August 31, 2011

“I survived 28 days with Ana Forrest.” ~ An Interview with a recent Forrest Yoga graduate.

Lately I’ve been thinking and writing a lot about the idea that there is a “Shift” occurring on the planet.

I believe that we are living through a historic time on this Earth, a time of great change and transformation, a time when old ways of thinking and existing will be replaced by a new world order, a not-yet seen level of consciousness on the planet. This “Shift” is manifesting in many obvious ways: the Earth’s plates are literally shifting; the world’s financial markets are fluctuating and weakening, and the world’s power structures are tipping and being rearranged. The world as we know it is being transformed.

But this “Shift” is also playing out in the personal lives of individual men and women all over the Earth.

Just within my own circle of friends, I know countless people whose lives have shifted and changed in dramatic ways since the onset of the 2008 recession. Of course my own life has dramatically shifted, from corporate slave to writer in six short months. Another such friend who has experienced a similarly unexpected and powerful shift in her own life is a woman by the name of Janine Glass. Only eight months ago, Janine like myself, was a devoted member of the corporate “rat race”, striving to climb the corporate ladder. Now she is a certified Forrest Yoga teacher. How did this major shift take place in Janine’s life? Last year, after having become an avid yoga practitioner, Janine decided that she wanted to become certified as a Forrest Yoga teacher. But there was a problem. Ana Forrest only offered one teacher training per year in Janine’s city of Los Angeles, and for a month straight. Of course few corporate jobs would allow one to take a month off for yoga training, and this was exactly the situation in which Janine found herself….until she unexpectedly lost her job at the beginning of 2011. Immediately bowled over by this unpleasant and shocking event in her life, it didn’t take Janine long to realize that THIS was her opportunity. This was her chance to become a yoga teacher.

Janine Glass has just finished an intensive 28-day Forrest Yoga Teacher Training with Ana Forrest, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview her about her experience:

Janine Glass, Malibu, CA

Jeannie:  How/when did you first discover yoga?

Janine: I discovered yoga back in 2008 through my dear friend Jeannie Page. When I met Jeannie, I was a devoted gym-goer (Jeannie would in fact call me a “gym-rat”!). Over the previous six years I would spend 30 minutes on the elliptical and 30 minutes weight-lifting at least four days a week. On my non-gym days I would hike and bike around the beautiful Los Angeles landscape. I was definitely what some would call a “fitness addict”. But I just never got the results for which I was hoping. I longed for something much more. Jeannie took me to one of her favorite classes at City Yoga, which at the time was an Anusara studio. I fell in love with breath work, the unwinding and melting process of the mind and body. Not only was I getting a great workout, stretching and improving flexibility, but I was melting layers of stress from years and years of desk work and daily woes. Ever since that day I have been practicing yoga daily!

Jeannie: Since beginning yoga, what impact has it had on you?

Janine: Gosh! Where to start?! Yoga has calmed my nerves, made me more aware of my body, breath, and spiritual being. It has helped me to be more present and has connected me spiritually to my body and higher self. This has unfolded over time and has taught me to lead with my heart and Spirit. Yoga has given me awareness of my deep inner desires and needs. In the past I had shut those down because I didn’t feel they were reachable or realistic. I have since been able to listen to those inner desires and needs and work on them every day. Yoga has helped me move through emotional pain accumulated from years of stressful job situations, horrible bosses and sometimes just the shit that arises in our daily lives. Yoga has also helped me strive to be the person I want to be!

Jeannie: What was it about Forrest Yoga that resonated with you?

Janine: “Teaching another how to awaken their inner fire and to begin to discern the voices of their conditioning versus the voice of their Spirit is the basis of Forrest Yoga Teaching.” ~Ana Forrest.

