fierce medicine: book review

In my first-ever class with Ana Forrest at the New York Yoga Journal Conference, she asked us while sitting cross-legged to place one hand on our genitals, the other on our anus, and to make a high-pitched buzzing sound with our voices.

I consider myself an open-minded individual, but at that moment all I was thinking is: What. The. Eff.

a ballroom full of buzzing yogis

But I closed my eyes, followed her instructions, and buzzed. The entire hotel ballroom buzzed. The sound was vibrational and not unlike a swarm of insects.

When we got into the asana part of the workshop, Ana had a different way of instructing us into poses. In trikonasana my neck and gaze were adjusted to a place that left me feeling a new sense of freedom. I left the class feeling a little conflicted about my practice and what I’d known to be “right”, but more than anything I was curious about Ana, so I didn’t hesitate to accept when I received an email asking if I’d like to read her book, Fierce Medicine.

what it's about

Fierce Medicine is part autobiography, part how-to-use-yoga-in-the-real-world (with photos and clear instructions), and part self-help motivational (which is a bookstore section I am always drawn to).

why we buzzed

In Chapter 5, Ana explains what Brahmari breathing, which is sometimes called ‘bee breath’, is and how to use it to wake up and align the seven energy centres in your body. On using it for the first chakra, Ana said: “If you can restore that core fire, that magma, that heartbeat of the earth, what would be ignited in your creativity, your cell structure, your body’s ability to cleanse and renew itself?” All of a sudden the genital-buzzing from New York didn’t seem so weird and random anymore.

in summary

Read this book if:

  • there is any area in your life where you want to bring more power
  • you are interested in yoga as a healing tool
  • you took a class with Ana and wondered why she asked you to touch your genitals and make a humming sound

Avoid this book if:

  • you are not interested in change
  • your life is perfect

Ana’s writing is real, honest, funny, and inspiring. It’s the kind of book I’ll read again, in parts or as a whole, and recommend to friends.

What have you been reading lately?

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I just read Chrissie Wellington’s book A World Without Limits and I loved it! Chrissie is so inspiring, down to earth and awesome. I pretty much want to be her :)

Comment by Jenn @ RunItMyWay — October 31, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

** A Life Without Limits, oops!

Comment by Jenn @ RunItMyWay — October 31, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

Thanks for the recommendation!

Comment by Kate Hubbard — October 31, 2012 @ 9:05 pm

I’m part way through this book and I have mixed feelings. Their are moments where I feel inspired by Ana’s “fierce” attitude. Their are other times when I feel like her attitude borders on unkind (unnecessary comments about weight)and she comes across as egotistical (references to the superiority of the Forrest yoga tradition and her prowess as a healer). I’d suggest flipping through it before you buy – her voice certainly isn’t for everyone.

Comment by Bee — November 21, 2012 @ 9:53 am

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