by Kara-Leah Grant
For the last four decades, Ana Forrest has been bringing her particular brand of fierce medicine to the yoga world. She’s long woven Native American ceremony into her classes and workshops, calling on the forces that helped her heal from an abusive and challenging childhood.
So it’s no surprise that when she met and fall in love with the man who would go on to become a co-director of Forrest Yoga that he too would have a long history with shamanism and healing – just in a different sphere, that of music and the performing arts.
Meet Jose Calarco, the man who is now co-teaching with Ana, and bringing his decades of experience in musical direction to her workshops and classes.
It’s a potent combination of two high-energy people who are passionate about what they do. (Check out the bonus music video of Spirit Eagle at the bottom of this article for a glimpse into a song from Jose and Ana.)
And if there was ever any checking out or escaping in one of Ana’s yoga classes… (there wasn’t…) there’s no chance now. Ana has schooled Jose up thoroughly in Forrest Yoga and shares the yoga teaching with him, freeing her up to work more intimately and one-on-one with students.
Ana and Jose are coming to New Zealand in February to teach at Om Yoga Studio, so I sat down to talk to them both about how their relationship came about (ceremony, of course!), what it’s like working together, and how Forrest Yoga has evolved with Jose’s input.
Workshops with Ana Forrest & Jose Calarco
Join Ana and Jose for three special workshops at Om Yoga Studio in Stonefields, Auckland. Cost is NZ$85 for one workshop or NZ$210 for all three.
Celebrate Your Practice, 9 February 2017, 6:00pm – 8:30pm.
Rekindle the fires of passion and pleasure with Forrest Yoga. Learn to reconnect to your energy, while you delight in your strength. Bring healing and inspiration into your personal practice. This Forrest Yoga workshop helps you cultivate and embrace a sense of compassion. You also learn to make your practice exhilarating and delicious. Find out more here.
Luminous Core, 10 February 2017, 10:00am – 12:30pm
Challenge and move your core energy into those areas where it has yet to be. Come sweat, breathe deeply and enter the incredible mystery of your core. You will feel cleansed, refreshed and alive. Find out more here.
Freedom from Struggle, 11 February 2017, 12:30pm – 3:00pm
Learn how to relax your core and safely change fear into excitement by riding the power of breath. In this session you will learn a different way to relate to your ‘edges’ besides struggling and panicking. By listening to the intelligence of your body you can create a deep, rewarding struggle-free practice. Find out more here.
Quotes From The Interview
Jose & Ana On The Integration of Yoga & Indigenous Culture
“A lot of white, middle-class people are never going to experience proper ceremony. So let’s bring it to Yoga, let’s make it a spiritual gathering of significance. We’re all looking for happiness, not just downward dog.” ~ Jose
“No matter what land we are on, we acknowledge the ancestors and the people of that land…We hear them, we respect them and we ask for their permission to do our medicine on their land.” ~ Ana
“We didn’t come here just for physical exercise, we came here for some deeper connection. The Aboriginal people already have a beautiful connection to nature, and as much as the Yoga scene is very helpful, there’s a lot of pretentiousness in it, a lot of shallowness… and I thought, one day I’m going to integrate the worlds of mysticism, magic and indigenous culture into this [Yoga] room and give it a real foundation.” ~ Jose
Ana On Finding Freedom From Struggle
“Is this going to brighten your spirit or dull it? is going to brighten your luminosity or make you sick?” ~ Ana
Jose & Ana On The Process of Co-Teaching
“Aboriginal people always, before any gathering, start with a smoking ceremony first, which is for purification… From the smoking ceremony, we go into an invocational song and dance and then a prayer… Then Ana begins setting the intent for the class.” ~ Jose
“She just had to give me the cues on Forrest Yoga, and I had to give her the cues on how to sing.” ~ Jose
Jose On The Power of Music
“We put a musical score to Forrest Yoga. Music has lifted Forrest Yoga to heights its never had before. It was always the best Yoga system in the world, no doubt about it, but now it is really, really special because it has artistic direction.” ~Jose
Bonus Music Video from Jose & Ana
*** Proudly sponsored by Om Yoga Studio ***