Happy Christmas Eve! Here is the last window in this Forrest Yoga advent calendar. Hope you’ve enjoyed it! We’re going to end the way we began, with this great 10 minute practice from Finlay Wilson. Huge, huge thanks to Finlay, Greg Jamiel, Lisa Day, Willow Ryan and Jambo Truong for posting fab Forrest Yoga videos on YouTube! If you haven’t already, you should check out their other online classes, or go to a class with them next time you’re in their part of the world!
Happy 23rd! Christmas, like any tradition, is entirely tangled up with ideas of what it ‘should’ be: there is such pressure, for example, for it to be a perfect family time, to give the right gifts, to cook spectacular food. But in most cases there will be some immovable thing which is at odds with these ‘shoulds’, like tension or loss within the family or a tight budget. In any situation, it’s the distance between what ‘is’ and what ‘should be’ that causes distress and suffering.
If you’re someone who celebrates Christmas then the likelihood is that you’ve got a lot on your plate today, so my gift to you today is a quick, simple practice. For me, yoga is all about the gorgeous simplicity of tracking sensation. Your intent today is simply that: Feel! Do each pose for five to eight breaths (or five to eight breaths on each side, if it’s asymmetrical). Do five to eight rounds of abs.
Today we return to Sun Salutations in honour of the solstice, the longest night of the year! Happy Solstice, lovely beings! Do each pose for five to eight breaths (or five to eight breaths on each side, if it’s asymmetrical). Do five to eight rounds of abs. Never stretch into pain. Take care of your body. If you’re pregnant then skip the abs exercise and don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right.
Got that Friday feeling? Your intent today is to breathe and move in a way which conjures joy! Do each pose for five to eight breaths (or five to eight breaths on each side, if it’s asymmetrical). Do five to eight rounds of abs. Never stretch into pain. Take care of your body. If you’re pregnant then skip the abs exercise and don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right. Take three deep breaths, focussing on the sensation of breathing.
Here’s the 19th mini sequence for you! Yesterday you had Dolphin, and today you get optional uplevels! Trying out harder poses can feel risky, so they are an excellent playground for learning to trust yourself, your strength and your intuition, and working out how to tell the difference between the voice of fear and the voice of spirit. As Ana Forrest says, “Risk being great!”. Do each pose for five to eight breaths (or five to eight breaths on each side, if it’s asymmetrical).
The human animal has an amazing capacity to reduce the amount of energy we expend by doing a lot of things on auto-pilot. If we had to fully concentrate on how to move our legs with every step, it would take a very long time to get into town and we’d have used up a lot of calories in doing so - not very practical. So, brilliantly, once we’ve learned how to do something we can free up our brain for other things.
Happy 17th! Today’s intent is to overcome stuckness. I first encountered the idea of stuckness in ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ by Robert M. Pirsig, and I found it very useful concept. For example, a while back I really wanted to be doing yoga every day, but day after day I didn’t manage to, though I didn’t really understand why. I realised after a while that I needed to identify exactly what I was getting stuck on, and it turned out to be two very simple things in combination: the first was that I had in my mind that I should wear ‘yoga clothes’ to do yoga, and the second was that I was living in a cold boat.
Welcome to the 16th mini sequence! One of my favourite things about doing Forrest Yoga is feeling strong. I am 5’2”, and before I started doing this form of yoga I had never felt powerful in my body. But I have found Forrest Yoga is a great way not only to build strength fast but also to break free from your limiting beliefs and self-mutilating mental monologues, and to stop cowering inside your comfort zone.
Whenever I do Wrist Stretches I am still surprised at how much tension I’ve been unconsciously holding in my wrists, hands and fingers, and how great it feels to stretch it out. I hope you, too, find a way of using these stretches to discover delicious sensations. Happy 15th December! Do each pose for five to eight breaths (or five to eight breaths on each side, if it’s asymmetrical). Do five to eight rounds of abs.