Origin + Founder:
Forrest Yoga is a modern yoga style based on Hatha yoga that emerged in the 20th century by Ana Forrest, who derived her practice from some aspects of Sivananda Yoga, along with attention to alignment and the use of props found in Iyengar Yoga, as well as the heat and flowing sequences of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
As Forrest evolved her style, she created additional poses and sequences which she adapted to modern society. These poses consisted of wrist stretches to prevent and relieve carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as exercises focused on relieving back and neck pain. She also created abdominal exercises to tone internal organs and strengthen the lower back, and a number of poses using a folded over and rolled up yoga mat.
Ana Forrest has been teaching for nearly 40 years across the United States and the world.
“I developed Forrest Yoga as I was working through my own healing. I took poses and modified or created new ones to address today’s lifestyle physical ailments. For example, the ailments that our bodies are manifesting due to our lifestyle – lower and upper back pain, neck and shoulder issues, carpal tunnel syndrome, intestinal disorders.” -Ana Forrest
Forrest Yoga's vision and mission is "to mend the hoop of the people," an idea Ana Forrest got from Native healing.
With that said, "The healing aspect of Forrest Yoga extends to the emotional body. Students are encouraged to breathe into tight spots or places where they feel stagnant energy in order to free up emotional issues that may be stored there."
The style is founded on four principles:
Some sources cite a fifth pillar exemplified by the style's motto, "Go Deeper," into the pose (Forrest Yoga website).
In Forrest Yoga, practitioners usually hold the poses much longer than in other popular styles, primarily to receive the healing benefits of the postures. Emphasis is also placed on relaxing the neck, breathing and core strengthening.
Vital Components of Forrest Yoga:
What Makes It Unique:
According to its website, Forrest Yoga focuses on breath, strength, integrity and spirit. Its intent is to create a sense of freedom, a connection to your Spirit and the courage to walk as your Spirit dictates.
It teaches you to go deeper to find your truth and encourages you to take these gifts beyond your mat and into your life. It also encourages you to honor and celebrate the beauty of life and the power of the spirit as you deepen your relationship with your authentic self.
“We also crave and need challenge, adventure and a daily diet of delight. In my own healing quest, I recognized my loss of Spirit. Something I now see in others – this modern day sense of bereft Spirit. Through Forrest Yoga you get your physical health and strength and also a place in which to welcome your Spirit back home. And by this I do not mean a spiritual practice but rather being your authentic self.” -Ana Forrest