Video Fitness

Strength & Spirit

Ana Forrest

Ana is incredible. If I could pick only one live class, it would be hers. Her style of yoga, Forrest Yoga, is a blend of deep stretching and mild strength work – note I didn’t say *easy*, though. This video concentrates on the shoulders, upper back, and hips. Ana has a very calming voice and is easy to follow and understand. Plus she can do things I can only dream about (although in this tape, she doesn’t make you do anything too advanced). This workout is just under an hour, and it gets an A+ from me.

Annie S.


Ana has a great voice and is very explicit in her instruction. She's just incredible!

Instructor comments: I love this video! I would say its for the intermediate but could appeal to levels above and below. Ana's voice soothes as she instructs you. She constantly encourages you attention to form, to be aware of your body and to enjoy each pose and each aspect or modification of it. She places great emphasis on keeping the neck relaxed and since this is an area I have a problem in I appreciate her reminders and they are helping greatly. I am so pleased with this purchase and want to thank those Vfer's who brought it to my attention.

Lori M

August 12, 2004

Ana is incredible. If I could pick only one live class, it would be hers. Her style of yoga, Forrest Yoga, is a blend of deep stretching and mild strength work – note I didn’t say *easy*, though. This video concentrates on the shoulders, upper back, and hips. Ana has a very calming voice and is easy to follow and understand. Plus she can do things I can only dream about (although in this tape, she doesn’t make you do anything too advanced). This workout is just under an hour, and it gets an A+ from me.

Instructor comments:

Annie S.


Strength and Spirit is a wonderfully unique yoga video which provides the kind of detailed instruction that you'd find in an actual live yoga class. Led by Ana Forrest, it features a class of six students of all ages and abilities; Ana alternates between displaying the movements with amazing grace and flexibility and moving amongst her students offering form guidelines and corrections. At the start of the class, she encourages the students to identify an area of focus in their bodies, and throughout the practice, she places a strong emphasize on breathing, reminding students to breathe into their focus areas in particular.

The practice starts in a seated position with uddiyana, the abdominal lock; Ana follows this with a seated forward bend and twist. Then it's on to hands and knees for dophin prelude and dolphin to open up the shoulders. Back in a seated position, you will do a side bend with a neck release and then lie flat on the mat for abs work. This is the most challenging segment of the practice, as Ana has you move very slowly while taking looong, deep breaths, first doing a bicycle movement and then pelvic raises with a second mat rolled up between your legs (I use my Pilates circle for this move).

The second half of the practice centers around standing poses interspersed with gentle backbending movements. The first standing series includes down dog, warrior 1, easy twisting warrior, lunge, and lunge twist (similar to prayer twist, but with a change in arms position). The floor work which follows is an easy half boat pose, and then it's back to down dog. The next standing series consists of a lunge with forearms to the floor, first with the back knee down and then lifting the knee; you then return to the floor for full boat. Coming back into down dog, you move into warrior 2 for some particularly nice shoulder work, first combining a shoulder roll/pinch with breathing and then opening the shoulders further using eagle arms. The final back work is cobra pose performed twice.

After a last down dog, you move into pyramid and then pigeon with a forward bend. Following this, you return to a seated position for one final neck stretch before going back to the floor for savasana. Although the relaxation portion lasts only about 3 minutes, Ana encourages you to remain in savasana for as much time as you have; without an extended savasana, the entire practice clocks in at just under 55 minutes. I've found that every time I do this video, I learn new things from Ana, as she provides an amazing amount of detail. The pace of the whole practice is quite leisurely, yet the time goes by surprisingly quickly, and I am always left feeling relaxed and refreshed. I would recommend this video to all levels of yoga practitioners, although those brand new to yoga will probably want to learn the poses elsewhere. Overall, this is a very enjoyable practice with a skilled and competent instructor.

Instructor comments: Ana is calm and competent throughout. She is serious in her manner yet very supportive and encouraging of her students. Her form information is detailed and often unique, and she is continuing cueing deep ujjayi breathing.

