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Looking for a way to connect with fellow yogis and yoginis? Well, FitSugar has created Yoga Stretch and Tell - a group dedicated to sharing your yoga stories, questions, tips, and celebrations. Need an answer to a burning yoga question? Want to share a tip that helped you open your back? Do you have a secret embarrassing yoga story to reveal? Or maybe you just held handstand without falling and need to tell the world.

Forrest Yoga

Posted By Fitness on Jan 24, 2007 at 2:30AM

There are many dialects of English spoken in the U.S. - we got "youse guys" and "y'all". Well, yoga is no different, there are many distinct styles. Ana Forrest is one of those distinct voices teaching yoga right now.

Forrest is pretty intense in a serious athlete kind of way and she wears really "loud" rock star pants with flames, reminiscent of David Lee Roth. For me that is a plus, but I am showing my age. She also has a very no nonsense approach and can be a little brusque - "I don't want you to feel pain in your joint. If your muscles are quivering, then that is great." I'd say her class was "woo woo" free - and I like that.

I was lucky enough to take a workshop at the Yoga Journal Conference from her titled Struggle Free Yoga. The 2 hour class focused primarily on how to keep tension out of the neck and low back.

She is really into tucking the pelvis under, meaning lengthening the low back by squeezing the glutes. This can be really beneficial when arching back to open the chest in just about any standing pose. You also "telescope" your ribs up and away from the pelvis making space for your low back vertebra.

Abdominal work is a big part of Forrest Yoga, and WOW was it effective. Slow ab work is excruciating and efficient. The other tips for staying struggle free in yoga are the breath and focusing on the feet. "No twitching people. I want to hear you breathe. Don't tweak out." I think that is my favorite quote from her class, by far.

Here's to no tweaking in Warrior I. Check out her teaching schedule if you are interested in taking a class from her.

Stretch It: Sleeping Shoulder Stretch

Posted By Fitness on Jan 22, 2007 at 12:15PM

People are always asking me "What's a great way to open your shoulders?" Have I got the stretch for you . . .

  • Start in a seated position on your mat with your legs extended straight out in front of you.
  • Bring one arm at a time behind your back so your fingertips are facing away from you.
  • Begin to walk your hands further away from your head, trying (if you can) to keep your arms and hands in a straight line behind your shoulders.
  • Go as far as you feel comfortable and hold for 5 or 10 breaths (or longer if you love it).
  • SLOWLY walk your hands back in - come to lie down on your back, hugging both knees into your chest and wrapping your arms around your shins to release your lower back and your shoulders.
  • Intense, isn't it? Intensely amazing, I think.