So, it’s official - no one in Singapore seems to know diddly squat about Forrest Yoga.
The top three responses I’ve gotten from well-meaning folks after mentioning that I do Forrest Yoga are, in no particular order:
1. Is it doing yoga in a forest?
2. Does it involve trees or branches instead of blocks and straps?
3. It’s like environmentally friendly right? Hugging trees and whatnot?
Nope, nope and nope. Forrest Yoga has absolutely nothing to do with trees! Glad we got that out of the way.
Moving right along… so what is it exactly? Forrest Yoga is a lovely practice developed by the incredible Ana Forrest (hence the confusing name) thirty years ago in a land far, far away (the United States). Using her lifetime of experience in traditional Hatha yoga, Ana modernised each pose to suit our 21st century lives.
I’m not passing judgement on traditional yoga... however, it was developed for and by men, thousands of years ago.
There’s been quite a bit of human advancement since then, and so Ana changed up the practice. No sanskrit names (who disagrees that "scissors" pose is easier to picture and pronounce than eka pada kundinasana?) some poses were altered, some discarded, and our focus became on how the pose made us feel rather than trying to achieve some standard of perfection that was actually hurting our bodies.
That aside, here are the top five reasons that I practice Forrest Yoga:
1. It feels amazing: Do you remember your first kiss? That feeling of champagne bubbles up your spine? When you closed your eyes you saw fireworks. Your entire being melted into it... And it was absolute bliss.
What if I told you that you could get these feelings from a yoga class??? The euphoria of youth, the wisdom of years, the strength of the dedicated. But most importantly, the PLEASURE of just being you. Just feeling your body. No matter what shape it’s in - feeling your breath flow through your body fluidly is an amazing adventure. THIS IS FORREST YOGA.
2. Have I mentioned Forrest Yoga abs?: At the beginning (and sometimes end) of every Forrest Yoga class, we practice Forrest Yoga abs, an intense core workout that wakes up your abdominals and warms up your entire body from there. Women in particular store so much tension in our core - we hate our bellies, constantly trying to suck it in or smooth it out. Forrest Yoga abs teaches us to relax this area while also building strength, which (along with proper nutrition) leads to the highly coveted six pack of abs.
3. It’s better than sex. This is going to be controversial, but I stand by it. Forrest Yoga is better than sex because you don’t need anyone else to do it (yes, you can have sex with yourself but that’s a completely different story, and I will maintain that Forrest Yoga is WAY better than that as well). It feels AMAZING and it’s all just for you. No worrying about pleasing anyone else, how you look, or what the other person is thinking. Your focus is 100% inwards so the pleasure is all yours.
4. It’s better than drugs. During my advanced teacher training, my partner came out of a challenging pose with stars in her eyes and exclaimed “WOW, this is better than drugs!!!” And, she was right! All you need is to step on your mat and you have access to the most powerful chemicals your brain can offer, which are miles more effective than those manufactured by humans. See answer to question number 1 for clarification.
5. It will help you become a better yogi. Physically, Forrest Yoga classes are sequenced brilliantly, allowing you to go further into poses that you never thought possible. Our Guardians are amazing anatomists, and place tremendous focus on prep poses leading to the coveted apex pose, so that your body is fully warmed up and open enough to actually get your head behind your foot. I’ve been practicing for five years, and never came close to achieving such heights until joining a Forrest Yoga class.
We spend our lives hunched over computers and smart phones, carrying heavy baggage- be it grocery or emotional. We have a choice - to just keep going, or to let it go. Even if you're still unsure of what it is, I urge you to give Forrest Yoga a try. Leave your baggage at the door (or foot of the tree) and who knows, maybe it’ll feel a bit lighter afterwards.
Sign up for a complimentary yoga class with Katheryn and give Forrest yoga a try- just email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or check the schedule at http://tangramwellness.com/yoga. Have you found a life-changing mind-body practice? If so, tell us about it! Do you have questions about Forrest yoga? Leave your thoughts in the comments section. As always, thanks for reading!