I forget exactly how I found Forrest Yoga. It was a series of events, one leading step by step to the next. I remember seeing Forrest Yoga classes on the schedule at Om Factory several years ago and reading about the intense core work and transformational nature of the practice. Several years later, a review of Fierce Medicine in Yoga Journal caught my eye, enough that I downloaded the book to the Kindle on my phone. As I started reading the book, I was amazed to resonate completely with Ana Forrest’s story. Synchronicity always lets me know I’m on the right path, so when an opportunity to do a three-day Forrest Yoga Continuing Education module at Fresh Yoga in New Haven, CT came up, I jumped at the chance. I studied with two amazing teachers and Forrest Yoga Guardians, Heidi Sormaz and Catherine Allen, as well as with a whole tribe of Forrest yogis, and that’s when I understood what this powerful system is all about.
I’m normally not one for “branded” yoga, but Forrest is different. Ana Forrest is so clearly dedicated to healing and transformation that her words, ideas, techniques, and sequences transcend brand, for they are truly, remarkably effective. In three days, my yoga practice and I were transformed. I came away loving the challenging, sweaty, introspective practice. Forrest Yoga is for people who love to be challenged, and who have a lot of “stuff” that needs to be cleared away. Trauma, pain, injury, illness, recovery from abuse or alcohol or drug dependence, you name it, Forrest Yoga has taken it on. Ana Forrest healed her own body and mind from a spinal deformation she was born with, to the abuse she suffered as a child, to the drug and alcohol addiction she developed in her adolescence in response to all she had hitherto seen, felt, and experienced. Fierce Medicine details her incredible story.
In this video interview, a glimpse into Ana’s dedicated healing spirit is presented. Although I have yet to meet this phenomenal woman in person, I am honored to have studied with several of her Forrest Yoga Guardians (Heidi, Cat, and Erica Mather), as well as several incredible Forrest Yoga teachers (Denise Hopkins & Ramona Bradley). I’ve been saving money to take the Forrest Foundations 200 hour teacher training, and hope to go to the first-ever Forrest Yoga conference Wind Horse this summer.
Everyone I have met in the Forrest Yoga community is real, human, vulnerable, yet incredibly strong, tough, funny, sweet, sensitive, and caring. The practice seems to attract intelligent, intense, introspective types with a legacy of personal challenge in life, who are wounded healers, and can, after tending to their own scars, help minister to those of others. It’s a beautiful practice in this way. Underneath the physical effort and hitting wall after wall of resistance as you’re asked to hold yet another interlock warrior pose for several minutes, sweat pouring down your face and puddling on your mat, is the sweetest release of ancient tension, wounds, thoughts, programs, blockages, and in general “stuff” that no longer serves. Forrest Yoga is tapas in action: the fire of passion burning away gunk and junk for a truly transformed vehicle, that is then more available to serve others. It’s a practice I first respected, then came to utterly love, and I hope to join the tribe of Forrest Yoga teachers in the coming years.
Please enjoy the video, linked below, an interview with Ana Forrest, reposted from Yoga Journal.