This week I finished reading Fierce Medicine by Ana Forrest, creator of Forrest yoga. It was awesome! Ana’s personal story is inspirational. I have practice Forrest yoga a few times and enjoyed it but after reading the book I appreciate it even more.
I loved that the book includes more than just physical yoga postures. Ana shares ways to connect to our own spirit through meditation and ceremony. She has studied with Native American and African healers and incorporates some ceremonies and wisdom from her experiences.
One of my favourite parts of the book is when she describes her Iyengar yoga teacher training experience.
What I didn’t realize was that Iyengar accomplished his “active correction” through hitting, spitting, and screaming. I put up with his truly bad behavior because, after all, he’d been teaching for more than forty years by then. … He’d mock me constantly and call me expert. … At the end of month-long training, we all lined up during the celebratory dinner to kneel before Iyengar and touch his feet. As I approached, he said, “Oh, so expert, you have no need ever to come back here. And I replied, “Oh, I know that’ Mr. Iyengar.” I’d learn what I most needed to know: that I couldn’t look to others for the wisdom that lay inside me.
I love this because I stopped practicing Iyengar yoga because the teacher put all her weight on my thigh in Reclining Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana) and was insisting that my thigh must not lift off the floor. She must have been twice my size. At that moment I thought “This isn’t yoga.” Ana is correct, we can’t look to others for wisdom and we don’t have to endure abuse in yoga classes.
My take away from this book is:
Do something to nourish your spirit everyday, find our own truth.