Ana Forrest is an inspiration. Known to many as the First Lady of modern yoga, Ana has been changing people’s lives for over 4 decades and is an internationally-recognized pioneer in yoga and emotional healing. Ana is a Medicine Woman, the creatrix of Forrest Yoga and author of the highly-acclaimed book, Fierce Medicine. Ana created Forrest Yoga as she worked through her own life traumas—including abuse, addictions and an unhealthy relationship with food to find healing. Ana teaches from an intuitive and highly-developed understanding of the human body and psyche. Native American Medicine, Ceremony and the clinical application of many healing modalities—including homeopathic and naturopathic remedies, reflexology, craniosacral therapies, Shiatsu, chiropractics, and hands-on healing—always inform her work.
Ana received a Los Angeles Mayoral Commendation for her outstanding teaching and healing work in the community — the first time a major U.S. city bestowed such an honor on a yogi or yogini! Thousands of yoga teachers have been trained by Ana. She headlines at yoga events across the globe, contributes regularly to many yoga, health and Spirituality publications, and is a guest lecturer at educational institutions.
What do you do best?
I am a creatrix! I created a yoga system with new poses & ceremonies, to meet the needs and challenges of our people in this generation.
Teach. I’ve always been a teacher. Whenever I learn something exciting or useful, I have to teach it! My teaching started with training horses, then when I was 18, I took a yoga teacher training course. Over 40 years later, I’m best known today for creating Forrest Yoga and training students to become Forrest Yoga teachers. We (my partner Jose, my Forrest Yoga teachers and I) teach people how to become extraordinary teachers, but what we are really doing is teaching people how to live a fulfilling life that they can be proud of.
I’m really good at healing quests into the Mystery. As I learn more truth I speak from those discoveries…even if it goes against what I thought was true in the past. I learn from my mistakes.
I am brave enough to love.
What makes you the best of yourself?
This is a weird question. Comparing me with my friends & peers is awkward. We are so different! Let’s throw out the comparison aspect…
I am a fiercely compassionate teacher that advocates intensely for the student. One of the best ways for me to help people to become extraordinary humans and teachers, is to coach them to stop indulging in their bullshit. Next, re-deploy their focus on what matters most. For example, breathing deeply and feeling fully during their yoga practice. Then, take these Good Medicine tools into daily life. From there, the journey changes radically …
I teach students and teachers to work through the internal chatter that often plays out in life as a lack of confidence, or arrogance, for example. I equip my students and teachers with some fantastic tools for crafting the life they deeply desire.
Part of what my students learn, is how to recognize and honor their wins every day. As they get more skillful at being nourished by their wins, they begin to heal the neediness within. That also makes them a more whole human being.
What are your aspirations?
I have many, here are a few of my priorities:
Establish Forrest Yoga in the river of humanity, as a healing element of change and transformation for seven generations into the future.
With Jose, bring song, and dance, and Forrest Yoga into the communities and Reservations of or Indigenous People and consult with them how to bring there important teachings to the rest of the folks that have lost touch with nature and the sacred.
Teach my students (and embody) deepening our relationship to our Spirit.
Entice my students into building Good Medicine relationship with Earth, Sky and the Sacred Ones.
Use my practice to fulfill my needs ... of healing, adventure, delight and Vision Quest.
To sing good Medicine Healing into the bones.
To spread the sparkle of Good Medicine everywhere I go.
I have experienced many pivotal and monumental moments in my life… I’ve written a book about them. I wrote Fierce Medicine with the deep desire, that this book will touch people everywhere, even the ones I don’t get to meet. I want my readers to use the tools in ‘Fierce’ that Iʼve developed and discovered. THEY WORK! This book is the spiritual legacy of my life. Fierce Medicine contains the treasures that saved my life. This is one of my successes and is my gift to you.
Most Challenging Moment?
I once jumped off a cliff to end my suffering, but impossibly didn’t die! That was challenging, and a big lesson. It was an intervention by the Sacred Ones. Soon after that jump, I made a leap for life—into a yoga teacher training course. I left behind the horse world, the drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and who I had been.
My most challenging moments in life have taught me this:
• There are other options to end suffering, besides suicide.
• To open my senses beyond my conditioning.
• I can make a difference by teaching the people how to heal and quest for their own Spirit. This begins the transmuting and cleansing process of the pollution that poisons the bloodstream of humanity.
• To perceive the Beauty and Mystery all around me and in me.
• I can love, and I am loved.
We can take responsibility for our own evolution!… How cool is that? Evolve or Die.
Connect to your Spirit. Embody your Spirit. Romance your Spirit. Explore what it means to Live as your Spirit dictates.
My partner, Jose Calarco (www.descendance.com.au), my Forrest Yoga Guardians — the senior teachers of the Forrest Yoga system who will continue the Forrest Yoga legacy beyond my lifetime, my tribe of Forrest Yoga people across the globe, Sacred Ones, Wild Ones, Animal Kin…
Turquoise waters, up on mountain ridges, flying in the air. Wherever the people gather to learn.
Indigenous art, garlic and onion free vegan food, sweet grass, cedar mist spray, Bundarra yoga pants, KiraGrace yoga clothing, Harbinger weight-lifting gloves (I use them for yoga)
I’m honoured and excited in the collaboration of Ceremony between Forrest Yoga, Jose and members of Descendance. We are weaving together ancient Ceremonial songs and dances of initiation and Spiritual connection, and bringing them into Forrest Yoga.
Jose and I recently recorded a series of 3 online yoga classes for YogaUonline called ‘Ancestral Voices’. Our Yoga Ceremonies (online and in person) include a musical blessing and a juicy Forrest Yoga sequence taught by me. These sessions connect you to the Beauty and ancient traditions of the First Peoples of this planet. From there, you access a deeper understanding of yourself, a connection to your own Spirit and to the Great Mystery.
The Native Peoples around the planet have a deep wisdom and connection to Nature and to Spirit. We’ve lost this connection and we’re craving it. We need what the First People can teach us!
It is time to take responsibility for the mess that our Governments have created with the Native Peoples.
The systematic and deliberate destruction of these wise and beautiful cultures needs to be stopped. We are all deeply damaged by these actions. There has been a deliberate, malevolent destruction of Spirit and Beauty that our people have inflicted on the First Peoples for way too long. Our culture destroyed theirs. We can change this.
Through learning from each other, we build healing connections between our Peoples. I am passionate about honoring the First People and their gifts, and bringing my gifts of healing to them.
Together, we can emerge, like the phoenix, strong and renewed from the shame of this horrible mess. Now is the time for us to evolve. For more information about Forrest Yoga, working with Ana Forrest, and Forrest Yoga teachers across the globe visit forrestyoga.com