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The Karma Collection
Benefiting The Bellur Trust
This Forrest Yoga class will turn your world upside down - literally. Pinnacle poses are handstand and forearm balance. The class prepares the body for these poses by opening up hips and warming the core. The class is broken up into chapters so you can do just a section or a the full class. Drawings of the poses in the class are also included.
Turn Your World Upside Down with Inversions
Miyachi begins the session in a standing position for a few reminders of basic Forrest yoga principles, including active feet and hands. From this point on, the class follows the flow of the cute, stick figure-based asana guide which is included as part of the download. Although not every single posture is pictured in this guide, it provides a nice overview of the practice, which opens in a seated position for pranayama (skull shining breath), shoulder shrugs, and a seated twist. After spending a few minutes in down dog (or turbo dog), Miyachi moves into abs work, one of the hallmarks of the Forrest Yoga style. Before moving on to the standing postures, there are some additional warm-ups in the form of dolphin pose and shoulder work in horse stance.
The standing postures are woven into a sun salutation B series. This is by no means power yoga; rather, Miyachi methodically guides you through each posture, providing repeated form and alignment reminders such as “tuck tailbone” and “pull belly in.” Cobra vinyasas are performed between each standing series; the poses include warrior 2, reverse warrior, triangle, extended warrior variation, interlock, head-to-ankle, and warrior 1. Finally, Miyachi announces that you are ready to go upside down. She prepares for handstand first by doing dog pose at the wall (also known as half-handstand); she then encourages those who can to kick up until full handstand or others to repeat the preparatory pose for up to 10 breaths. Next comes forearm balance: again, Miyachi preps first with dolphin on the wall, then practices the full posture. Miyachi concludes the 74-minute practice with a brief neck release into forward bend, bridge on the wall, and savasana.
Although my own exposure to Forrest Yoga is limited to Ana Forrest’s beginner’s DVD, I thought that Miyachi definitely did an excellent job of embodying the Forrest style in this practice. Her voice denotes a calming presence, and she has an encouraging manner, always assuring the student that it is okay for him or her not to achieve a full expression of a particular posture. However, I have to disagree with Miyachi’s rating of this class as “Beginner/Intermediate.” I consider myself to be at approximately an intermediate level, and not only did I find this practice to be fairly challenging, but also I find the Forrest style to be quite strength-intensive. As mentioned above, Miyachi is definitely responsive to individual limitations, yet she does not provide detailed instruction for getting into the inverted postures, and I think that those new to yoga would find encountering these poses in a “Beginner’s” practice to be intimidating. On the other hand, for those who are familiar with Forrest Yoga and who are practicing at an intermediate level, I believe that this class would be an worthwhile choice.