If a tree (pose) falls during Forrest yoga…

OK bad yoga pun, sorry. I stepped out of my yoga comfort zone this weekend, and attended a workshop with Ana Forrest here in London. I’ve been hearing about her for years, mostly that she is very challenging, and that I should be very, very afraid. After a month of pretty intense practice at Jivamukti, it was as good a time as any to face this challenge. I was as ready as I’d ever be.

A word on yoga groupies, which Ana seems to inspire: it’s an interesting phenomenon. A book could be written about it. I am only going to scratch the psychological surface here by saying it makes me wonder what motivates certain people to ‘follow’ (sometimes around the world!) one particular teacher with an almost ferocious devotion. Personally, I think it’s all good, so I am a self-declared yoga mutt. Obviously I have my preferences (and after a weekend of Forrest yoga + a day of rest yesterday, I felt like I was returning home when I went to Jivamukti this morning). If it works for you, that’s great; but just like with religion, don’t assume the rest of the world needs to be converted in order to be saved.
And you know what? Despite all that intensity, I truly liked Ana. She may have a cult following (and truthfully, what well-known yoga teacher doesn’t?), but she is one down-to-earth woman who presents yoga as a healing and practical gift. It’s a gift; but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to work hard to get its benefits. It was a very physically demanding practice, and one that pushed me outside of my yoga comfort zone (for example, we used pranayama, some serious ab work, and pose holds to warm up and build heat. It worked, but I much prefer sun salutations). It was a practical presentation: the workshop titles were ‘celebrate your practice’, ‘journey to the core, ‘heal your back’. On our name tags, we also had to write our injuries, and that was not just for polite inquiry; Ana and her assistants addressed these thoroughly. I got a lot out of the three sessions, and was completely yoga buzzed by Sunday evening.
Love this about Ana on yoga.com, as it really captures a lot of my impressions from my first time with this talented, tell-it-like-it-is yogini. It also talks about her passion and lifetime love for horses, which of course I can appreciate. Have you practiced with Ana? Would love to hear your comments about your experience. Namaste.