Dear Willow: What Style of Yoga Is Best For Me?
Ask Willow YOUR questions! Our resident yoga expert, Willow Ryan, is here to give you guidance on yoga, meditation, self-development, and the mind-body connection. Email your question for her to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I came across your downward dog on wall video just now. Thanks for that! I tried it for the first time last night in class. I'm a super new Forrest yogerizer. My history is about a year and a half of yoga, and in that time I have done about ten Forrest classes.
I'm not the most coordinated person and I struggle understanding what to do in postures. Do you think different kinds of yoga are suitable for different types of people? I wanted to gain strength in Forrest yoga because I feel like I'm becoming too floppy and bendy with other types, but I think Forrest is too intense for me. Do you do other types of yoga? I'm like a silly, slinky, fun ball of playful energy. I think I need to try on a new glove.
Slinky Fun Ball
Dear Slinky Fun Ball,
Forrest yoga is not for everyone. It is for people who want to adopt specific qualities into a new mode for living differently. Rarely will you ever hear of a Forrest practitioner getting injured as a result of class. Most students come to Forrest yoga because they are already injured and have given up because most instructors have no clue what to do with them.
In Forrest, we specialize in injuries of the body, mind, and heart. We are skillful in prenatal yoga, teaching women a myriad of exercises to build upper body and abdominal strength without compromising the structure needed for baby to expand in mama’s womb. We study endless hours of hands-on assisting, cueing, and anatomy as it applies to injuries. Our instructors go through rigorous training - consider it warrior's knowledge boot camp. The instructors are bona fide and more like physical therapists and developmental injury specialists.
Maybe there is a different instructor for you? Maybe building a closer bond with your current instructor will help you feel more included? Whatever you do, do what is right for you.
Like you, I'm not the most coordinated person. My past has been too wiggly or too rigid. Finding the balanced mobility is an ongoing mission. I think you too will appreciate the tuning and strengthening received from consistent attendance in classes.
I've done much growing up into adulthood as a result of Forrest yoga. It is to me like coming into ancient wisdom. The innate leader needed to guide me into becoming a woman - self-made, powerful, bold, and wise.
What does 'intense' mean to you? Some people find that they shy away from activities or even responsibilities because it requires more energy output than they may want to exude. I personally thrive with intensity. I define intensity as energy - the ability to feel the living pulse of life inside and outside. I need a lot of stimulation. My brain and my body need firm, concrete touch and sensations, otherwise I feel my own energy draining.
Forrest yoga requires you to feel a lot of yourself. It is a quick guide into areas of our life that we shy away from. One of these areas is evolving past stories of who we used to be or reflecting on setbacks that keep us from moving on in our life. This mode of experience can be however you create it. Just like with any type of yoga, there are gains and lessons. What are you learning about yourself? Is the outward expression of roaring like a lion or howling like a coyote exciting and intriguing because you haven’t been encouraged to be more vocal in living?
I don’t know. I don’t know you or the life you have walked. I don’t know your sorrows, life-changing events, or what makes you giggle and play. Singing like a coyote or roaring like a lion taught me how to be more playful and not take bizarre and new experiences too seriously. There is so much gentleness to gain in listening to our self-talk. When you make a mistake or when challenges arise, do you speak to yourself with loving words of encouragement and coaching, or do you tell yourself that you aren’t good enough because you can’t do “X” or do too much of “Y”?
I have always had an incredibly difficult time speaking words. I’m really quite a shy and quiet observer. Forrest yoga has encouraged me to step into my radical side - the side that longs to sing and speak expressions from my heart and spirited self. This way of the verbal warrior is what I most inspire in others, especially women who long to feel intense confidence and feel strong enough to say, “No more.” To stand up for yourself, to be accepted as yourself - by yourself and for yourself.
I would love to have a more personal one-on-one conversation with you about this. I am stoked you felt enough to direct your questions to me around your experience with Forrest yoga. Contact me on Facebook for more dialogue. I’m here to support you - as a guardian of soul searchers, as a guardian for the beautiful Ana Forrest and Forrest yoga, as a guardian of all who seek evolution!