Forrest Yoga is a Hatha Yoga based style founded by Ana T. Forrest in 1982. Ana developed Forrest Yoga after many years of studies and through influence of different styles of Yoga such as Sivananda Yoga, Iyengar Yoga and Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Within Forrest Yoga she also created new Yoga poses and sequences, made to address the needs and challenges of our modern society.
Apart from Yoga, Forrest also integrates a range of other influences, such as Native American Medicine, Anatomy, Reflexology, Cranio-sacral therapies, Shiatsu, Chiropractics, African Healing, Aboriginal Medicine & Healing, and Martial Arts, among others.
A Forrest Yoga class is done in a warm i.e. heated room (85 °F, 29 °C). Typically, one would start with meditation by chanting native songs and playing drums, followed by breathing exercises (Pranayama) and then moving on to seated poses and abdominal core work.
Next, a range of Yoga postures is performed, like sun salutations, standing poses, inversions and backbends, to give some examples. Each Asana (Yoga pose) is supposed to be sustained, in a mindful way, for a prolonged time; sometimes for 10 deep breaths, sometimes for several minutes.
Forrest Yoga also gives emphasis to connecting with one’s own feelings, as such being able to work through physical and emotional trauma. Ana developed four core pillars for her practice, with the goal to heal the emotional and physical body:
The four pillars of Forrest Yoga
Breathing fresh and healing energy into the areas of the body that are in need;
Building emotional and physical strength through the intense core sequences and long holds of Yoga poses;
Addressing physical and emotional injuries, and developing tools to deal with fears and struggles;
Learning to and connect to your Spirit, as well as taking actions that strengthen that connection.
Some of the health benefits of Forrest Yoga are thought to be: increasing strength and flexibility; healing chronic pains; increasing confidence and awareness; emotional healing; supporting addiction recovery; and feeling joy and general well-being.
Forrest Yoga regularly offers many events, and an extensive career path with a range of options of teacher training and continuing education programs throughout the year and around the world.