A few weeks ago I enjoyed the privilege of assisting Ana Forrest and her husband, Jose Calarco, at a weekend event in Newcastle. A series of five workshops themed around ‘Building a warrior’s heart’.
And this was exactly what the experience did for me as an assistant.
It connected me to my own warrior’s heart.
Powerful stuff. Yet, until now, I wasn’t sure how to articulate or make sense of the experience. It was amazing, intense, demanding, fun and hugely challenging all in equal measure. There were moments when I felt completely in the zone. In my power. In love with the work. And other moments when I questioned why I was doing it. Why I was putting myself under this pressure. Whether or not I was even good enough to be there.
This was the real power of the experience.
It held up a mirror for me to look deep into my own process and learn more about myself.
About my own practice. About my assisting skills. About my inner dialogue. About all the ways I still hold myself back. Doubt myself. Speak badly to myself.
Yet it also held up a mirror for me to see how far I’ve come over the past four years. About the trust I’ve built up in myself. About all the skills I’ve acquired in relation to my yoga practice, my teaching, my assisting.
As always Ana was an incredible teacher. Nurturing yet direct. Playful yet no-nonsense. Intuitive, challenging, wise and straightforward. She sees you for who you are. She knows when you’ve zoned out or gone into your own bullshit. She snaps you straight out.
As a member of her assisting team she demands that you bring your best self. She asks you to feel what she is teaching with your whole body. To use your highest quality breath, energy and focus to connect deeply with the process and hold space for the students. She sees your power even when you doubt it yourself. As a result you find yourself stepping up. It’s terrifying. And exhilarating. You find yourself doing things you never thought possible on and off the yoga mat.
In a nut shell, the experience revealed my own strengths and areas for growth with startling and, at times, painful clarity.
In doing so it enabled me to continue building my own warrior’s heart. It made me appreciate how far I’ve come and what is still possible. I will take these lessons. I will keep practicing with awareness and compassion for myself and others. I will keep sharing my passions. And I will meet you there on the mat! Aho!