Name: Gregory Jamiel
Location: Portland, Oregon
Mentor: Kelley Rush and Willow Ryan
Forrest Yoga training: FYTT 2012 Denver, FYMP 2012 Carnation WA, FYATT Denver 2013
Forrest Yoga Assisting: Will be assisting for the first time in October 2014
3-5 words explaining your practice: inspiring, magical, and connecting
Greg’s path to Forrest Yoga has had some twists of fate. He had been working for ten years as a Design Director for a major media company and in 2009, when the US economy took a dive, his whole division in Portland was closed and moved to New York City. “I didn’t want to move, so I stayed in Portland putting back together the pieces of my life, asking myself, ‘Who am I now that I’m not this designer?’ Greg began going to lots of yoga classes and eventually met Willow Ryan who turned him on to Forrest Yoga. He loved it. “I thought about Ana’s quote, “Evolve or Die” and I decided to evolve in a way that I could continue doing my art…and go deeper into my love of Forrest Yoga.” He began working for the Forrest Yoga organization in 2011 as the Creative Services and Social Media director, and in 2013 he became the proud owner of Portland’s only exclusively Forrest Yoga studio, Inner Elements. “I have been loving this new path each and every step of the way!” Greg particularly loves it when the FY tribe gathers together. “Forrest Yoga is more than a style of yoga, for me it is truly my family. We speak the same language. We know what it means to Go Deeper. We walk our lives in our entirety: triumphs, wounds, challenges, and brilliance. Greg has tried, and continues to try, different styles and teachers but he keep coming back to Forrest. “ For me, Forrest Yoga is my heart, it is the only practice that resonates with my truth. Forrest Yoga has not only changed my life, it has become my life, it’s saturated every aspect of it, and I am very grateful for that!
Greg is inspired by so many in his Forrest Yoga Family. “Ana shows me the gentler, loving, softer side of the Tiger; Willow Ryan inspires my desire for more knowledge; Kelley Rush teaches me to feel the preciousness and power of life; Catherine Allen inspires me to keep going on my quest to free myself of my old beliefs; Alex Turtle and Chenoa Egawa mentor me to believe and love myself.” Greg’s inspired when he sees newer students, like Susan Bella, start her practice, follow their heart and go on to complete the Foundation Training, And students, like Wendy Townsend who makes this practice her own. “There isn’t one teacher in Forrest Yoga” he says. “We are a Hoop, we all teach, inspire, and hold space for each other to do the work we need to do to become stronger, more evolved, and free.”
Greg loves all the Forest Yoga Songs. In fact, drumming them has become one of his most favorite things to do. “When I first tried it, I was like…you want me to drum? AND sing… WTF?! But, after doing it for a while, I absolutely love it.” As an artist, he has a particular love for May All People since he’s been drawing, painting, and sculpting things that are beautiful all his life. “When I lost my design job and evolved to teaching yoga I realized that I am bringing that same Beauty into the world, but in a different way. Before I would paint a picture and hope to inspire people to have an emotional response to the piece of art. Now, in every class I hope to encourage people to feel beautiful, powerful, and hopeful…in themselves! Same goal, just in a new language! My hope is that we ALL can Walk in Beauty!” Here’s a video of Inner Elements studio singing and drumming “May All People”
Greg’s contribution to Mending the Hoop of the People is infused in his teaching. “I want people to feel the true power that lives within each and every one of us.” He teaches from his own experiences – “by tracking “truths” within myself, I was able to release the ones that were not my own and deepen relationships with the ones that are.” The underlying focus of Greg’s teaching is “to help guide, support, and encourage people to stand and connect with their Spirit, and together hunt, remove, and clear out the places in their body and lives where fear takes the lead, allowing them to unleash their own deepest truth!” Something of particular importance to Greg, is equal rights for his LGBT community. “I was ashamed of who I was for so many years growing up gay and hiding it from so many people. I am strong and confident now about who I am.”
Greg personally invites you to come to beautiful Portland – the City of Roses – for the weekend of Oct 2-5, 2014. “We are planning an amazing weekend of beautiful events, workshops, and celebrations! We will be hosting the first ever Global Forrest Yoga Drum Circle, and Ana Forrest will be there! Join Ana Forrest, the Portland based Forrest Yoga teachers, and 100+ people drumming, chanting, and celebrating the powerful call of the drum! I would love to hear from you” Visit Inner Elements Studio and contact Greg at +1 503.234.7678 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Photo of Greg by: Benjamin Lewis