Ana Forrest is an internationally-recognized pioneer in yoga and emotional healing. She is the Creatrix of Forrest Yoga, a mystic, visionary, philanthropist, author, and Medicine Woman. Ana crafted Forrest Yoga while working through healing from her own life’s traumas – abuse and addictions, the helplessness around the addictions, and the ongoing suffering from chronic injuries & illnesses.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up mostly in California, tho’ first 3 years were in New York. Childhood was hell; pain, addictions, anguish & hopelessness. Animals & the wilderness became my refuge. Yoga & Native American Medicine Ways gave me the tools to save my life. Many experiences shaped my life. Choosing life & going sober was a commitment that had to be renewed daily. I wrote my book, ’Fierce Medicine ‘ about the earlier turning points that helped me heal & find a compelling reason to live. I began to view the hardships in my life as my Heroine’s Quest. I decided to discover a jewel of wisdom from each difficult or fantastic experience. Learning to connect with reverence to Nature & to pray changed my life over & over. Learning to love changed my life and is a prime instigator of my evolution. Meeting & connecting to Jose’ Calarco, now my Twin Flame, changed us both. We now collaborate our Yoga Ceremony offerings, bringing to the people the gifts of our life experiences & skills. Becoming Vegan, (thank you Jose’) is another way to do my part in Healing the Rainbow Hoop of the People. This plant-based nutritional strategy creates daily cellular, emotional & Spiritual re-paradigming.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
To own the truth that I am more than enough.
To recognize sooner what is worth following thru, & what needs to be let go. Like letting go of addictions, suicidal tendencies, hate, apathy, toxic people….To follow thru on questing for healing, developing my gifts, building my career in a way that has room to develop all of who I am.
The necessity of re-defining my purpose in being alive during this turbulent time of humanity.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
To lie or exaggerate about what the student will receive by doing the course or buying some product. Being dishonest & preying on the vulnerable about how much money and wealth the course or product will create for them.
When a person is injured or ill, the yoga practice needs to be re-shaped to bring healing or at least no further aggravation. I hear bad recommendations ranging from “just continue, all is coming” to “stop practicing until the problem goes away”. Neither of these recommendations is effective.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
Clawing my way free from the prison of addictions, deep anguish & suffering. I came out of it by choosing life (at 18)… then doing healing & life-giving practices instead of destruction practices. I learned that my Spirit was inconceivably strong. If I could live thru all those harsh experiences at such a young age, I could certainly live thru the healing of it & the quest for designing a meaningful life. I learned I needed to grow neuro-receptors for love!
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
Really, there is more than one. This one matters. My commitment to learning from every life experience.
What is your morning routine?
Our full-day routine during lockdown… rises at 8:00. Get coffee. Do smoke cleansing/blessing. Set intent for the day. Then 3-4 hours focus on work on the computer; emails & this month re-formatting our Teacher Training course for online. Eat a piece of fruit. Teach yoga or do Shamanic healing sessions online. Walk-in Nature for 1 hour. Yoga practice 90 minutes-2 &1/2 hours. (by 5:00 pm) Cook our delicious Vegan main meal. Eat & then relax for an hour or so. Have another coffee & start the night shift… Music, singing, then writing, editing…etc. for another hour. Late-night salad, read for fun, then sleep by midnight or 1:00 am.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Music…playing /‘ singing into the bones’, as Jose is teaching me, thus learning to use music as healing Medicine.’
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
Structure the day. Prioritize what needs to be done first. Self-care & Spiritual exercises are daily essentials. Using Jose’s coaching of sending emails out as seeds of the future.
Prayer> action… Ask: “what can I do today to help this prayer happen?” Do something EVERY DAY to build my life force & luminosity. For example, deep breathing, Yoga, nutritious eating, playing music, commune with Nature, sing to the Sacred Ones. Feel my connection to ’ Wakan Skan’, the great Sacred that moves in all things.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
- Freedom from the Known by J Krishnamurti
- The Answer by David Icke
- The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass & Laura Davis
- Black Elk Speaks by Flaming Rainbow aka John Neihardt
- The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
- Initiation by Elisabeth Haich
- Native Healer by Medicine Grizzlybear Lake
- Mankiller by Wilma Mankiller/ Michael Wallis
- Buffalo Woman Comes Singing by Brooke Medicine Eagle
- Enlightened Living Patanjali’s Sutras translated by Swami Venkatesananda
- Earthsea Series by Ursula Le Guin
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
…To name a few!
Each of these books gave me insights, inspiration, ways thru my own suffering & a view that was outside of my own box.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
Yes. To ask myself good questions for new insights. For example when about to take an action to ask,
“Does this…brighten or dim my Spirit?” Then make a Warrior’s Choice on behalf of my Spirit.
Another is to ask myself,
“What can I learn from this?”
“What is the energy I am emitting?
“Does this contribute to Mending the Rainbow Hoop of the People or is it smog?”
Some other helpful guides are: ‘ Light up my Brain’, ‘Evolve or Die’, ‘ Disobey Fear’, ‘This too shall Pass’, ‘Choose Life’, ‘Walk in Beauty’.