With famous yogini Ana Forrest’s upcoming trip to ele’s neighborhood—February 13, 14 and 15 at Vital Yoga in Denver, Colorado, we thought it an appropriate time to ask a student of hers to tell us why folks love Ana so. Enjoy! ~ ed. Waylon Lewis, elephantjournal.com.
“My intent in teaching Yoga is to do my part in healing 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 on the earth in a healing way, a Beauty Way.” ~ Ana Forrest. Image: Yoga Journal.
A Teacher on the Path: Ana Forrest.
The first time I heard of Ana Forrest was by watching one of her yoga demos. I had never heard of her before, and her beauty, grace, control, strength and…spirit…were just breathtaking. I was captivated, and somehow knew that I had found my yoga teacher.
It took a year before I could I could travel to study with Ana. It was at Kripalu, a gorgeous retreat center in the Berkshire mountains. I signed up for a week-long retreat with her—having never taken a single class from her or having any experience beyond the single demo video. Heart a-flutter, butterflies racing in my stomach, I settled onto my mat on that fateful first day, ready to get enlightened! Ana’s voice is like silk, smooth and resonant, yet powerful and commanding.
Within the first 30 minutes, I was stretched beyond my limits of strength and endurance. I had been practicing various types of yoga: Iyengar, Power and Bikram, for a couple years. I had completed a teacher training a year before, and was practicing and teaching daily. Yet here I was, quickly humbled, shaking through difficult poses, continuing to breathe, trying futilely to impress my new-found teacher.
By the end of the week, I had a newfound appreciation for yoga as a strength and flexibility-enhancing practice—and as a practice that helped me connect to something deeper. I was also convinced that my teacher…hated me! And I was none too fond of her either!
What do you do when you and your Teacher loathe each other? Go back for more, of course.
That was in April of 2004. Since that time, Ana and I have become fast friends. By studying with Ana, I have been able to achieve things I never thought possible five years ago. Practicing under her guidance helped me not only physically—it helped me to go beyond fear, to truly love others…and even to love myself…to breathe deeply through challenging situations.
Likewise, in these five years, I have seen Ana, my idol, continue to learn, stretch and get stronger. Her demos get harder each time she performs them (even though she is now 52). More importantly, she’s grown in compassion, kindness and understanding. I admire her willingness to continue on the path: never content to rest on what she has already accomplished, Ana constantly searches for ways to challenge herself.
Every time I settle onto my mat now to practice with my teacher, my heart is still aflutter, the butterflies still race around my stomach. But now, is it from a love for this woman who has given so much to so many people all over the world. Her voice is more resonant than ever, and when I hear it I feel a comfort to know that I am about to be led through an amazing physical and spiritual journey, to discover new truths about myself, and to achieve more than I think is possible.
Get a taste of Forrest Yoga: