Tag Archives: injury

Gravity Surfing With Ana Forrest – Video Interview

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.

Gravity Surfing With Ana Forrest.

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From the Archives: Oh, My Aching Psoas!

Here’s another archival post from my other blog Metropolitan Observer, where I blogged about yoga and other things before I started this blog. If you’ve been following my posts, you may have noticed I’m just a wee bit obsessed with the psoas, a postural muscle that is part of your core and can basically be summed up as “hip flexor.”

Where does the psoas attach? To the lesser trochanter, a knob on the inside of the femur, shown here in the circle.

Psoas attaches to the lesser trochanter.

The psoas is a long, thin muscle that starts in the posterior (on the back) mid-spine and sort of wraps around to the front (anterior) of your body where it finally attaches at the lesser trochanter on the inside of the femur bone.

The psoas is used in hip flexion and extension, but it is so much more than that. It is a highly sensitive muscle that responds to what is happening around it, having led to some writers calling it an “organ of perception” more than a muscle. The psoas plays a major role in both posture and a person’s gait, and changes in these will affect the psoas, as changes in the psoas will affect both of these in turn.

Here’s an article I posted about a year and a half ago where I first began to gain awareness about this fantastic muscle. If you’re interested in learning more, check out another post I wrote, “The Sensitive Psoas.”


Oh, my aching psoas!

The psoas muscle is not one most people think about, or even know about! But having spent the last two months in an awesome yoga teacher training, I know about muscles I didn’t even know existed! The psoas being one of them. It is a deep muscle that essentially attaches your upper body to your lower body. It starts on your last thoracic vertebrae and attaches to the following four lumbar vertebra. If what I just wrote sounds like Greek to you, the psoas attaches deep within the body, behind your rectus abdominus (the 6-pack muscle), to your middle/lower spine.

Shaped like a hammock or a sickle, it is a spirilic muscle, meaning it spirals. Paula says it is a feminine muscle. In me, today, it is a REALLY sore and stiff muscle. And when psoas is tight, lordosis, or swayback, happens, which I have right now. I’m a mess.

I have this because in kundalini class on Tuesday, one of the kriyas involved scissor kicks for four minutes. I could’ve plugged in more and used my abdominals instead of my psoas (hip flexor) to lift my legs, but when you’re in the throes of kundalini, working through a weird kriya with the intention of releasing negative energy, well psoas be damned! there are more important things to attend to!

But I’m paying for it a bit today. I’m walking funny, I get stiffer the longer I sit at my desk, and I can’t WAIT for yoga tonight to bring some much needed attention to this very stiff part of my body right now. I’ll be doing a restorative class, actually, which holds poses for much longer than in a regular yoga class. I need that extended time in poses to help release this tension. Any movement will be good, but I’ll really benefit from the parasympathetic response that the restorative practice will induce. It’ll also chill me out supremely (parasympathetic response = relaxation response) which is just great as tonight at 9:04pm, we go into New Moon in Taurus and I will appreciate being grounded and calm for my bath-and-gratitude ritual (soak in a bath of sea salt/apple cider vinegar and make a list of 10 things you are grateful for).

Taurus Moon helps us get more in touch with emotional attitudes around abundance. If you are having blockages towards prosperity (however you define that and “what” you are prosperous around), Taurus New Moon is a great time to set an intention for being receptive to abundance! I clearly have an abundance of psoas energy right now, but I am grateful, because I received this due to the determination I practiced kriyas with on Tuesday 🙂

For more info on the psoas, check out this video on MyYogaOnline.com, a cool site with good information for yogis, yoga teachers, anatomy freaks, etc.

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