Blueprints and Evolution: Wind Horse Day 3

When people ask me to explain Forrest Yoga, I will typically describe the system as a "smart practice."  Forrest Yoga is purposeful and efficient. It wastes nothing.

What has become readily apparent to me, though, is that the practice thrives because it relies on a strong foundation, or blueprint, but still manages to adjust and change. 

Our day started out with a three-hour intensive with Ana. Today's class was a unique series of backbends, and although I have practiced with Ana many times, I felt like the sequence this morning was slightly unusual. Ana, like all of us, is constantly evolving, and her approach to poses can take on small shifts, little microbends.

Although the apex pose was king pigeon, much of the practice involved backbends over the roll, along with standing backbends. We played with a slightly different approach to neck traction in our poses that really resonated with me - it involves clasping your hands around your neck as you open your heart into the backbend, and really tractioning the area where your neck and skull meet. Again, I would describe it as smart. I have long struggled in backbends - but lately, I have noticed a shift and a greater ability to drop in to the poses. Today, it simply felt comfortable - largely due to this very small, almost imperceptible difference in how we were approaching it.

It was with this new found comfort that I went into my next class of the day. Erica Mather taught an awesome session on designing a personal Forrest yoga practice.

It was like she was giving away the secret recipe.

I practice Forrest almost exclusively now, but I had never seen the actual blueprint to the practice mapped out so succinctly and completely. It was a huge "aha moment" for me.

We went through different ways to craft a home practice - whether it was a therapeutic practice working on a specific part of the body, or a more focused practice on getting into a specific challenge pose. Or maybe, a practice just to process. 

Erica put it this way: Every pose is a part of the answer - a foreshadowing.

And in putting together this practice, we were asked to think about poses that made us feel good. What a cool way to look at it. Not where you want to get, or what hurts and frustrates you - but what you love.

I walked out with a brand new practice to try at home next week. It had some comfort poses - my blueprint - and some backbends - that evolving part of me.

It felt complete. How strange that completion can have both comfort and change. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

We will gather tomorrow morning for the final practice of the conference. We are all leaving here touched by this experience in ways big and small. Forrest Yoga itself might leave here tomorrow changed in many ways.

We will still inhale and exhale. But we might breathe bigger. We will still salute the same sun. But we might bow deeper.

Setting sun at Snow Mountain Ranch
Ana frequently says "evolve or die."

But maybe, it's more about evolving while living.

We can always be in the process of becoming our best selves. Yoga just helps us get there.