Another Type to Try: Forrest Yoga

Forrest Yoga is a style of yoga as exercise created by and named for Ana T. Forrest in 1982. It is known for “its long holding of positions, emphasis on abdominal core work, and standing series that can go on for 20 poses on each side”. Also known for its intensity, Forrest Yoga emphasizes connecting to your feelings to work through physical and emotional trauma.

Ana Forrest derived her practice from some aspects of Sivananda yoga, along with attention to alignment and use of props found in Iyengar yoga, and the heat and flowing sequences of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. As the style evolved, she created a number of additional poses and sequences adapted to modern society, such as wrist stretches to prevent and relieve carpal tunnel syndrome. She also created shoulder shrugs to relieve tension and loosen the upper back, abdominal exercises to tone internal organs and strengthen the lower back, and some poses using a folded over and rolled up yoga mat. Forrest personally practices aspects of Hatha yoga not widely taught in modern yoga as exercise.

Forrest Yoga classes are conducted in a warm room (85 °F, 29 °C) and begin with pranayama, then move through seated poses and abdominal muscle exercises before arriving at the “hot part” of the class that might involve sun salutations, standing poses, inversions, backbends, and other asanas that build-up to the more challenging “apex” poses. The poses are sustained, intensively and contemplatively, sometimes for 10 deep breaths, sometimes for several minutes.

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