Gravity surfing and relaxing the neck.

I took my first Forrest Yoga class at Thrive Yoga with Christine Peterson this morning. I could tell that the routine has different priorities than your run-of-the-mill vinyasa class. We started out with core work, then moved on to inversions with emphasis on shoulders — the rest of the class was gravy. Since this was the first Forrest Yoga class for most people, Christine had to do a lot of explaining and demoing so that we were all on the same page. Christine used a term that I had never heard before: “gravity surfing.” This refers to transitions from one pose to another, say, Downward Facing Dog pose to Crow pose. It requires muscle strength, but you’re using gravity to pull you into a pose. I don’t believe that I did any surfing this morning.

This was the only class offered at Thrive on July 4 so it drew all the people who could not miss yoga, even on a holiday. We opened up both classrooms (sliding doors) to make room for everyone. A few new faces were there, as well.

While I’ve sensed that my hips have loosened up, I now realize that this more relaxed hold may apply more broadly because I could feel that my shoulders were opening up — and also feeling more fatigued from the exertion. Christine had us soften our necks in a lot of poses, for instance, Triangle pose. Instead of looking up towards the raised arm, you allow your neck to relax and hang. As an over-striver, I instinctively lead with my head in a lot of poses. This Forrest Yoga technique will help me break that habit.