I was chatting to my yoga instructor, Natalie Jones, the other day and she made an observation that, whilst most of her classes are Vinyasa, she often runs Forrest Yoga inspired classes and they seem to really appeal to men. And specifically, men who are really active and sporty. We speculated on how some of the poses are so uncomfortably satisfying and are held for so long it’s almost like having a sports massage. In fact, I speculated on a few things until Natalie suggested we just ask her mentor and Forrest Yoga Guardian, Jambo. So we did. And this is what he had to say about Forrest Yoga for Men.
The benefits of Forrest for Men? Ask Jambo.
I can’t speak for all the men in the yoga world, but I can speak for me…….
I have been a yoga practitioner for 16 years and a teacher for 12. During that time I have also ran and lifted weights. I also sit on long haul journeys and stand a lot over a massage table whilst working.
My legs and shoulders often feel tight.
My lower back sometimes feels weak.
My digestion gets poor from excess slouching.
Forrest Yoga came into my life 8 years ago and I loved it because the sequences and intents supported the needs of a modern-day man. I was no longer interested in what could be achieved silently in a cave eating stuff that I didn’t like the taste of. I didn’t want to chase the idea of enlightenment and I didn’t want to prove that I could hold practises for an age and a half anymore. After a previous 8 years of studying classical yoga systems, I was done with following a rule book that didn’t really give me yoga-powers or the attitude that I needed to live MY life happily.
Once I had decided that I was done trying to be a spiritually aesthetic, I discovered that I could make yoga work for me.
Commuting, computing, cycling and abs
Forrest Yoga has some classical poses that cater for modern day biomechanics and the modern day person (for the sake of this article, I will stick to talking about men). As a result of sitting, standing and all sorts of different physical activities, we need different warm ups and approaches to reach the more advanced yoga poses and states of mind.
Most men are not searching for enlightenment, they just want to do something intense enough that is achievable and end up with a chilled state of mind that will enable them to relax and enjoy their lives. Breathe without anxiety and with an attitude of clarity and friendliness.
Most men want a practice that isn’t going to shame the tightness they have developed from the weights they have been lifting or the miles they have smashed on the bike or pavement. They want to feel that their chosen activities that fill them with aliveness AND prepare them to have a good day, week or month, at work or with family can be complemented by something that feels really good (before or after).
Most guys are up for doing the work, just not painfully. Guys are well up for the next level of abdominals and hold poses long enough to feel lactic acid move or different areas of the desired muscles to be activated and trained. It beats the pain that comes from cold stretching tight or exhausted muscles.
The psycho-spiritual practises are also more accessible with Forrest Yoga, because our intents are designed to cater to what the modern day person needs. We do not assume that you will understand ancient texts and guide you to breathe better, because that always leads to living better. Or guide you through a sequence to feel your physical and emotional core. When this place is strong, we feel that it’s easier to stand up, speak up or just do what we want, with more courage and confidence.
Forrest for warm ups and rest days
I love using Forrest Yoga warm up poses including abdominals, chest opener on the wall and Turbodog (not to be taken lightly) to warm up before I lift any weights. I love using 90min Forrest Yoga sequences on days when I am not lifting to give me a full MOT, which then enables me to lift better, move around the world a lot happier and know what to do when I get back from a day of sitting or standing.
Holding strong poses for longer, like Warrior 2, pumps the legs with blood making them feel lighter and stronger at the same time. It is the restorative practise that keeps me interested because it keeps me at an edge that feels like a rest day of building muscle but not slack enough that I can check out. So it’s about using these longer holds of stronger poses to keep us in the present moment, which is easier way to practise being in the moment….. which is the foundation of emotional intelligence.
Jambo Truong will be headlining at Scapa Fest 2018
We love Jambo. And we love how Forrest Yoga appeals to men who wouldn’t have otherwise got into yoga. That’s why Jambo is headlining at Scapa Fest 2018 and why the whole weekend will be packed with Forrest Yoga and outdoor adventure.