Ana, this year marks 40 years of you teaching & evolving Forrest Yoga. What are your most memorable ‘yoga moments’….
One of the exciting moments was starting to teach people the things that were breakthroughs for me: Designing my own ethics — becoming accountable to my own Spirit… then teaching that! Another is using Forrest Yoga Ceremonies to do the impossible on a regular basis. That’s so fun! Creating changes that were believed unchangeable in myself and others, like healing my own epilepsy (which I was told was un-healable) was incredible. My yoga demos are deeply significant ‘yoga moments’. They are the dance with my Spirit. They are my call to inspiration and hope… because if the sad, suicidal, alcoholic cripple can come so far, anything is possible! The yoga demos are literally demonstrating how I connect to Spirit.
Why did you create Forrest Yoga?
I’ve practiced and studied many styles of yoga all over the world, but some of what I was taught didn’t feel good in my body. The traditional forms of yoga didn’t address most of my deeper injuries; my lost Spirit, the addictions—the helplessness around the addictions—and the on-going pain and suffering. I started to experiment and feel for what worked. I’ve created intelligent sequencing and many new poses that address the needs of our people today. I teach students to ‘ride the Wind Horse’ — connecting to breath, plus a healing intent as they practice. Through my research and work with thousands of people, I documented what Ceremonies consistently worked for healing the suffering and the anguish from being disconnected with our own Spirit. I don’t have time for separate regimes for all of my different physical and Spiritual needs…So, I’ve woven them all into Forrest Yoga!
There’s been a Forrest Yoga explosion in Europe over the past few years, why is that?
Our people in the UK and the rest of Europe are hungry for something that is real, raw, primal and authentic. Forrest Yoga taps them into where they are real and raw and primal and authentic. That is so exhilarating! The other reason that we’re growing is the unrelenting work of our Forrest Yoga team of teachers. For example, my two Forrest Yoga Guardians Sandra Robinson and Jambo Truong who teach across Europe and beyond, and experienced teachers like Charlie Speller in the West of England and France, Kristi Johnson in London, Rosalind Southward in Peterborough, Sita Menon in Berlin… We have many wonderful Forrest Yoga teachers on this part of the planet. I come in and do Beautiful breakthrough yoga Ceremony workshops and my team of teachers provide the nourishment and support day-to-day. Thank you Forrest Yoga teachers for doing your part in Mending the Hoop of the People!
You often mention that your Spirit Pledge is to ‘Mend the Hoop of the People’. Tell us a little about that…
The Lakota Medicine Man Black Elk lived through the shattering of the spine of his people. Describing the desperate spiritual bereftness he saw around him, he said, “The Rainbow Hoop of the People has been broken.” The Rainbow Hoop refers to people living harmoniously just as the colours of the rainbow lie side by side. The People he speaks of include the other inhabitants of the earth, including the animals. I created Forrest Yoga to do my part in Mending the Hoop of the People. This is my life’s calling, my Spirit Pledge. My Forrest Yoga team and I are giving our people tools — and the skills to use them — to change any craziness and anguish in their life. By walking this Good Medicine road we learn to respect ourselves and others. We are gleaning wisdom from our experiences and that brings healing. We are becoming the wisdom-keepers our people so desperately need. As we heal, we get more generous of heart. I encourage each of you to quest for finding out what is your part in Mending the Hoop of the People. Join us in making a difference.
We’re excited to hear that you’ll be in the UK in July 2016 to teach your infamous, 27-day 200h (Yoga Alliance Professionals accredited) Foundation Teacher Training. We’re sure people reading this will be inspired to study with you. How do you describe the experience? What will people learn?
The Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training (FYFTT) is the most in-depth Ceremony that I do. I highly recommend the FYFTT to anyone who wants to learn good life skills and yearns to be a great teacher. It is rich beyond words. I weave First People Medicine, hands on healing, my experience of therapy and bodywork and various meditations with my creations in yoga. If you’re intrigued about Forrest Yoga, dive in and take the training! You will gain tools to design a magnificent life. This experience changes everything. And from that new and authentic place, blooms a passion to teach something of worth and meaning. I’ve designed my teacher trainings to help students to find and connect to their Spirit. I encourage my teacher trainees and you, the reader, to make your
relationship with your Spirit the most passionate love affair of your life.