I fell in love with Forrest Yoga with my first experience taking Caroline Cardino’s Class at Yummy Yoga in Los Feliz, CA. Not only was it an intense sweat box (which satisfies the fitness nut in me!), but I learned to stay present and not run from the burning sensation or frustration. She kept saying “stay present in your body and really feel.” That really resonated with me, especially since I was so conditioned to run from emotion or feeling. I had been to many yoga classes and they of course had always told me to breathe. However, it wasn’t until I was in a Forrest Yoga class that I was taught in a way that made sense to me. In Forrest Yoga we teach to move the breath through specific areas of the body, not just the belly. Throughout my training, that was a main focal point in my own practice. Not only did it help me move deeper into poses, but the deep breath assisted me to stay present and feel my body as things shifted. Learning to put the breath into an emotional issue, injury, or a state of being is so crucial for healing. Forrest Yoga consciously focuses on bringing new energy in on the inhale and dissolving and leaving the old patterns behind on an exhale. It’s just like eating, when you change what is inputted the output will change. Training myself to utilize deep breath constantly throughout the day has made such a huge impact on how I live my life, on and off the mat. When we are afraid we have a tendency to hold our breath and because of this our thoughts are restricted and we are not clearheaded or centered. Deep breathing will change your physiological response to fear and you’ll be able to clearly assess the situation from a centered, calm place.

Over the past few years I have learned that Forrest Yoga teaches you to go deeper to find your truth, and encourages you to take the gifts you have learned beyond the mat and into the rest of your life. It honors and celebrates the beauty of life and the power of your authentic Spirit. For me it has been the most inspiring yoga practice that builds flexibility, intelligence and strength while helping to deepen the relationship with your authentic self. The practice enables you to access your intuition, the voice of your Spirit, and brings personal strength and integrity into your daily interactions. Forrest Yoga challenges you to heal, grow and welcome your Spirit home and into the body.

The philosophy of Forrest Yoga, as explained here on the Forrest Yoga website, resonates with me deeply:

“Forrest Yoga is renowned as an intensely physical and internally focused practice that emphasizes how to carry a transformative experience off the mat and into daily life.  The practice challenges students to access their whole being and to use Forrest Yoga as a path to finding and then cleansing the emotional and mental blocks that dictate and limit their lives.  Students cultivate an acute awareness of their own practice and life process, creating a unique and powerful opportunity for them to make practical life decisions based on their own experiences.” 

We as humans crave and need challenge, adventure and something daily that delights us. In my own healing quest, I recognized my loss of Spirit. I was so caught up in Corporate America and trying to climb the corporate ladder that in the process I had lost my sense of self and self-worth.  Through Forrest Yoga I have regained my physical health and strength and also have nurtured a place in which to welcome my Spirit and authentic self.


Janine Glass, Malibu, CA

Jeannie: Congratulations on finishing the intensive 28-day Forrest Yoga Teacher Training with Ana Forrest. How has that experience changed you?

Janine: Thank you very much! It truly is such a great accomplishment and I am forever changed from this remarkable experience. I feel so incredibly blessed to have found Forrest Yoga and to have gone through this incredible experience with such an amazing group of people. I’m forever transformed by those who were in my class who really touched my heart from the inside out. I’ve never cried so deeply or laughed so hard in my entire life. My perspective and intuition has changed and I now can connect with my Spirit, which will help guide me throughout the rest of my life.

Jeannie: What was the most challenging aspect of this 28-day intensive training?

Janine: At first the most challenging part of this training for me was the intense commitment of time and physical practice. Trainees were in the studio from 5:45am to 5pm every single day and on the weekends until 7pm. For the first few days of this my body was aching from the number of hours spent practicing and going over poses, as well as teaching. Much of Forrest Yoga is about healing and hands-on assists are necessary to help students find the right pose for them, so this was very exhausting. After the first few days when my body became acclimated to the amount of physical exertion, I was able to tap into my mental and spiritual practice more so. Sadhana- Spiritual Practice: this was the toughest part of the training. We can catch our behavior, but actually going through this process, it is very difficult not to continually beat yourself up. It can be challenging to truly teach from an authentic place. I learned to use the below process, as taught by Ana, to release any negative energy:

1. Catch the behavior you are doing or catch the action you want to change
2. Stop whatever it is you are doing.
3. Take three very deep breaths
4. Congratulate yourself for having caught that behavior
5. Do not beat yourself up
6. Focus on healing part

Jeannie: What was the most rewarding aspect of the training?