Beth C (aka toaster)

February 5, 2005

This is the most used video in my collection. I'm pleased to announce that it has recently come out on dvd - combined with Ana's extraordinary demonstration tape - Embodying Spirit - for only $20 with S&H - visit

This is a beginner practice you can grow with. Ana hits all the spots - neck releases, abdominal strengthening, shoulder openers, hip openers, upper body strengthening. I have used this program dozens and dozens of times. I never tire of it. If I'm distractred or somehow not in the mood, I *know* Ana will focus me.

The music and set have a native american feel, Ana teachers a class of 6-8 students. She's focused, experienced - who could ask for more.

Instructor comments: Ana Forrest is a true yogi and a true teacher - one of the best yoga teachers in the country.

Jane C

February 11, 2005

this is a 60 min practice... the poses are basic yet i find ana's
instruction and visualizations to be so detailed that i really get alot of out the poses.
i get much more benefit from this tape than i do from any
other beginning yoga tape that i own. the back of the tape describes the practice as 'mindful' and i think that is a very good way of putting it.

ana has a class of students with her and she provides constant correction and reassurance to all of them. it is like i am in the class with them as i make all of the corrections as well. she also provides lots of instruction on not only how to breathe properly and when to inhale/exhale
but also instructs us as to where in the body to direct the breath and i find that to be very helpful.
the music is new-agey which is suitable.

another reason why i decided to do this video is that ana asks us to pick a particular spot of the body to concentrate on for the practice and i have had a really big kink in my neck all day. so during my yoga session tonight i thought alot about that area of my neck and upper back, thinking
about stretching it out and breathing into it. it still is giving me some pain but i do feel some relief and my headache is gone now. i had also felt my shoulders creeping up to my ears all day due to the kink, and now im carrying them down and back and my neck and upper back area is much more open.

i also like how she instructs the class to really relax the neck and
to hang the head during the poses instead of twisting the neck to follow through on poses. this was especially beneficial for me this evening considering the kink that i have.

i just want to also add that i like the ab section in this practice. i always like those yoga sessions that have some ab work in them.

Instructor comments: ana's voice is so calm and even, quite soothing and relaxing. there is absolutely nothing that is annoying about her, in my opinion.

Carolyn Visser

Many excellent reviews have already been written, but after experiencing Strength & Spirit for the first time, I am compelled to add my praise.

I’m an intermediate practitioner with several physical limitations, being particularly limited by my wrists. This practice does use the hands but without reliance on repetitive sun salutations. I can do salutation routines with the aid of grip blocks, but did not need them for Strength & Spirit. For tender wrist days, modified plank on the hands and knees instead of hands and toes would suffice, and Ana encourages students to modify. Refreshingly – thankfully – liberatingly – the vigor of this practice comes from Ana’s unique method of traveling throughout the body, releasing and empowering, without reliance on 1500 sun salutations for strength.

Ana Forrest is a gifted teacher. I have heard her described as stern or hard but for me, what translates is a woman compassionate about teaching, who will not settle for anything less than giving her students every inch of a perfect yoga session. Her attention to deep, cleansing breathing; to releasing the neck and shoulders and maintaining proper neck position; to strengthening the body from within have to be experienced. I particularly liked the Warrior II sequence with shoulder opening in which she encourages you to “milk” the back muscles.

Shavasana is the best I’ve experienced. I am one who cannot just melt away - I try to hard to relax. After this workout your body is a limp rag, loose as beach grass rifled by a sea breeze. Ana leads you through visualizations which continue to draw energy from all of the elements of nature, and therefore I felt no need to force myself into relaxation. Yet somehow it happened!

The studio set and music are airy and reflective of Native American culture. This yoga practice transcends an A+. I rate it as extraordinary.

Instructor comments: A strong and dedicated woman, superb teacher. I would go so far as to call her a sage.


January 8, 2005

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