tangled pigeon

Ana T. Forrest, medicine woman, creatrix of Forrest Yoga, and author of Fierce Medicine, talks to HeatherAsh Amara, author of Warrior Goddess Training: Become the Woman You Are Meant to Be and founder of Toci—The Toltec Center of Creative Intent, about power, codependency, and being a woman.

HeatherAsh Amara: What does it mean for women to commit to themselves? How can they do that after taking care of everyone else?

Ana T. Forrest: Why should they do it after taking care of everyone else? If our women take care of themselves first, they will bring a sense of fullness, instead of emptiness and resentment, to their other responsibilities.

Women, are you sure you need to take care of everyone else? Let’s rethink that! Can you challenge yourself and commit to being in a healthy relationship? Redesign how you shoulder your responsibilities so they are not living in your cell tissue. Be willing to track and hunt where you are being codependent. This codependent behavior also trains our loved ones to be parasites. Everybody loses in this situation.

HA: How can women learn to be strong without being pushy, controlling, or mean?

ATF: First, choose to grow into our power and integrity—make that an enticing priority. Next, experiment with redesigning your relationships, freeing yourself and loved ones from the codependent, demeaning patterns. The people living off us like parasites will be the ones complaining about us being pushy, controlling, or mean. Get ready!

For example, the teenager or young adult that the mother is always picking up after. She is actually doing them a disservice. We need to teach our young adults to be accountable for their own mess or we perpetuate their inability to take care of themselves. This is unkind and shortsighted.

Make building these skills part of your daily practice: Deep breathing, especially in challenging moments. Strong healthy boundaries. Skillful and graceful communication — build your courage by speaking the truth. Be devoted to living passionately. How’s that for a great role model?

When a woman decides to change her participation in the power structure, she needs to be willing to negotiate and truth-speak a lot. The people around her will be confused and resistant until they understand how to function in the new paradigm. My dear woman, this calls for you to step into “compassionate teacher.”

As our women learn to be strong, they will also strike out in a reactive, annoying way. Accept this as part of the learning curve to becoming skillful and graceful. Though, sometimes, verbally bitch-slapping the people that aren’t listening to you is what they need for a wake-up call!

When it feels like all the people in your intimate circle are nursing off you, growling and doing Lions is a very effective way to stop the whining, needy, grasping paws coming at you. These actions release enkephalin, a natural painkiller. This helps you feel good. Practice growling at every opportunity!

HA: What does true power mean to you?

ATF: Having the courage to embody my spirit. Explore and quest for living my life as my heart and spirit yearn for. To love wholeheartedly.

PHOTO: SOFIA VAN DER DYS | YOGA CLOTHES: KIRAGRACE
FORRESTYOGA.COM | WARRIORGODDESS.COM

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