Ana and Jose's Spirit Pledge:
Mending the Rainbow Hoop of the People
– Ana Forrest
Ana has been developing Forrest Yoga since 1982. In 2014, Ana & Jose began co-creating the evolution of Forrest Yoga. Jose brings his compassionate business wisdom, Ceremonial stories, traditional dance and song, Ancient Healing Technologies, as well as his original narratives and music. Ana & Jose now co-teach all of their offerings together. This exquisite practice addresses physical and emotional challenges as well as providing tools to reconnect one’s Spirit. Intense pose sequences, compassionately taught, develop skills in awakening each of the senses. Forrest Yoga teaches students how to bring aliveness, using breath, into every cell of the body. This ignites passion for living. The pillars of Forrest Yoga are: Breath, Strength, Integrity and Spirit. The mission of Forrest Yoga is to create a sense of freedom, a connection to Spirit, and the courage to walk as Spirit dictates; thus, doing one’s part in “Mending the Rainbow Hoop of the People”. Forrest Yoga teaches you how to Go Deeper, find your Truth, and then, take these gifts Beyond the Mat into the rest of your life.
As a beginner to Forrest Yoga, you learn to breathe deeply and connect in feeling with your body. As you progress, you get proficient at safely tailoring each pose to work best for you; particularly with physical and emotional injuries. Learning to work honestly at your edges, you develop effective tools to deal with fear, struggle, and breakthroughs. This makes it possible for integrity, self-awareness and playful curiosity to become part of your daily life.
Forrest Yoga gets you strong and centered by connecting you to your core. It uses heat, vigorous workouts and deep breathing to sweat out toxins. The long holds in the pose sequences help you flush, oxygenate, and rejuvenate every cell. Forrest Yoga does not require strength or flexibility; it only requires that you bring a willingness to learn how to feel authentically and respond honestly. As you advance in Forrest Yoga, you learn to intelligently ride your breath into the thrilling advanced poses. You also exercise your emotional body through the full feeling spectrum; from the healing process all the way into the ecstatic realms riding Jose’s Shamanic music.
Forrest Yoga honors and celebrates the beauty of life and the power of Spirit. It is an inspiring yoga life practice that builds flexibility, intelligence and strength while helping deepen the relationship with your authentic Self. Accessing your intuition – the voice of your Spirit – builds personal strength and ushers integrity into your daily interactions with all beings. Forrest Yoga challenges you to heal, evolve and welcome your Spirit home.
Ana Forrest & Jose Calarco Honor and Acknowledge the Traditional Custodians (past & present) of the Sacred Land we stand on. This is, was, and always will be First Nation’s Territory.
Traditional Elders teach us that the land actually owns the people. Therefore, we honor all our relations, the animals, trees, rivers, mountains and the Great Spirit.
FORREST YOGA HAS HISTORICALLY SUPPORTED DIVERSE COMMUNITIES
Ana & Jose have dedicated their entire lives to mending the “Rainbow Hoop of the People”. They have taken their combined lifetimes of teachings, experience, and wisdom to the four corners of the planet, offering healing and hope to people of every race, creed and color.
For years Forrest Yoga has offered scholarships to a cross-section of the community including Indigenous, Military, and People of Color, and will continue to do so.
Forrest Yoga teachers are required to offer free yoga classes to underprivileged communities as part of their certification. Ana began this process herself at the turn of the century in the heart of gangland, South Central Los Angeles. “A Place Called Home” (APCH) was a rehabilitation Community Centre for gang members predominantly comprising of POC and Hispanics.
The School was created by Forrest Yoga Teacher Debrah Constance, (author of Fat, Stupid and Ugly) who invited Ana to collaborate in a program called “Yoga in the Hood” Ana tirelessly promoted APCH, giving television interviews, yoga classes, and fundraising, in order to increase social awareness of the problems in destitute communities and provide better equipment and facilities for the students. Ana also sponsored people from this school, offering places in her workshops and trainings. Ana’s many years of work and contributions to APCH and gangland communities, saw her become the first Yoga Teacher to receive the Mayoral Commendation in California. Ana received the award from Antonio Villaraigosa, who served as Mayor from 2005-2013.
ANA'S SHAMANIC STUDIES
Throughout the 1980’s, Ana lived on a Native American reservation studying Shamanism, with Cherokee Medicine Man Heyoka Merrifield. During these years Ana journeyed deeply into Native sacred ceremonies, like Sweat Lodge, Pipe Ceremony, Vision Quest, and Sundance. In true Indigenous tradition, she also learned how to commune with the natural world, the mountains, forests, animals, skies and waters; to honor and respect Mother Earth and all her relations. Ana walks the Spiritual Warrior’s path.
