If you want to be a Forrest Yoga teacher, you'll have to do more than enroll in any ol' 200-hour yoga teacher training. You'll have to train with Ana Forrest herself. Then, you might be mentored by one of 20 Forrest Yoga Guardians, who have been handpicked and trained by Forrest to become ambassadors of the practice and mentors to less experienced teachers.
A recent New York Times article described Forrest Yoga as a "rigorous style with no less a goal than curing the ails of the modern world." Forrest Yoga Guardians help Forrest spread that message.
"Each Forrest Yoga Guardian has gone through intensive training with Ana to learn the skills required to be a mentor for teachers," explains the Forrest Yoga website, ForrestYoga.com.
You can be certain that when Ana Forrest says "intensive training," she's not joking around. She's the shamanic-high priestess-of-healing in the yoga world, blending Native American and other spiritual teachings with a warriorlike fierceness to, as she says on her site, "help people embody their Spirit, not go through life fragmented."
Forrest Yoga Guardians complete a rigorous training program. Erica Mather, 35, who lives in Harlem, told the Times that she had done a 200-hour training with Forrest, 400 hours of field work, a nine-day advanced teacher training, and a one-week Forrest Yoga mentorship training. She also meets with Forrest annually and serves as a mentor to others who are in the process of training.
To many students, such high teacher-training standards gives Forrest Yoga credibility, but others are turned off by yoga styles that are so closely tied to one teacher's persona. "Ugh! More proprietary yoga!" was the response to the article from Twitter user gogoyogini, a yoga teacher in Las Vegas.
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Photo credit: Federica Villabrega