When you hear Forrest Yoga, you may be imagining yourself practicing yoga in the forest, surrounded by trees with the crunching of leaves beneath your mat.
And while you can absolutely practice Forrest Yoga in an actual forest, this is a style of yoga all on its own.
So, what exactly is Forrest Yoga, and further, what is it all about?
The Basics of Forrest Yoga
"I created Forrest Yoga because the traditional forms of yoga did not address most of my deeper injuries; my lost Soul, the addictions—the helplessness around the addictions—and the on-going 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 being disconnected from my own Spirit."
-Ana T. Forrest, Creatrix of Forrest Yoga
One of the main differences you’ll notice in a Forrest Yoga class is CORE WORK!
Forrest Yoga abdominals are very different from the type of core work you may be used to, like sit ups, crunches, and leg lifts.
Forrest Yoga utilizes specific abdominal work created by Ana Forrest and other Forrest Yoga Guardians that WORKS all of the muscles of your core - not just the hip flexors and rectus abdominis.
It’s amazing for stabilizing your spine, and building a solid foundation to move from.
What's the Intention of Forrest Yoga?
Forrest Yoga Focuses on Healing.
In some ways, all yoga focuses on healing - but Forrest Yoga specifically focuses on healing common ailments, injuries, and pain.
The poses specific to Forrest Yoga were created with healing these common ailments and injuries in mind and works to address the types of pain that many people feel from living a modern, sedentary lifestyle.
One of the common pains addressed through Forrest Yoga is neck pain.
Rather than focusing your eyes on a specific drishti point, you’re asked to relax your neck and jaw, allowing for less neck pain.
Forrest Yoga Focuses on Intent.
Another major difference in Forrest Yoga is the focus on intent.
You may have been told to set an intention for yourself at the beginning of many yoga classes, but Forrest Yoga takes it a step further.
Each class is written with a specific intention in mind and the poses and cues chosen reflect that intention.
Ana Forrest teaches workshops around the world with the intent of “Embodying Spirit."
Throughout class, she talks you through how to embody your spirit through breath, movement, and feeling.
Forrest Yoga Focuses on Feeling.
One of the teachings of Forrest Yoga is to feel. The practice is slower than usual - typically holding each pose for 5 breaths or longer.
Ana Forrest’s healing journey involved healing from addiction and abuse.
We all numb out in one way or another - whether that’s through drugs, alcohol, caffeine, addiction to work, social media, tv, or other numbing agents. In a Forrest Yoga class, you’re given the space to feel.
When you’re no longer numbing out, you’re forced to look at and feel the emotions that your body is holding and the patterns that keep you numb.
The body is not meant to be a storage unit for pain and life experiences.
Forrest Yoga helps you to feel what your body is holding and use poses and breath to rinse these out so that you can live more freely and feel more spacious in your body.
Ana Forrest also created a standing series class, which is like a marathon.
This is quite different than a Vinyasa class where you do a series of poses on one leg, do a “Vinyasa” - or Chaturanga, Updog, & Downdog, and then repeat those poses on the other leg, then do another Vinyasa, and another series of poses and so on.
Instead, you’ll practice 10-20 poses all on one leg, then repeat that series on the other leg. This activates the slow twitch muscles fibers, rather than fast twitch fibers, which builds endurance and strength - and can be quite challenging!
Not every Forrest Yoga class is a standing series however.
What Yogis Can Learn from Forrest Yoga
Forrest Yoga is an empowering practice that gives people the tools to heal themselves. You learn to live with integrity, honor your spirit, and unlearn the patterns that keep you stuck in cycles of numbing and pain.
Some of Ana Forrest’s mottos are:
Evolve or die.
Never waste a good trigger.
No matter what happens there is healing for you if you are willing to do the work.
Bottom line question – does this brighten or dim my spirit?
Have the courage to walk the warrior’s path.
The Primary Pillars of Forrest Yoga are:
Forrest Yoga classes can be found online or in person.
In fact, there are Forrest Yoga Guardians that offer classes both online and in person — possibly near you!