OUR FIRST FORREST YOGA WORKSHOP IN THE NORTH WEST!

This post is long overdue or perhaps not. Maybe I simply needed the time to think it through and really realise what went on when Jambo Truong came to teach.

I met Jambo during my Foundation Teacher Training with Ana Forrest. He was one of her five assistants during the month we spent training at Equilibrium in Peterborough.

Jambo is based in Newcastle upon Tyne which is just across the river from the Land of My Birth and although I am ages older than him I always feel he has much to teach me.

Energy is what envelops you when you work with Jambo. Enthusiasm and a passion for teaching Forrest Yoga are self-evident.

I have been teaching yoga quietly in South Manchester for the past five years or so and began a Forrest class towards the end of 2012. 

This particular workshop was all about Arm Balancing. A daunting subject for myself and many others. I love to keep my feet firmly on the ground and feel very out of my depth if asked to use my hands/arms as my anchors to the earth.

Before the workshop I met with Jambo and Thuli for our own practice of three hours. Thuli and I were to assist during the afternoon. Forrest Yoga is well known for there being assistants quietly moving around the room doing adjustments or a massage into a tight spot. I know from my own training that their presence gave me much and helped hugely to build my confidence as each person brought in their particular skills, words of comfort and support. They work incredibly hard.

Many of those attending had never done a specific Forrest class, although all of my students are influenced by Ana’s teachings. And then there were those who I did not know at all and came out of curiosity leaving their own teachings at the door.

Forrest Yoga is sequenced in a very particular way so as to warm up the core(spine) using pranayama at the beginning and then moving into abdominal work and then ever onwards….

Jambo built up to everyone being able to taste, at the very least the sense of being in that place of upsidedowness. Partner work helped people relax and find the fun in yoga and also for some it enabled them to ‘know’ another in a new way and learn to trust each other. 

The posture part of the afternoon led to lots of people discovering new things about themselves and, hopefully, some realising their power in a very different way.

We had a brief break..Jambo’s timekeeping is the very least of his concerns! This I realised rather late in the day, leading me to be extremely bossy about time thereafter and miraculously we finished on time, but only just.

One of the lovely young women attending baked muffins and made chocolate…thanks to Antonia we were wonderfully nourished by healthful sweetmeats!

We gathered again for some bodywork which led to rather deep emotional processing by some of those present. Jambo, Thuli and I felt that a Talking Circle was necessary and to end we gathered in The Circle again to Call in the Ancestors.

I received much feedback and it was a joy to hear that so many had so enjoyed themselves. For some there were several very different practices to take on board. Forrest Yoga is known for its intensity, it is in your face and it demands that you really look deep within. It is not soft, loving and gentle,although as you practice more and more you definitely find that soft, gentle place deep within. This happens as we peel away the layers of protection and crap that we armour ourselves with.

Ana asks that we ‘stalk our fear’ and there is no easy ‘Om way’ to do that in my opinion. I, personally felt deep anger, resentment and even hatred as I moved into the ceremony that is Forrest. Every single assistant and Ana, herself, received the depths of my nastiness. It was heard! Eventually I moved on to a new sense of me. It took many more months of home practice and processing to bring me to today.

So rest assured I heard all that was shared with me. Hopefully, those for whom it was not what they expected will one day return and take another peak into this deep and powerful way of working. I also want to say that it was fun…I have attended many yoga workshops over the years and occasionally they have been so bloody serious that I have almost lost the will to live. I am ‘mature’ (read over middle age) now and after 17 years of yoga feel it’s absolutely fine for me to say I need to do things that make me laugh and feel joyful. I do not want to spend time becoming anal about what I do and don’t know about yoga. 

Forrest Yoga suits me because it is different and it allows me to explore all that my body can do as I move into this elder stage of my life. My actual age matters to no one but myself! And so I can for the first time in my life do a forearm balance and I’m almost up there in Crow! Thanks to my Forrest teachers all things (almost) are possible.

On a very personal note, I became ill two days later and stayed ill for several weeks! I felt that all the inversion practice literally shook the shit out of me. On a very intuitive level I know some deep healing has occurred and I am still healing.

There is to be more of Jambo….Aho

Thank you to Thuli who everyone loved and many thanks to Jambo, you inspired us!
All photographs are of Jambo who kindly donated them..thank you!

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