NAANI SHEVA - Forrest Yogini & RE:treat member
After my yoga practice this morning, I met with the wonderful Naani at our favorite little bistro -- the Butcher & the Baker. Not too long ago, RE:treat asked Naani to join the action and I would like to give you all the chance to get to know this wonderful lady a little bit more!
Just like in Los Angeles, when I met Naani for the very first time, we sat across from each other, sipping our teas, exchanging yoga stories, life experiences and what not.
When Naani told me she was born in rural NY-state in a cabin in the woods with no running water, TV or other luxuries I grew up with, I thought to myself, “what a true Forrest Yogi”. Although Forrest Yoga has very little to do with the environment you practice in and much to do with the internal landscape the connect does seem natural. Raised in an alternative community with progressive parents it was no surprise that this once hippie girl grew up to be a yoga teacher.
If you get to meet Naani in person, you experience her open mind and wonderful soul straight away, as well as her devotion to the Forrest Yoga practice.
When her mother returned to med-school at the age of 38, Naani began the spilt between NY and Vermont, where she eventually attended College. After graduation Naani felt very drawn to Colorado, she had her heart set on moving to Crested Butte. On her road-trip West, she visited a friend in Telluride, ended up scoring a job within a couple of days upon arriving and decided to stay. The town’s small community, big mountains and endless days of sunshine made it easy for her to settle in. Since 2011, Naani calls Telluride home.
Her yoga practice started in college, as a way to mitigate the stress of academia. With an amazing first instructor, she started experiencing the benefits of yoga first-hand and walked out of class feeling like she could deal and handle the challenges life threw her way! So Naani kept up the practice, trying Vinyasa, Bikram and Ashtanga yoga. Even though wanting to become a certified instructor was always on the top of her list, at that time of her life, she was uncertain which yoga style was the right one for her. I am sure each and everyone can relate to this as there are so many different styles and practices of yoga available and such huge and endless variety can be completely overwhelming.
A close Aunt suggested Ana Forrest’s book, Fierce Medicine. After reading Naani was eager to learn more and followed Ana to a Yoga Journal conference. Blown away by Ana Forrest, the physically and emotionally engaging class, she was hooked. The emphasis on breath, alignment and quality of attention created a more dynamic or ass-kicking class than Naani had ever experience.
Intrigued and feeling an intuitive pull toward Forrest Yoga, Naani commited to the month long intensive Forrest Yoga Teacher Training. She spent the spring of 2013 in California, studying under Ana in San Francisco.
During the YTTC, students spent the long days learning, teaching and practicing Asana and sequencing from day one. Ana also incorporates a large spiritual aspect into her trainings, teaching her students how to live in a way that embodies spirit. Breath, asanas and awareness are just some of the tools to maintain your own spirit within yourself. This authenticity and honesty very much resonated with Naani. Different to most other yoga teacher trainings, Ana Forest did not incorporate Vedic tradition into the training but focused on Native American meditation. Ana is a pipe carrier (Medicine Woman) of two tribes and this choice seems natural.
After completing her YTTC, Naani felt like she needed to follow an open path and ended up traveling around the country searching for “the place” to live.
She soon came to the conclusion that nowhere gripped her like Telluride.
When Telluride Yoga Festival included a senior Forrest Yoga teacher, Allison English, whom Naani had studied with previously, she made a return to the small box canyon and assisted English during her workshop at the Yoga Festival. The town re-absorbed her and as soon as Naani was back in town, opportunities kept popping up.
Naani became very committed to teaching and is now on the regular schedule at Studio E in Telluride. She teaches her super popular Forrest Yoga classes and her great spirit, wonderful and happy personality draws many practitioners into the small space on main street.
For now, Naani will continue to live, practice and dream in this wonderful little town Telluride.
Naani will be teaching at several RE:treat events, so look out people!
Wonderful things are coming your way.
Naani can be found at: www.naanisheva.com
For more information about Forrest Yoga, visit Ana Forrest's website: http://www.forrestyoga.com
Babsi @ elevatedretreat