Janine: I truly feel free to let my Spirit lead me and to not beat myself up over what I may have thought I wanted in the past. Climbing the corporate ladder was always the future that I envisioned for myself and my family. However, it is clear to me now that that is not my reality or my true life path. To come to that conclusion and reality has been beyond rewarding for me at this point in my life. I have found that my body tells the story of my life: the aches, the pains, and the tightness. When I listen to my body and breath, everything unfolds into place.

Forrest Yoga has truly changed me as a human being. It has given me the perspective of that which truly does make me happy. I have learned to be in my physical self and accept it for what it is. Throughout the training Ana kept telling us to stop beating ourselves up in our own heads. Having that repeatedly mentioned over the course of 28 days has definitely changed my negative mental patterns. However, that will continue to be a process of letting go and I can accept that! 

Jeannie: Now that you are a Certified Forrest Yoga Teacher, what are your own professional and personal goals as a teacher?

Janine: Both my personal and professional goals are to help “heal the hoop of the people”, which is one of Ana’s main intentions. 

“In teaching Forrest Yoga, I am doing my part to mend the hoop of the people – to inspire people to clear through the stuff that hardens them and sickens their bodies so they can walk freely and lightly in a healing way, in a Beauty Way.” -Ana Forrest.

Ana said this during the training and I knew immediately that this was the reason I was there. It rang so clearly and touched home in my heart. This too is my mission and I hope to do my share of helping others to heal themselves; through community teaching of yoga, teaching kids and really helping people to connect to something greater than themselves. When one is able to make a higher connection than that of their daily lives, they are able to live a fuller, more meaningful journey.  I hope to travel and teach yoga on retreats in other countries and to those who are seeking more from life.

I know it’s a very bold statement, but I want to make a positive change in people’s life: whether it’s by connecting to their breath, feeling their body, listening to what their body needs, or taking the plunge and doing a yoga training (which has been so incredibly impactful for me). Yoga is about honoring where you are and listening to what your body needs. My hope is to help people become more aware of that!

Jeannie: If someone had told you a year ago that you would now be a fully certified Forrest Yoga Teacher, what would you have said to them? Has this immense “shift” in your life surprised you?

Janine: If someone had told me a year ago that I would be a Forrest Yoga Teacher today I seriously would have had a good laugh. Not only was I not present in my own body, but I really thought I wasn’t good enough or flexible enough to teach all the poses. As a true Aries, naturally I wanted to be perfect and teach from an authentic place. At that time I don’t think that would have been possible. As I stated earlier, I really felt disconnected from myself, my Spirit and I truly felt lost without a purpose in life. But as unexpected as this turn of events has been for me, this immense “shift” has actually not surprised me because I was searching! Boy was I searching! I was searching for something more in life and now I have found it!

Jeannie: To all of the people reading this who have never practiced yoga, how would you explain the benefits to them?

Janine: Yoga is such a healing process of unraveling the body. Ana Forrest says it best,

“No matter what happens, there is healing for you if you are willing to do the work.”

If I had to summarize what yoga means for me, I would say that yoga can and regularly does do all of the following things:

  • Elevates our communities
  • Increases happiness
  • Makes you more bendy
  • Energizes our bodies and calms our minds
  • Teaches you to go deeper to find your truth
  • Encourages you to take these gifts you have learned beyond the mat and into the rest of your life
  • Honors and celebrates the beauty of life and the power of Spirit
  • Challenges you to heal and grow
  • Can change the world


Janine Glass, Malibu, CA

As you have now read, I was the lucky person that had the honor of introducing Janine to yoga. Having witnessed the profound Shift that Janine has experienced in her life, you must know that I am beyond humbled to have had this privilege. I have witnessed Janine’s life and Spirit change in radical ways, and it is clear to me that she has stepped onto her true destiny path. It is clear to me that she lost her job for a reason and that she is exactly where she is meant to be, doing exactly what she is meant to be doing.

Having journeyed through her own physical, emotional and spiritual healing with Forrest Yoga, Janine will take these powerful lessons and insights forward with her to help guide her students through their own healing. Now that Janine is a certified Forrest Yoga Teacher herself, I know that she will go on to teach the magic of yoga to hundreds and thousands of people, she will touch the hearts and Spirits of countless souls and she will continue to spread the Light.

Janine Glass resides in the Los Angeles area and is available to teach both private and group classes. She is also available to travel for workshops. She can be found on Facebook here.

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