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Medicine Woman Meets Medicine Woman: Talking Shop with Ana Forrest of Forrest Yoga

Recently I received an extravagant gift: an interview with my favorite yoga luminaries, Ana Forrest.

Ana Forrest is not your typical international yoga rockstar.

In fact, she'd probably correct me if I called her a rock star, and insist that she is a modern Medicine woman. (Actually, as I get to know Ana better, I bet she'd be OK with me calling her a rockstar AND a modern Medicine woman.) Despite her somatic genius and genre-bending method of weaving our struggles, habitual patterns, and ways that we "depress ourselves in 30 seconds flat," Ana is quite humble about language. Not fancypants. (One more caveat...her yoga pants are rather fancy!) Ana brings fierce medicine to her teaching--I've noticed in my past 10 years of practicing with her at weekend intensives, and with her cadre of Certified Forrest Yoga Teachers, that Ana exudes true differentiation from other teachers.

Here's how.

Ana Forrest's brilliance lies in many realms, but first I noticed is she can read what is happening emotionally for me in a yoga pose. She stood at my mat like a tiger when I started to space out (and think about my evening dinner plans). She noticed in a particularly challenging pose how I was powering my way through it, not taking the time and breathing in the deliciousness of it. Busted! She saw my overachiever patterning and called me on it. She could read my resistance to her admonition to track my groundedness with "active feet." Let's make this about you, not me. She knows in a class of 100 people when you stop breathing. She sees you struggle in a pose, and can discern your addiction to struggle. In short, she's got your number.

"Become the architect of your own pharmacopeia"-- Ana T. Forrest

"Fierce Medicine" is what she offers, and I'm not making up that term. Ana happens to be the author of a book by that title, Fierce Medicine, an important synthesis of how to track fear and unravel habitual patterns that keep you down. Ana has extraordinary ability to get you back in your body, with all components working in the service of your sparkliness, your innate wisdom. She wants you to get out of first gear, which is where most of us get stuck, utilizing only our minds to guide our way of walking in the world. In her words, she wants you to be the "Architect of your own pharmacopeia."
Allow me to unpack that wisdom.  Ana wants you to get out of first gear, which is that stuck place where we overidentify with the mind (and use the mind exclusively for how to walk in the world).
Ana and I hold an alternative, expanded view for you--simultaneously very specific and scientific--that you can modulate your brain and body chemistry with your thoughts and behaviors. I would frame this is as follows: Ana's form of Fierce Medicine alters your physiology. Here's a small sampler of what's possible for you: lower your stress hormones, such as cortisol (the guy on the bus who takes up too much space and makes your life a drag), and boost your feel-good neurotransmitters, such as...
  • dopamine - responsible for pleasure and satisfaction
  • serotonin - governs your mood, sleep and appetite
  • oxytocin - hormone (and neurotransmitter) of love and bonding

That's a message I completely + utterly rally behind.

Here's what Ana means (I'm paraphrasing her): We universally default to a place of flat line. We zone out. We stay in first gear. Get out of first gear. Use yoga. Use the breath. Get sparkly again. We're taught struggle is noble. It's not. Struggle makes you smaller and constricted. Listen in to a short segment of our time together, and prepare to dive deep and dislodge what no longer serves. Ana works her magic with what she calls "an auditory reaching." We barely scratch the surface in this segment, but you'll get an intention, you'll release your neck and you'll hear Ana's fascinating story of healing her thyroid. Yes, it leaves you wanting...much more. Fortunately, we are planning to bring you more divine collaboration very soon. Comment below if you're interested, and let us know what you want for us to address. In the meantime, we are working with Ana and her team to cook up a few more modules of our synergy together, related to your mood, addiction to struggle, fear, weightenergy, of course-- (Natch! you know I've got your back, and after all... I am a gynecologist!) your sex drive and orgasmic potential.

Roll it all into a burrito and you've got your Most Resourceful Self.

Just as Ana dislodged the disorder, the frat party, happening in her thyroid, and is not on any prescription medication, let her, in collaboration with me, dislodge what's out of order for you. Is Ana the real deal? Oh yes, sit back and watch....

Let me finish with Ana's words... I suggested to Ana today that I was so blessed to be digging this WELL with her, and that we only got an inch deep in our tantalizing time together on my birthday. I can't wait for what we uncover in our collaboration. This is gonna be BIG, My Friends. Dig the well.

"This well, this deep well that we are co-creating, Dr. Sara, is as deep as we want to dig it."

Time to dig our well. Let me know what part of this resonates with you in the comments below.    


Terry replied on Dec 29, 2015

Thank you for sharing this Dr Sara. First time I’ve come to know about Ana Forrest. As I watch more of her videos, I got tearful ….. I was in such awe and appreciation of how amazing the human body is. I look forward to the day where I will have the opportunity to experience it. Looking forward to the call.

Kristin replied on Dec 29, 2015

I can’t get the Listen in link in the article to work, so interested in hearing this!

Wendy Townsend replied on Dec 29, 2015

I’ve been at Ana’s teacher training and weekends and intensives since I met her in Seattle, sometime during 1996 or 1997! She is aware of each human being in her presence and hands each of us our own personal truth through her words and adjustments! May she always come to Seattle and may I always be able to attend her yoga sessions!

Sara Gottfried MD replied on Dec 29, 2015

Yes – we will send out next week if you are signed up for the list. Thanks for your interest and support!

janine replied on Dec 29, 2015

Is the April 5 call recorded for download? I only was able to hear part of the call. Thanks!

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