Ana has been informally adopted by friends and families from various Indigenous communities, including the late Debbie Finley Justus from the Colville Confederated Communities and Heyoka Merrifield, Cherokee. Ana gave back generously in her eight years on the Native American reservation, becoming a pivotal member of the community. Ana provided her knowledge of Yoga, became a Pipe Carrier, offered hands-on healing, counseled the brokenhearted, and offered help and assistance where ever needed.
JOSE JOINS FORREST YOGA INTEGRATING A DIVERSITY OF CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
In 2014, Ana invited Jose Calarco director of Descendance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dance Theatre www.descendance.com.au into Forrest Yoga as Ceremonial Chief to bring diversity and multiculturalism, into a predominately white middle-class arena. Since then Jose has created and directed original ceremonies with over 150 musicians and dancers from all over the world, half of these performers being Indigenous or People of Colour.
Together Ana and Jose have successfully integrated their worlds of business, Yoga, culture, philosophy, veganism (ahimsa), ceremony, music, healing and Shamanism, maintaining the great foundations of Forrest Yoga, whilst at the same time evolving the system and bringing live culture and diversity into their events.
As a music composer, singer and artistic director, José has brought his years of international experience and knowledge to Forrest Yoga. Jose offers a rich diversity of styles, covering contemporary, traditional, classical, world, folk, pop, rap, ambient and dance. Jose includes all these styles into his Indigenous inspired ceremonies, giving trainees cross-cultural experiences. 90% of all the musical content and chants for Forrest Yoga are written by Jose.
Jose has two international Albums on sale through Spotify and ITunes. Cornucopia recorded with Ana Forrest and Creation with Descendance Aboriginal.
JOSE'S CONTINUING WORK WITH INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES
Jose has worked relentlessly on behalf of Aboriginal people for the last 30 years. Jose and Descendance Dance Theatre, have shared and toured Black Australian culture in over 40 countries. As Director of the company, José has provided more than 50 Indigenous performers meaningful employment, which promotes the plight of Aboriginal people and keeps the culture alive. Descendance works at conferences, festivals, schools, workshops, films, universities, communities, and major world events.
Jose and Descendance have worked extensively on large problematic and neglected Aboriginal communities like Palm Island and Yarrabah Mission in far northern Australia. Jose and Descendance were contracted by the Bwgcolman people of Palm Island, with the daunting job of implementing social programs and reconnecting the children to their lost culture.
Due to poor Government planning, Palm Island was officially, according to the Guinness book of records, the world’s most violent area, laden with murders, violent assaults, and sexual attacks. It took some nerve to accept this job, but the rewards were plentiful, after successfully implementing the programs, the children on the island had a new purpose and were reconnected to their roots. Jose created Descendance with Aboriginal Song Woman/ Elder Imelda Willis, from the Yidinji and Kandju communities in far North Queensland, Imelda adopted Jose into her communities and became his Spirit mother.
The world’s oldest living culture “The Australian Aborigines” a people dating back almost 60,000 years have managed to reach unprecedented international exposure through Jose’s management and direction of his “Descendance” project. Jose’s ability to secure a blue-chip client base, perform at the world’s most prestigious events, and at the same time gain immeasurable worldwide TV and Media exposure, has given the Indigenous peoples of Australia an international stage to tell their stories and speak of their plight.
Jose’s strategic touring of the “world’s oldest living culture” in over 40 countries, has landed Descendance into the Australian history journals, their website being part of the national archives of Canberra (Australia’s Capital Territory) Giving Descendance the honor of going from performers to historians.
In 2004 Jose orchestrated and funded Descendance’s finest moment winning the “World Indigenous Dance Title” in a field of 78 countries at the first-ever cultural style Olympics in Seoul Korea, the event was called “The World Culture open” hosted by UNESCO (United Nations).
FORREST YOGA'S ONGOING COMMITMENT TO SUPPORTING FIRST NATIONS
Ana & Jose make it a duty to support Indigenous arts and products whenever they can. The Forrest Yoga online store sold handmade Aboriginal products and traditional music from Australia, Aztec jewelry and rattles from Mexico, Native Canadian designed yoga wear, from Nominou, in which they are also company ambassadors. Jose & Ana also support and promote Aboriginal-owned businesses, Bundarra Life wear, and Kimberley Yoga Attire, wearing their beautiful designs in Yoga Ceremonies and online presentations.
Ana & Jose have respectfully earned their stripes in the Indigenous arena through their services and long-standing associations with First Nations. Students wanting to explore Indigenous and Shamanic teachings are encouraged to find a teacher, seek a community, take a course, and be prepared for a long journey that is vast and steep. This journey will be longer than a week, a month, or even a few years. For the serious seeker, this is a lifelong commitment and connection. Ana & Jose are already more than 30 years into their journey with First Nations.
We need to co-create this future together with understanding & tolerance as one global community. Be the change you want to see, start the work with yourself. Ask yourself what actions can I do today to improve an already psychologically, spiritually & economically devastated world.
May we all walk in Beauty, Jose & Ana