirit and heal your own injuries, you can begin to discover ways to heal the planet while still evolving on your own journey.
By now you might be thinking, okay that’s all great and I’m interested, but what am I really getting out this? Well, because of its unique development and constant transformation, Forrest Yoga can offer you many different benefits.
Primary among these is the fact that Forrest Yoga was developed, and continues to grow, with the understanding that we’re all living in the 21st century. The poses in Forrest Yoga are specifically designed to treat modern maladies like carpal tunnel syndrome and upper back tension. And Forrest Yoga’s emphasis on the core helps you build your abs and your back, which maybe could use a little love after you’ve been stuck at a desk for 8 hours.
Beyond physical benefits, Forrest Yoga is unique in its focus on spiritual and mental health. By holding poses for longer periods of time, you’ll be able to experience sensations more acutely, becoming aware of what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it. As you continue to practice you’ll slowly detox negativity from your mental state and begin to deepen the connection between you and your spiritual self.
If this practice resonates with you and you want to begin your Forrest Yoga practice, Yoga Society is here to help you get started. Our Forrest Yoga course is led by 1 of only 12 Forrest Yoga Guardians worldwide, Finlay Wilson, and can be modified to suit every level of experience. Whether you’re still finding your practice or an established yogi looking to expand your knowledge, Discover Forrest Yoga is a great next step.