I took my first forrest yoga class last night and wow did it put my ego in it’s place!
The 90 minute class started on our backs with twists to each side, ab work, back-bending with long bridge holds and then we gradually made our way to low lunges, crescent lunges with knee dip variations, humble warrior, pigeon to flip dog and then we returned to our backs for twists and savasana. Not bad right?
After a long day at work, I was psyched to start my practice on my back. However, little did I know what laid ahead of me. As a lover and teacher of vinyasa yoga, I thrive off of the flowing pace of the class and the sequencing it entails—opening integration, sun salutations, main body of the sequence leading to peak pose, back-bending, cooling down poses and savasana—and Forrest yoga was very different; putting me out of my comfort zone.
The sequence ordering was flip flopped, it did not incorporate my favorite part of a yoga sequence—sun saluations—and we held each of the poses for triple the amount of time we normally would in a vinyasa class. As a runner and athlete, I love building heat and strength through moving quickly and Forrest Yoga was the opposite.
As I got further into the class, I grew more and more frustrated. I questioned my alignment, my body ached and throbbed as I did everything I could to hold each of the poses for as long as the teacher told us to and I could not focus on my breath.
This caused my ego to come raging out of me. I clenched my teeth and forced myself to hold each of the poses even though I knew that I had reached my limit. I started to get into my own head by thinking negative thoughts and putting myself down. I kept looking around the room to see what others were doing; constantly comparing myself to other people.
Then finally it happened. I surrendered! I took my big ego and went into child’s pose. I closed my eyes and started to focus on my breath. I then came to the realization of what my intention was for taking the class that night. To try something new!!
When we face new experiences it creates a challenge for us mentally. We always have expectations and those expectations fall short about 75% to 90% of the time. Therefore, we feel frustrated, angry and not good enough.
However, what we forget is how that experience is making us stronger and more prepared for the future; exposing us to new parts of ourselves.
This experience of forrest yoga is one that truly taught me about how to not only teach yoga but to do it! Breathe, starting from where you are and being present are all essential lessons I teach. Now, I can bring this lesson learned to my classes and to all of you.
Forrest yoga, I will be back! This time, I will leave the ego and my expectations behind.