Fear, Breathe, Heal with Ana - Founder of Forrest Yoga

Fear, Breathe, Heal with Ana - Founder of Forrest Yoga

When was the last time you honored your inner self amidst the fast-paced society we live in - largely driven by noise, speed, fear of missing out (FOMO) and perhaps, an artificial urgency of the digitally connected world.

Are you aware of the triggers that cause you to react in a certain, emotional way? Or are you masking your problems & pain by packing your busy schedules? We speak with the Founder of Forrest Yoga, Ana on little steps to get in touch with and work through your feelings, your fears and yourself.

Ana created this modern form of yoga, integrating yoga poses with Native American healing elements - expect elements of breathing, introspection, as well as extended holds in poses with the intent to heal today’s common ailments and restore emotional balance. Forrest Yoga believes in holistic healing: more than just “perfecting” a pose, encouraging you to take your practice off your mat and create that space for self-discovery & better balance in your life. Ana was part of the Faculty at Asia Yoga Conference 2018 in Hong Kong.

Are you ready for some personal reflection & solitude, to allow your mind to wander about without constant schedules - for mental clarity?

Ana Forrest Yoga smile healing

What is a powerful answer you have for a busy woman - who has been ‘overwhelmed by life and on autopilot mode’ – to start gaining self-awareness?

Start feeling again. The first step is to deepen your breathing. I first learned how to breathe powerfully from a tiger. This is how he was breathing:

  • Place your hands on your ribs
  • Inhale, expand your ribs sideways into your hands.
  • Exhale, pull your belly muscles in, to empty out all of the used air.

I learned how to be powerful, at ease & wildly sexy from this tiger. What a great change from overwhelm!

Breathing in this way builds your life force and steadies your mind. Breath keeps you connected, focused, flexible and responsive to the changes and questions of the moment — an essential element of garnering self awareness.

Everywhere in the world I travel, I see our people have lost their ability to make sense out of kinaesthetic information. They don’t know what the hell they’re feeling. Feelings provide us with crucial information.

We are raised to believe that thinking is the only way of gathering and working with information… Not true! As a result, we hit overwhelm; and then make harmful decisions. These poor decisions increase our own suffering and our state of overwhelm.

Here’s how to grow your body wisdom:

• Breathe deeply. Use the tiger breath technique and use your breath to bring feeling into every part of you. Gain back the parts of you that have been lost in ‘autopilot mode’.

• Forrest Yoga helps each of us to digest and release our emotional backlog. You also detox by sweating out toxicity from the pollution in your life and learn how to work into freedom from pain and stiffness, and grow your vibrant health and strength.

• Track, and then make decisions based on what you’re feeling - whether physical or emotional. This will help you to recalibrate.

• Check in with your chakras — your wisdom and power centers. This is a great way to tap into your kinaesthetic intelligence. Train your chakras to communicate with each other. As you build your relationship with your chakras, they develop into your own wisdom counsel. Your overwhelmed brain needs counsel from all of your power centers!

• Stop your internal wars. Internal conflict is a huge part of feeling overwhelmed. When you build alliances between your power centers, you will make more fulfilling and meaningful decisions.

Feel how when you ally your awesome intellectual prowess and task your brain to connect to your whole body, this shifts your power. Apply these new insights and build new daily living patterns. It’s gorgeous work!

forrest yogi

Any mantras or rituals you practice when faced with a situation of change?

Ask: “What part of this CAN I do?“
When you’re faced with a new situation or something that you think you can’t do; the internal question to ask yourself is ‘what part of this can I do?’... and that would be the win. Then, breathing deeply, take action.

#teambusywoman's note: We love this little step suggested by Ana! A simple shift in perspective from being 'helpless' to 'winning' and actually being in control (even if it were just a small part of the whole change).

What is a simple breathwork format that you would use when faced with fear e.g. stepping on stage to public speak?

Here are some practical tools for use when faced with fear. Feel the effects of the next actions:

  • Get your feet active — spread across the balls of your feet and whole heel. Pick your toes up and feel the earth through your awakening feet.

  • Breathe deeply — place your hands on your ribs, inhale expanding your ribs sideways into your hands. Exhale, pull your belly muscles in to empty out all of the used air.

  • Crotch breathing (did you just hit your fear?!) — Inhale, ballooning breath down into genitals. Exhale, contract/pull genitals, perineum and anus up 3 times. Do this a few times. Dispel the numbness in your pelvis. Relax your neck, eyes and brain.

Now—snuggle up to your fear. How? Connect to the area where you feel it. Breathe into it. Get friendly — put your hand on the area holding fear. Stop making decisions based on fear, or what your fear says to do. Begin to disobey the dictates of fear (that’s really fun!).

Ana Forrest Yoga

What are some modalities people can use to uncover the reason for a ‘negative’ learned behavior/reaction, to heal and learn to let go the root cause?

I have a saying that I've taught to the community: “Never waste a good trigger”.

Why? Because triggers can be an incredible ally. Triggers lead to what needs healing. Being triggered can show up as a big emotional reaction to something seemingly insignificant - a small emotional/physical tweak, or an internal flinch.

So, what are the best things to do when you get triggered?

  • First step, catch that you are triggered.
  • Step two, start breathing very deeply.
  • Step three, activate your feet.
  • Fourth step, start the inquiry - what happened? What just triggered me?

It can be seemingly inconsequential things that set off a trigger, like someone's blonde hair or red shirt. Move your judgments aside (about your trigger being insignificant) and get fascinated with the process of hunting the trigger trail. That shirt or hair opened up a gateway to something that is unresolved and needs healing in you. The red shirt or blonde hair is just a marker to catch your attention. Now go hunting!

Explore your triggers:
Sometimes, you might be triggered but unable to deal with it immediately. If so, write down as much detail as you can of what happened. Make a date with yourself in the next 12 hours to sit with your reactive experience. Breathe deeply, do a few gentle poses to bring a nourishing energy to yourself. Get curious. Invite information about the trigger to come up. These steps are an essential part of the healing process — that is worth honoring.

Having gone through your healing journey, and now sharing your experiences through Forrest Yoga, what is the biggest realization that has impacted your life recently?

Becoming a vegan. I had to move my prejudices out of the way and put together the pieces that matter so much in my life:

  • My own health — since it has always been such a big issue
  • My deep love of the wild ones
  • A deep love and concern for the earth

I realised that by being vegan, I could nurture all three every time I ate. Like many, I’d heard the principles of being vegan so many times before, but this time, something changed from within. All of a sudden it all made so much sense.

What do you think is the biggest thing or trend in the yoga scene globally that has changed over the last few years

Many of our people have been drawn to yoga when it is teamed up with something like boxing, dance, martial arts…. I think it is a great opportunity for those people to learn how yoga can benefit them and enhance their favourite sport.

From what we see, our people are hungry for something that is real, raw, primal and authentic — something that connects them to their ancestors, to the Earth and most importantly, to their own spirit. It’s in this space that Jose and I are working.

Our yoga and ceremony nourishes the whole person. Our ceremonies — which weave together music, invocations and Forrest Yoga — touch students where words cannot penetrate. Forrest Yoga taps them into where they are real, raw, primal and authentic. That is so exhilarating!

ana forrest ceremony

We'd love to hear from you! Share with us #thelittlesteps you take to gain more awareness of yourself and work through certain emotions / triggers. Drop us a note: [email protected].