Since the creation of Forrest Yoga by Ana Forrest in 1982, it has gained a reputation of an intense style, focused on spirituality and mental well-being. You might have heard that it is specifically designed to push your mental and physical boundaries. But what exactly makes Forrest Yoga so unique from other available yoga styles?
1. It was created to cope with trauma
Forrest Yoga is specifically focused on healing and well-being, as Ana developed it to help her to work through abuse and addictions. Although she took her first yoga class when she was 14 and became a certified yoga instructor in 1975, popular styles of yoga disappointed her, not addressing her struggles with life traumas. It led her to craft Forrest Yoga, inspired by Indigenous Sacred ceremonies and wisdom of the First Peoples. She said:
“Traditional forms of yoga did not address most of my deeper injuries; my lost Soul, the addictions—the helplessness around the addictions—and the ongoing suffering. The blend of Ceremonies, the poses I’ve created, the sequencing and the infusion of Medicine I learned from the First Peoples of this planet are what healed the suffering and the anguish from having been disconnected from my Spirit. Through that sacred blend, I learned to reconnect to my Spirit.”
Ana’s vast knowledge of Native American medicine and healing modalities, such as homoeopathy, naturopathy and anatomy has made her an intuitive teacher and healer. Her mission for the last 45 years has been to help people develop effective tools to deal with their struggles by building emotional and physical strength.
2. It is focused around 4 pillars
Forrest Yoga is carefully crafted to ensure the most effective evolution. It incorporates the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of humanity, following 4 principles, so-called ‘pillars’. Firstly, it puts emphasis on Breath. It teaches how to direct the breath into affected parts of the body to release emotions and relieve pain. The second pillar, Integrity, focuses on developing self-awareness, vital for a conscious practice. Strength, the third pillar, is about connecting to the core and building emotional and physical strength. The final pillar, Spirit, emphasises actions that strengthen the connection with your Spirit. The focus on these specific aspects ensures mindful work on your physical and mental well-being, but don’t feel overwhelmed if it doesn’t sound like your thing. Your yoga instructor will explain everything, making sure your needs are met.
3. It is a healing tool to use outside of class
The positive influence of Forrest Yoga stretches far beyond the mat, carrying a transformative experience from the classes into daily life. Not only can it support healing from trauma, but it also increases the quality of life by helping to develop tools to deal with everyday struggles. Especially its focus on breathing techniques, such as learning how to breathe into specific body parts can help to relieve pain and deal with overwhelming situations, such as public speaking. Forrest Yoga is perfect for all of us who struggle with a fast-paced working environment and want to develop tools to deal with anxiety, rather than just spend a relaxing hour exercising.
4. Forrest Yoga is great for those with sedentary jobs
Forrest Yoga is known for being intense, as it requires holding positions for a longer time than in most popular yoga styles. Classes are structured to warm up the body and build to the apex, with a strong focus on abbs, and a somatic style. This emphasis on core muscles makes Forrest Yoga a great choice for anyone with a sedentary lifestyle. Its core sequences help strengthen back muscles, necessary for improving one’s posture. It also relieves pain and tension in the neck caused by spending time on a laptop and phone – and let’s be honest – most of us struggle with it. A sedentary lifestyle can be very harmful to our bodies and Forrest Yoga is a step in the right direction to reduce the risk of ill health from inactivity.
5. It is accessible to everyone
Despite its reputation for being intense and tiring, Forrest Yoga is accessible to everyone. It specifically teaches us to develop self-awareness, learn about our physical and mental conditions and then honestly work around our ‘edges’. While classes are designed to push our boundaries and help build the strength of our bodies and minds, it is highly tailorable. Forrest Yoga instructors like me offer many modifications of positions to ensure safe and effective practice. It is also great for women, as it does not require to tense pelvic floor muscles for a long time like some other yoga styles.
Give Forrest Yoga a try at one of my classes:
💪 Monday 10:45am - 11:45 am, MissFit East Bolton
💪 Tuesday 6:30pm – 7:45pm, Breathe South Shields
💪 Sunday 9:30am – 10:30 am, Zoom