Arts & Culture
4:42 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Jazz Musician Stretches Creative Limbs as Yoga Instructor

Lake Effect's Mitch Teich interviews yoga instructor and musician Erica Mather.

A popular Wisconsin jazz musician stepped back from the piano to become a New York yoga instructor.

Yoga instructor Erica Mather
Credit Pravassa/Erica Mather

Not so many years ago, Erica Mather was among the most popular performers on the jazz circuit in Madison. Her piano, singing, and composition work led to a couple of albums, and brought her to venues around the state.

But Mather moved to New York for graduate school, and then found herself taking on a different calling – that of an instructor in a highly specialized, highly intense practice called Forrest Yoga, named for its founder, Ana Forrest.

She warns that this modern yoga approach is not for the faint of heart.

"We get, in Forrest Yoga, what we refer to as ‘intensity junkies,'" she says. "And those people tend to come and dive deep into the practice."

Mather’s work has boomed, and her practice was the feature of a story in the New York Times not long ago. She has appeared at the Bali Spirit Festival, the first Annual Forrest Yoga Conference "Wind Horse," and conducted a workshop in Milwaukee earlier this spring. She's also completed a month-long residency at the Tembok Spa in Bali.

Mather also runs a video blog about yoga-related topics, like practicing imperfection, self-inquiry versus selfishness and the embedded video on yoga and the psychology of eating.

We played a song from her CD, “The Millenium Song Cycle,” called – appropriately – "March."