Last weekend I attended Ana Forrest’s workshops to experience her ‘Fierce Medicine’ to ‘heal the body and ignite the spirit’. Ana’s life was scarred by abuse and neglect and even alcohol dependency at 4-years-old. As a result, yoga postures are not the main message of her teaching. It’s about healing, building strength and integrity. I attach the afterword of her book ‘Fierce Medicine’ because I really like her advice. You don’t have to be from a challenging background to neglect yourself; disregard the fact that you are loved, ignore that you have the capacity to love, and to overlook the power of gratitude. We’re all like that a bit.
The ‘F’ word made appearances in these workshops! Like a fool I asked about this in a yoga teachers’ forum. A hurricane followed. However, of the answers that managed to keep a low pulse rate, one Forrest teacher said when he went to his first yoga class he was ‘firmly in the grasp of PTSD having witnessed the horrors of Afghanistan and other armed conflicts’ and if the teacher hadn’t been ‘authentic’ (including swearing) he would never have gone back to class. Another Forrest teacher said: ‘swearing or curse words are quite often used in the training as a way of bringing those of us who are more tentative in our personalities out of our shells. We are encouraged, ultimately, to step up and be our most powerful and authentic selves’. Another one who teaches in prisons and rehab centres says ‘You meet the student where they are’. Ana Forrest herself says that ‘A lot of people come to Forrest Yoga because they’ve got a storm brewing inside them’.
Interesting, eh! So many styles of yoga for every possible need!
It’s Bank Holiday Monday, Carnival weekend, and I have the usual two Monday classes – 6.00 and 7.30. Book a place and have a go. No swearing, I’m afraid. I’ll also be teaching Jenny Fearnley’s Ashtanga class again at Yoga West tomorrow, Saturday 26th at 8.30am-9.45. (Talking of Yoga West, they are in a fight for survival. They need permission from Ealing Council to continue to operate and ask for our help.)
This weekend, Danny Paradise is at Triyoga Camden. I haven’t signed up for his classes but he is such fun that I recommend his classes highly. I will be attending Mastering The Splits with Nathalie Mukusheva at Indaba on September 2nd. I can’t imagine what tips she might have for me but I thought I would present her with a fun challenge.
I’m also signed up for Stewart Gilchrist’s Asana Chakrisation on September 9th, at Indaba. Come with me! (Here he is doing a Ted Talk on breathing. At the end he talks about the power of breath in his life and how he discovered how to wilfully move his body through breath as a paraplegic having broken his back.)
Yoga in the News
It’s all the usual stories this week: Yoga and meditation are good for you, a survey shows; Yoga good for your brain, a survey shows; Goat Yoga is good for you; Beer Yoga is good for you! Here’s a nice story you can check out if you’re in south-west London. From Weightlifting Champion to Yoga Instructor. Peter Cardona has also been a tennis coach and now teaches yoga in Surbiton.