Ana Forrest &
M A K I N G A D I F F E R E N C E
With eyes closed, Jamie draws a breath and takes it deep into her belly,
as if her very life depended on it; her head and upper body scoop into
upward-facing dog pose. She drinks in another breath, lifts her hips up,
and presses into downward-facing dog. All the while she focuses on the
flow of her breath, in and out, feeding her body, mind, and spirit in a
way that drugs and alcohol never could. This is not just another yoga
student in another yoga class: Jamie is a recovering addict, and yoga has
become her new lifeline, her ticket out of a dead-end future.
One of the most recent graduates of yogaHOPE’s certificate pro-
gram, Jamie is also the first student to be mentored. Her experience has
been life altering: “I’ve never completed anything in my life or given
my ‘all’ to something,” she says, “but through this program I’ve been
able to completely give myself to the practice of yoga and use it as one
of my coping mechanisms. It’s helped me work a lot on my self-accept-
ance and my spirituality.”
While many individuals and organizations offer free classes to
underserved women in recovery and transition facilities, Sue Jones, a
41-year-old wife and mother of two young boys, had a bigger vision for
yogaHOPE. In addition to regular yoga classes, these women are given
access to a certificate of completion program and a mentoring program,
hence the moniker HOPE, which stands for Healing Ourselves through
Master yoga instructor Ana Forrest came on board earlier this year
to lend her support and her national network of teachers to the cause.
She plans to offer openings in her teacher trainings to the young women
who pass the certificate program and want to become fully certified.
YogaHOPE will provide the funding.
Drawing from her own experience of drug addiction and recovery,
Ana is a perfect partner for this venture. “I think that we evolve through
the fires that we have to walk through,” she says. “I know that’s been