Even if you’re not a regular yoga practitioner, you’ve likely heard of Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga. Yin yoga, Partner, Acro, Kundalini, and Bikram yoga are also fairly well known within the yoga world. But there are two profoundly heartfelt and game-changing lesser-known yoga schools that are no less life-changing and powerful systems that will benefit you to become acquainted with and explore intensely.
Meet Aadil Palkhivala, a luminary and considered, “a teacher’s teacher.” He is devoted to the school of Purna Yoga, a constantly evolving system using the techniques a wholistic approach offers, encompassing diet, meditation, asana, breath work, Ayurveda, intention, energy work, chanting, and the pursuit of dharma, one’s duty or life purpose.
Purna Yoga is as comprehensive as it gets, and Aadil and his wife, Savitri, are the co-founders of Purna Yoga (Purna translates into ‘complete’) and the Alive and Shine Center, the home of the college of Purna Yoga, in Bellevue, Washington. Alive and Shine offers 200-hour, 500-hour, and the very advanced certificate level (2000-hour) teacher training programs licensed by the State of Washington and Yoga Alliance.
Aadil wrote, Fire of Love: for Students of Life, for Teachers of Yoga as a means to restore an understanding and connection to the declining essence of yoga and all its vastness. This is a book every yoga teacher should own. It’s an invaluable resource you’ll draw inspiration and knowledge from on the daily if you’re dedicated to being a truly great instructor.
The focus is on how to feel every aspect of our practice and every carefully chosen word will make you think and feel in subtle and large ways. Aadil began studying yoga at the age of 3, and was the youngest person ever at the mere age of 22 to receive an Advanced Yoga Teacher’s Certificate from his mentor and teacher, B.S.K Iyengar!
Aadil’s resume goes on and on, and his accomplishments are not just impressive, but informative of a life’s devotion to helping others through yoga to be the healthiest versions of themselves inside and out. He approaches each individual student with the open mind and heart of seeing them as the unique being they are with needs that are not exactly the same as the person on the mat next door.
He teaches all over the world and is sought out by some of the most dedicated and talented teachers everywhere. Purna Yoga is influenced by the work of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. The main goal is to help students move beyond asana and take yoga into every thought, action, choice, belief, and treatment of the world around us. Are your student fires stoked now? Study with Aadil and you’ll transform your life as a student and teacher irrevocably.
Ana Forrest might be a name you’ve heard, and perhaps you’ve even seen photos of her doing insanely intricate things with her supple 60-year-old body. But diving in deeper into Forrest Yoga brings any practitioner closer to their own transformative healing and important steps away from trauma and regret.
Ana sums up her ambitious intent with this quote, “In teaching Forrest Yoga, I am doing my part to mend the hoop of the people – to inspire people to clear through the stuff that hardens them and sickens their bodies so they can walk freely and lightly in a healing way. In a Beauty way.” Forrest Yoga involves a lot of core work, long holds, determined breath practice, emotional confrontation, and insistence on self-discovery.
Ana took her first class at the young age of 15, on a dare no less. She became a certified instructor at just 18 years of age. It’s interesting that both Ana and Aadil found yoga so young. They’ve had a lifetime of practice and the innumerable tools yoga offers to help them grow, heal, help, and change.
Ana is also an ordained practitioner of Native American Medicine, a Reiki Master, and has studied tirelessly the healing modalities of homeopathic and naturopathic remedies. Like Aadil, the list of her accomplishments, trainings, awards, and acknowledgments is extensive. But the most important thing to know about Ana is her power.
The massive influence she has had on every person who’s ever been in her presence is undeniable. There are thousands of licensed practitioners of Forrest Yoga. If you ever have the pleasure to study with Ana, don’t expect softness. She will get in your face and steer you towards healing by moving right through your pain and feeling everything that is true.
She’s demanding, and doesn’t encourage students to just do whatever they feel like it on that given day in practice. She asks you to take yourself on, and want more for yourself. More health, more emotion, more truth. If you’re not breathing, she’ll call you out. If you’re not working, she’ll acknowledge that too.
There is deep work in the yoga field, and if you’re not quite ready, Forrest Yoga will help you get ready.
Ana’s book, Fierce Medicine: Breakthrough Practices to Heal the Body and Ignite the Spirit has generated big reactions and high praise. The self-discipline involved in her teachings can help you get your life and fire back, and find the healing we all so desperately need.
Know about any lesser-known yoga schools? Drop them in the comments below and tell us all about them, and they could be featured on Yoga Lifestyles!