Ana Forrest is the Founder of Forrest Yoga and author of Fierce Medicine: Breakthrough Practices to Heal the Body and Ignite the Spirit.
Jose Calarco, is the Director of Descendance Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Dance Theatre and Forrest Yoga
Together, this husband and wife duo are pioneers of the Western adaption of yoga. In their signature style Ana and Jose weave intelligent sequencing that is intentional as it is intense with song, invocation and smoke blessing.
This month Ana and Jose are set to run four incredible workshops in studio that promise to romance your spirit, rekindle the fire of passion and pleasure, and bring healing and inspiration into your life on and off the mat.
You two have an interesting story about how you met?
Jose: “We met in the lift at BodyMindLife! That night I was with three of my Aboriginal performers in full traditional attire and I saw her and said, ‘are you Ana Forrest’ and she replied “sometimes. Who are you?”… and I said, “you will find out.”
Ana: “It was an unbelievable collision of worlds. I had travelled to the studio to launch my book and Jose performed an Aboriginal ceremony to welcome me. At the time I had been praying for a chance to visit “Uluru”, make contact with the Aborigines, and meet my life partner.
“Then Jose came into the room with his three Aboriginal warriors, I felt this laughter inside. Little did I know Jose would fulfill my three wishes.”
Jose: “We were married less than a year later.”
How long ago was that?
Jose: “Almost four years ago exactly.”
Ana: “Valentine’s Day fell on one of those days I was in Sydney and Jose came to my hotel to help me with some music, and brought me a boomerang as a present. He said it was so I would come back to Australia. But a boomerang is a weapon. And that’s what I took the gift to mean. To me that was the perfect gift that sealed everything – I’m a fighter and my work is to help people find a life of balance and beauty.”
Tell us about Forrest Yoga – how is it different from Vinyasa yoga or other styles we know of?
Ana: It’s really a one-stop therapy session. Forrest Yoga is a much more holistic experience than other forms of yoga, attending to all parts of our being: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The practice blends intelligent sequencing, breath, invocation, music, first nations wisdom, and ceremony, all into a fascinating journey to make connection with our spirit.
Jose: “This unique combination results in a radical change in how students breathe and move. The experience is so much more than physical poses – there’s a certain magic that comes into the room that fills the holes that are in so many of us.”
What can students expect from the workshops with you both?
Ana: “We’re taking people to places they’ve never been before. Each workshop will begin with a smoking and purification ceremony to live music (meditation) and then we’ll move into traditional song that acknowledges our ancestors (invocation).
This is followed by the setting of intent, a beautiful pranayama practice, then a hot sweat-filled class (Sweat Lodge Yoga) that culminates with live dreamtime music during Savasana.”
Jose: “Our music is like nothing else out there. Like First Nations, we intentionally run the music into the bones and core, and help bring yogis into a place we term “The Second Attention” – a fertile space underneath the mental clutter of the neurotic mind.”
Why do you do what you do?
Ana: “We LOVE what we do. We’ve spent a lifetime cultivating our dreams and we have created a business that combines everything we’ve ever learned – yoga, music, film, writing, poetry, prayer, travel, healing, culture, ceremony, teaching, connection to nature, and entrepreneurship It’s this integration of different elements that has seen transformations in the lives of thousands of our students.”
Check out Jose and Ana’s latest song ‘Spirit Eagle’.
About Ana Forrest
Ana Forrest 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.
About Jose Calarco
Jose Calarco has a rich international history in both indigenous culture as the director of Descendance Aboriginal www.descendance.com.au and the contemporary arts: spanning over a period of 30 years and through more than 40 countries. Jose’s vast experiences have seen him develop a unique style as a performing musician, songwriter and artistic director.
In 2014 Jose joined forces with international yoga legend Ana Forrest www.forrestyoga.com as a ceremonial director, medicine man and musical shaman: providing artistic and cultural direction into Ana’s international yoga events. Jose and Ana’s synergetic collision of worlds is today reshaping the future of yoga.
One of José’s career highlights took place in 2004 when his dance company “Descendance” won world’s best indigenous live act in South Korea at the UNESCO hosted “World Culture Open”: Jose has created performances for international dignitaries such as: Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman, The Dalai Lama, Queen Elizabeth, Justin Timberlake, and Cate Blanchett, to name but a few.