First of all, nothing but deep respect for Ana Forrest as she shares her life story and how she triumphed over incredible obstacles including extreme childhood trauma and several addictive, self-destructive behaviors.  In the book you’ll learn techniques for disrupting and breaking physically and emotionally unhealthy habits.  Most of these techniques Ana discovered while facing the negative consequences of a brutal upbringing.  As readers, we observe her personal evolution as she discovers the power of yoga, meditation and Native American spirituality to help refine the methods of self-improvement she uses to sustain her progression to a more-realized being.

This really is the most fascinating and rewarding part of the read.  Ana’s ability to share the sadness and triumph of her story with unflinching truth, but without relying upon a sensationalist rendering of her abuse is a testament to her determination to “Mend the Hoop of the People.” Her use of the Native American spiritual framework refers to Ana’s mission, “to create in each of us a sense of freedom, a connection to our Spirit and the courage to walk as our Spirit dictates, and thus enable us to do our part in Mending the Hoop of the People.” (as taken from her website)  The effort to connect individual’s with their spirits is at the heart of Forest yoga and the book.  Ana shares valuable information about how to overcome seemingly impossible circumstances through a real life application of mindfulness practices and yoga postures.

That being said, the yoga aspect of the book is the least valuable. The inaccurate anatomy and superficial descriptions of the physical effects an asana practice couldl have on the body are easily disputed with a basic understanding of anatomy and physiology.  An example would be how Ana says that in order to get cerebrospinal fluid flowing optimally you have to practice lengthening the spine (you obviously know this isn’t true since you read our post about that yoga myth). But if one is able to look beyond the erroneous physical attributes of the yoga practice it can be a valuable tool to a person struggling with feeling more comfortable in her own body, especially when handling deep-seated emotional trauma.  The strength and courage with which Ana confronts emotional detritus is a powerful demonstration to students that have been running from unresolved histories.  In this regard, Ana’s light as a teacher shines brightest.  Ana keeps it REAL! She does not allow her “status” as a yoga teacher to interfere with her ability to help readers and students to really see the uglier sides of ourselves that we would rather ignore, for she knows this ignorance is malignant.

If you are ready for intense/soulful work buy this book.  If you are not ready for intense/soulful work buy this book.  Fierce Medicine will help you to stir up the energy you need to take charge of creating a better life for yourself. The guided meditations in the book (particularly the Death Meditation) are gold.  Afraid to sit down with yourself?  It’ll be like Ana is there with you showing you how to find the courage to continue into your personal darkness to emerge into light.  Her energy medicine is some crazy good healing shit!  Do the yoga, because it feels good and don’t internalize all she says about the anatomy.  But do take in what she says about being in charge of and transforming the energy inside and around you.

We thank Ana for sharing her story and her work for Mending the Hoop.