Ana Forrest-Day 9-Last Day

Ana Forrest-Day 9-Last Day

Dear Lynda Beth,

Ana doesn’t believe in child pose (she calls it Embryo,) so there is never a safe ball to curl into .

She does believe in running energy through your hands. She teaches us how to see and feel with our hands.

So whenever I felt like I couldn’t physically go on this week, I put my hands on my belly or heart or whatever part of my body is screaming for mercy and sent my deepest breath. Yes-many times that was my brain.

My deepest breath is the best tool I have. When stuff is out of my control, it is the breath which brings me to my center. A high quality breath feeds our innate wisdom instead of our neurosis.


In deep split today, a pose which my ego loves that she can do, the assistant Cat came over to me and put her hand on my belly.

Relax your belly like you are emptying out marbles, she said.

Really? I said. I always hold it in.

My inner thighs were being stretched to their limit. A fire spot.

Its time for you to relax it. There is so much wisdom in your lower belly.

Ok, I said to her, but inside I thought if I let my belly completely go, I will come undone.


During group Q and A time, I asked Ana if I work too hard in my practice.

I feel like I do, I said.  I don’t want to work less. Its just I’m not making progress.

As I ask this question, shame takes over. I feel bad for taking up class time to ask a question about myself. So many others have injuries; back, neck, and wrist pain. I have no injuries. Except my angry red patchy skin.

Ana stands up and comes sits in front of me.

She tells me to start nourishing myself. Its not about my how I work in my practice. Its about how I take care of myself in my life.

Find things to do that nourish you, she said. Small things.

I think about how I want to do the gentle hike up Case Mountain with my dog and look down over the Hartford horizon. I want to sing more with Matt when he plays his guitar. I want to roast butternut squash. Maybe those are the small things.

Maybe its the small things that make up a life. Not the big things like owning a studio or writing a book.

Its the small everyday things along the way.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is. This line from a Mary Oliver poem is tattooed across my back. Many people take it to mean that I am anti-prayer or anti-worship. I smile when they say this because its meaning is the opposite.

The next line of the poem, which is not inked on my body is this:

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields…

And this is what Ana was suggesting I do.

Lynda-blogging to you daily has been a way to pray.

It would have been so much easier in my exhaustion to curl up into a ball.

Im so glad I didn’t.

By the way, my skin is healing.











Ana Forrest-Day 8

Ana Forrest-Day 8

Dear Lynda Beth,

Today I got pissed. Hot molten anger which rose up through my legs and belly and made me want to wheel walk like a spider over to the person who provoked it and kick her in the face. Hard. I wanted to kick her not only for me but for my whole group. Im such a Mama that way.

I was part of a group of ten teachers and we designed a class and then group taught it. This means each one of us taught a section. We didn’t know ahead of time which part. It all happened fast.

The fast part plays with your head.

Another group of ten teachers observed the hour and half yoga class. They took notes and once our teaching was over, they gave us feedback. Let me add- they gave us feedback in front of Ana and her Guardians who were observing their feedback as much as they were observing our teaching.

I taught Warrior Two with bird wing- a strange pose where the benefits for the body are not immediately evident, where delight and let go does not come easy. It is a pose that requires patience and being willing to follow the directions.

“Place your elbows on your ribs.” I inhaled and said this on exhale. Like I have been trained to do.  I looked at the students to see if my cue was followed. Yes for some but not for all.

“Put your elbow on your ribs,” I said again, this time with more authority. My eyes combed the room and stopped gently on the ones who still needed to bring their elbows in more. Its not an easy move for some bodies. Tired bodies.

One additional student responded to my second cue.

 I’m good with that. I coach myself. Sweat dripped off my hair and onto the side of my cheek.

I’m a combination of knowing what I am doing, but still not sure I’m enough, I am wanting, aching, trusting, doubting, and breathing all rolled up into one. I forget about the group of yogis lined up against the wall watching me. I hear some faint scribbling on paper but it is more dreamlike that real.

Maybe this is leaving time and space and my body, maybe this is being present and in a place of grace and prayer. Sometimes teaching yoga is like that. Whose to say?

When the teaching was over and it was my turn to receive feedback, I faced the ten yogis whose backs were up against the wall, holding open notebooks in their laps. The procedure is I stand up in front of them and say my name. They call out their observations of my teaching. One person at a time and in no particular order.

I get some helpful feedback.

You could be more in your body, in your legs, said one.

You jut your chin out when you teach, said another.

OK Im cool with these. Probably true.

But then this:

You sound pissed off when you teach.

You could be more compelling.

Yes I agree said someone else.

You could be more compelling.


I am triggered. 

Anger. Up from my toes into my cheeks making them shine. A hot red face burning.

How dare someone say I am not compelling? That I sound pissed?

The day is done and I get in my car. Mad, angry, spent, depleted.

I needed the hour ride home to recover.

It is early morning as I write this. Its not yet light and in twenty minutes I will need to get ready to make the hour long drive for the last day of this training.

We will begin the last morning as we have begun each of the nine days, with ceremony, music, meditation and dance. Morning ceremony is beautiful. soft, quiet, loud and healing. A landing space.

Jose starts each ceremony reminding us that we are on borrowed land. The land always has and always will belong to the people who first lived here. The Native Americans.

These words guide me and remind me that my spirit, my sense of worth and value belong first to me.

I don’t have to give it away to the opinions of others. I don’t have to be perfect or compelling all the time.

I just need to be me.

And I know who I am.

I have always known.

In the end, let me do love.

Plus, I can’t see the haters, when I’ve got the love glasses on.

Now I think I should thank the sister yogi who said I sounded pissed when I teach.

The one I wanted to kick.

Forgive me as I was triggered.

Never waste a good trigger.

Turn shit into fertilizer.

Because in the end, what else is there to offer but your love.