There’s a certain kind of person who radiates an infectuous kind of aliveness.They can command a room and capture your attention with contagious enthusiasm. You probably know someone like this. Now imagine you had fifteen of these individuals all in one room rocking out. Imagine the kind of excited energy that would create.
That will give you a good sense of the amazing power coming at the conference attendees as we gathered together for the evening kickoff to the Wind Horse conference. Assembled in a large gymnasium with towering mountains around us, Ana welcomed us and introduced her staff and the stars of the conference: the thirteen (and two in training) guardian teachers. Forrest yoga guardian teachers are individuals that Ana has hand-selected to carry on the Forrest Yoga lineage. These teachers are committed to mentoring, teaching, and evolving the practice of Forrest Yoga. While Ana is teaching morning classes at the conference, the spotlight is on the guardian teachers who will be teaching their own workshops. I’m eager too experience how this very diverse group of practitioners have their own interpretation of Forrest Yoga. The guardians made dramatic entrances, striking all kinds of joyous yoga poses as they were presented.
Ana’s medicine brother and sister, Alex Turtle and Chenoa Egawa, both Native American healers, are also playing a key role in the conference, leading evening ceremony gatherings. Tonight they led us in two different chants. The first chant involved a lot of drumming and everyone getting up and dancing around. Frequently this was interrupted by hugging and loud exclamations as people recognized and embraced people they knew. I ran into a handful of people from my teacher trainings, as well as a whole contingent of folks from the bay area.
Now to the uninitiated, these whole proceedings may seem a bit cult-like. I admit the first time drums came out at a Forrest workshop, I squirmed uncomfortably and hoped the yoga part was coming soon. And I’m still not totally into the ceremony thing. What I DO get out of it is that free sense to just let loose a little in a safe space with others who are trying to break free from wondering how silly they look and sound. Chenoa reminded us that while we might feel self-conscious aboiut singing if we don’t have much singing ability, in Native American tradition, it’s taught that everyone has a voice to sing. So off-key and all, I joined in the celebration.
I am fortunate enough to be traveling with and rooooming with the awesome Abbie, aka A Grateful Yogi. We will both be to live-blogging more from the conference, so be sure to check out her dispatches as well as further beauty reports . This is the Penguin signing off.