Forget Bikram! Forrest is the new yoga trend
Do you know your downward dog from your half lotus? Me neither! I’m a complete novice when it comes to yoga. Sure I often ogle with envy @absanas on Instagram and even bought her ebook to practice at home (which I attempted twice…okay once) but when it comes down to it, I’m as stiff as a board.
So when I first booked myself into a class at Sansa Yoga Studios, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Held upstairs in the attic of Indys hair salon, the room is a cosy nook with wooden beams and floors and much to my glee (and to save me from public embarrassment) there were only four other students in the class.
My teacher was Carlton, a friendly, soft-spoken guy with a physique of a seasoned Olympic gymnast, seriously (!!) Classes here are taught using the ‘Forrest’ technique, named after its founder, Ana Forrest who created her own form of yoga. Forrest yoga takes place in a gently heated room and follows a sequence of poses and core work combined with deep breathing and holding poses for longer to sweat out toxins and heal any ailments.
Carlton has been practicing yoga for almost 10 years. He started with Bikram and took up Forrest in 2012 and has been teaching since 2015, so you know you’re in good hands.
We started off by doing some breathing exercises while Carlton told us to focus and breathe into ‘any areas of pain or tightness’. We began by lying down in ‘Savasana’ – also known as corpse pose. His voice and words lulled me into a false sense of security as he told us to ‘bring aliveness, using breath, into every cell of our bodies, igniting a passion for living and living in the moment’. I pictured myself skipping along a sandy beach, sun on my face and feeling ‘alive’ but I was bought back to reality with a thud! Before I knew it, I was telescoping and expanding my ribs and ‘wrapping’ my shoulders. We moved onto some wrist and arm stretches before continuing with some gentle upper body stretches. I stretched as far as I could and as my body warmed up, Carlton helped move my body further while I took a few extra breaths.
The core work-outs were a struggle for me and as I lay on my back with my hands behind my head, my poor legs quivered in the air and a little sweat trickled off my forehead. My fellow class mates slipped gracefully into their dolphins and seamlessly worked through their sun salutations, meanwhile my uncoordinated self gasped for air, panted and shook but Carlton quietly reassured me that there was no pressure to keep up and eventually I found my rhythm.
As the class wound down, I melted into some relaxing poses and felt a complete lack of tension in my upper body including my tight shoulders. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment and even though it looked like I’d been through the wars, my body felt like new.
After class, we all congregated in the room next door where Carlton shared round some delicious homemade protein balls (made by one of the students) and herbal tea. I loved the intimate nature of the class and it was obvious some had been coming, or at least practising yoga for a few years, but I was quickly welcomed into the fold.
Carlton runs classes throughout the week and Saturday morning, so if you fancy experiencing something new in a relaxed environment or you just want to know what Forrest it all about, this is the place to try it.
Classes are priced at £10.50.
Sansa Yoga, Indy Hairdressing . 1-3 Guildhall Lane. Leicester. LE1 5FQ.