Back in April I became the proud and deliriously happy mother of Alexander. Throughout my experience of pregnancy, birth and new motherhood I have repeatedly found myself asking the same question: How does anyone do this without yoga? Time and time again I have realised that without the strength, skills, body awareness, emotional techniques and connection to Spirit which Forrest Yoga has helped me develop I would be lost, or at least finding things a lot more difficult.
Most of us have a very sedentary lifestyle, and this can leave us with tight hips and hamstrings. Runners and cyclists often find that these areas are achey too. This class can help bring a bit more freedom into these muscles. Chronic stress can also be linked to tight psoas muscles, which can make the hips and low back ache. For this class you will need a strap. If you don’t have one then you can use a big towel, a skipping rope, a dressing-gown belt, or anything else long that you have to hand.
This hour-long recorded class is particularly for anyone who has a tight or aching back, though anyone will benefit from the sequence. People with back injuries should listen very, very carefully to their bodies and not do anything that hurts. Best of all, find yourself a Forrest teacher and have them guide you through your practice safely. Don’t ever stretch into pain, and always honour your edges. For this class you will need a roll or a block.
This hour-long audio class is designed to help you ease out tension in your shoulders. Most people I’ve ever met have some ache, discomfort or tweakiness here, perhaps from hunching over a screen or steering wheel, or from chronic stress, or both. I hope that by the end of this class you find yourself more comfortable and more relaxed, shoulders tingling pleasantly with all the new space and energy you’ve created there.
In this week’s classes we’ve been working with the intent of finding the support you need inside. Using two simple actions, grounding down and taking a full breath, it’s possible to tap into an internal strength which can help you through any challenges you face. This might be a yoga pose, or a delayed train, or an argument, or grief, or just the mild trauma of Sainsbury’s on a Saturday. Whatever the adversity, this simple formula can help you respond as your wiser self, and connect to your immense internal support system.
Tight neck and shoulders? Then this one’s for you! This is pretty much exactly my own practice when I don’t have much time in the morning - it works brilliantly to ease out the stiffness I wake up with. Go cautiously if you have any kind of neck injury or pain. Don’t do anything that hurts - listen carefully to the signals your body’s giving you - and stretch to just 80% of your capacity.
Every Forrest Yoga class has an intent, a theme which runs through the class. Last week in lots of the classes I taught we were working with the intent of being more like swallows. This is less crazy than it sounds. I live by the river and so recently I’ve had the great pleasure of being able to watch the beautiful seal-bellied swallows catching insects just above the surface of the water with astonishing speed and agility, changing direction in an instant and looking so effortless.
Are your hips tight, stiff, tweaky? Or do you just want to bring in some sparkling fresh energy to your lower body? Then here’s a fifteen minute practice just for you! These are all poses we’ve done in class, but if you can’t remember what one looks like then you can google it, or head to the asana photo gallery on www.forrestyoga.com. This sequence is not suitable for anyone who is pregnant.
Forrest Yoga is a modern form of yoga created by Ana Forrest, which is designed to ease the aches and ailments of modern life. Today’s average Western human being spends most of her life sitting down, hunched over a screen or a steering wheel, and most likely in a state of chronic stress which has become normal. Combine that with the average Western diet, seriously lacking in Omega-3 oils and plants, and rich in inflammation-inducing refined carbohydrates, and the result is a lot of people who feel at least a bit rubbish most of the time.