There’s a profoundly negative, degrading attitude in our culture towards aging. I am offering you instead the tools to create a new paradigm whereby, as we age, we can embody and model the beauty of a rich spirit versus just a wrinkle-free face.
Yoga has given me the ability to age because without it I wouldn’t have had the privilege of being around this long. Aging has brought me so much. I have gotten wiser and now have the ability to sequence my yoga more brilliantly. My yoga is fitting together more organically and synergistically, and that delights me. Each time I practice I have the opportunity to make it a masterpiece because now there is an energetic component that lights me up. It has taken these many years to create the neural pathways that make this ecstasy possible. I totally get off on experimenting and playing with these new pathways; I am accessing parts of my brain that we as modern people are just starting to re-explore. I am treading the path our Wise Ancient Ones also walked.
This is incredibly exciting!
The other day my back was hurting, so I began doing some poses I created to ease the pain. While doing these poses, I had cascading layers of epiphanies like a sparkling diamond waterfall. I marveled that I had learned how to alleviate my own suffering, ease my own back pain in a matter of minutes. I realized: I am grateful to my own ingenuity for having created poses to take me and thousands of people out of suffering and into healing, pleasure and sometimes ecstasy. I am delighted by my autodidactic ability (my ability to teach myself). I feel gratitude for my own unusual, quirky way of taking an experience and composting it until something of value comes from it. I took hardship and distilled and re-paradigmed it until I had treasures to heal myself and our people. I am thrilled that I can create such beauty from such difficulty. These abilities have helped me in a myriad of ways, including giving me inspiration, creativity, and a rich, full life right now. Feeling grateful for myself is a powerful sign of my evolution and maturation and it took 50-plus years to get to that point.
I don’t need to keep trying to survive those old, hard things anymore.
My life is not generating those hardships now and I am really proud of having broken that cycle. I now have a lot of tools I could use to go through a difficult experience, learn from it, and heal whatever the hell the problem is, or find people who could help me heal it. It is important as we grow older to continue to do things on regular basis that we are proud of, which are exciting and quicken the blood. You can move your blood through exercise, sex, excitement and pranayama. My practices include quickening my blood daily.
I have wonderful feelings coursing through my body every day because of Forrest Yoga. Yoga gets my endorphins up, juices my joints, and nourishes my brain. My brain functions clearly and creatively after my yoga, which dispels the myth of the mentally foggy menopausal woman! The older I get, the more I fall in love with pranayama. I’m intrigued and enchanted with its effects. In the last five years I became fascinated with studying my blood. When my energy is down, my blood feels flat and torpid. Pranayama and the deep, p
enetrating breathing I cultivate during my yoga practice sparkles up my blood. Within 20 minutes, it feels rich and swiftly flowing. Without my yoga practice, it feels a little bit thick and flat and low in oxygen which makes me feel old and grouchy and achy — so I just keep sparkling up my blood every day! I love to do things that I never thought I would do. In Houston a few months ago I recorded my Medicine chants. I took this action; one I’ve never done before and turned it into a teaching tool. That was my Heroine’s Quest… to answer a need from my people, I journeyed through my own doubt and failure to successfully create in Beauty.
This took a lot of courage to do; it was a very advanced asana for me! I like doing brave things. That is part of what keeps my life feeling rich. Doing something brave isn’t necessarily having to go to a war; for me, it was recording medicine chants in a professional studio.
Another treasure of the sweetness of aging is to have written my new book, “Fierce Medicine”. It took me this long to write it, because I had to mature to a certain level. When I reread my book, I get really moved and that means a lot to me. Last Friday night I was doing a book reading of “Fierce” in at The Forrest Yoga Studio in Seoul, Korea One of my Forrest
Yoga Guardian teachers and dear friend, Sinhee Ye-McCabe, was translating to the listeners. She began to cry when speaking about becoming free of pain and suffering. Other people in the audience were crying, my eyes were watering up, it was intense Beauty, it was so cool!
And I now get the pleasure of hearing from people how they are helped and deeply touched by “Fierce.” One woman told me she carries it around and reads it in scary situations, like before a root canal. She took “Fierce Medicine” with her to the DMV and, while waiting, was reading my book. She is using these dulling frightening moments to educate herself and work in a profound way. This is just amazing and I love it.
Learning how to play with change in a way that delights me has made my life way more compelling and fun. Surfing change has brought me to a wonderful new place. I have grown into my wisdom.
I have had time to develop my vision of Mending the Hoop of the People and am seeing it come into reality with the help of my Forrest Yoga Guardians and the Mentorship Program. Now there are Forrest Yoga teachers all over the world. I have students I adore and I get to travel to new countries every year. I am in love and it is amazing and hot on all levels. I am simply euphoric and I turned 55 on December 11.
How great is that?
About Ana Forrest:
Ana has been changing people’s lives for nearly 40 years. An internationally recognized pioneer in yoga and emotional healing, Ana created Forrest Yoga while working through her own healing from her life’s trauma and experience. With thousands of licensed practitioners around the world, Forrest Yoga is renowned as an intensely physical, internally focused practice that emphasizes how to carry a transformative experience off the mat and into daily life.
Courtesy of Yoga Health Foundation.