A STRONG PRACTICE FOR THE MODERN DAY STRESSES AND STRAINS OF WORKING LIFE
On Monday I was lucky to have the chance to give the practice of Forrest Yoga a go at Inspire Hot Yoga Studios in Maidenhead, Berkshire. You may remember my recent interview with the lovely Lizzy in which she spoke about teaching this style of yoga. Well being intrigued as I am about these things I asked her a little more about it and before I knew it I found myself in a very warm studio in Maidenhead giving it a go!
I do love a bit of yoga and although I'm very new to the practice it's something that I enjoy immensely when I do it. I find it very grounding as well as strengthening for the body. What interested me so much about Forrest Yoga is the fact that this newer form of the practice is very much designed to focus on healing the damage put upon us by our modern daily lives. Things like sitting at a desk all day and hunching over our computers, the strain of typing away on a keyboard for long hours, or spending too much time on our phones.
It's a very strong and far more intensely physical practice - trust me, speaking from experience here! Developed by Ana Forrest as she was working on finding tools to transform her own healing and wellbeing, there is a focus on four core values: breath, strength, integrity and spirit. The process of opening up the body, the hips, the chest - releasing tension, strain and deeply focusing on the grounding power of the breath was all very powerful. So beneficial to both the physical and mental stresses of the day. A chance to focus and open up some of those tight, tense and aching muscles. Also a fantastic way to really build up that all important core, in order to help maintain that power throughout the working day and avoid further pain and trauma to the body as your working life continues.
The class took place in the very beautiful and relaxing Inspire Hot Yoga Studios where, as the name suggests, practice is undertaken under the warmth of infrared heaters to enable you to go far deeper and more safely into the yoga postures. Practicing in heat like this is also said to encourage detoxification so there are many given benefits for hot classes of this kind.
For the Forrest Yoga class the studio was heated to 31 degrees which I was told is the coolest of the classes on the timetable there. Still felt pretty warm to me though! But I definitely did enjoy the heat once I had gotten used to it. I can certainly understand the benefits when it comes to loosening up the muscles and achieving a deeper stretch. Just make sure you take a very large towel and a lot of water to help get you through. Sweat in the eyes is a bit of a tricky distraction when you're trying to balance on your elbows with your feet half way up the mirror at a 90 degree angle!
The studio is beautiful and fully equipped with everything you need for a happy and relaxing class. Upon entering you're asked to remove your shoes immediately and are then greeted by the softest, toe pleasing carpet ever known in the reception - I could've walked around on that all evening!
The studio is large with mats all laid out and ready to go, blocks for support should you need them, a beautiful Himalayan Salt Lamp which really adds to the feeling of wellbeing and mirrors in which to watch your progress, check you are aligned well and are hitting the correct postures. There are also smart, modern changing rooms with some very useful and much needed showers available so that you can finish your practice and get yourself ready to head off for the rest of your day or evening. The timetable at the studio is focused on providing access to classes throughout the day in order to meet the needs of all of our varying and different lifestyles.
Whilst this class was challenging for me, I really enjoyed it and it's something I really want to try again. To experience a hot class was unique in itself and I really felt I had hit deeper depths of my muscles by doing so, especially the following morning when I woke up! Oh and on the subject of sleep, they said at the studio that I would sleep well after such a class and boy did I have a truly relaxing and deep nights sleep! So there's definitely something to be said for the benefits of a heated practice.
The philosophy behind Forrest Yoga is a great and much needed one in this day and age. I only hope that with continued practice I'll be able to find myself in some of the postures demonstrated by Lizzy below - and be able to hold them for more than a second! I love that this form of exercise focuses so greatly on reversing the negative effects of modern day life. It's something many of us need and I'm sure can relate well too.
Have you tried Forrest Yoga and do you feel that it's been beneficial to you? Or is this a practice that you think you'd like to try? Share your experiences below and have a wonderful Friday everyone. Do something that makes you feel fantastic and be happy!
*I was very kindly able to try this class out on a complimentary basis to see what it was all about. However if I hadn't of enjoyed the experience I wouldn't be sharing it here with you on the blog today.