Foresta Academy is an international learning community co-creating experiences for different audiences within the hybrid field and transdisciplinary approach. Learning experiences we offer are taking place within the larger context of cultural transformation in different areas — organisational change, new learning formats for educational and cultural institutions, as well as personal sustainability for general public — all rooted in values of embodied culture. These learning experiences are dedicated to the search of new forms around questions how we want to live, work and learn in more sustainable, honest and creative ways.
How would a more integrated world look like? How would being a more integrated human look and feel like? Multiple intelligences. Multiple senses. Multiple forces. Allowed. Heard. Taken into account. One organism. Intellectual. Emotional. Intuitive. Physical. Spiritual. Somatic. Artistic. Relational. Creative. What kind of world would we build then? How would we learn? How would we work? What would we care for? How would we build relationships, as well as physical environments for different needs? What would we eat and how would we grow our food? How would we relate to the natural environments of this planet? Which stories would we tell? How would we live?
We see a more integrated human being born from the unity of one’s awareness, experience and creation of meaning, as well as their sincere expression, that we describe as embodied culture. It’s when our awareness expands inwards and outwards to include our personal multilayered perception of ourselves in the world and the world in ourselves. Embodied culture is a soil to all learning experiences we design and facilitate at Foresta Academy. It means that physicality, emotions, spirit, intellect, intuition, creativity, all find their place in the learning experiences we offer, relying on a variety of ways of knowing and tools of expressing. We aim to create learning experiences where life wisdom is closely linked to a skill, knowledge, practice or anything that the subject of the workshop informs. So that anything we do becomes grounded in our honest experience based on inner and outer awareness.
Foresta Academy is a space to open and deepen, perceive and imagine, re-root and evolve. A place for learning and creating rather than being entertained and distracted. A space for exploration, improvisation and collective experimentation rooted in an expanded field of attention, inspired by the integrity of Earth’s living systems, tradition of dialogue, deep collaboration, and devoted to the cultivation of wellbeing, joy and inner gardens.
Values and Principles
*Embodied Culture and Integrity
Historically in our western society body and mind are considered to be separate. This is visible in our philosophy, education, health system, as well as in everyday life, the way we perceive ourselves and the world around. Even though it is not yet fully understood how fundamentally the body influences the way we are, there is growing evidence from studies and clinical research that explore and describe this connection. The body forms the way we are perceiving life, thinking, feeling, and relating to others. It shapes our reality, our being in the world, the way we make decisions and choices.
— Gabor Mate
Foresta Academy is rooted in what we call embodied culture. Culture is like the soil we are in. It nurtures us and shapes us in profound ways. We look at embodied culture as a holistic force that fosters social transformation and leads to more sustainability and creativity in life. Research in biological sciences, such as neuroscience, microbiology and genomics, increasingly reveals the link between the body and the inner self. Embodiment is based on the recognition that the inner self is embedded in our layered physical forms. We approach embodiment as a learning process of mindfully inhabiting the body, grounding the mind, and building character. It can be described as a kind of synchronisation between body and mind. It is a practice of becoming rather than just thinking or talking about something. It’s a holistic approach to human learning, one that aims to connect different facets of experiences: the intellectual, emotional, physical and intuitive. Our culture encourages us to separate from certain aspects of ourselves. Often we feel one thing and think another, or we spend our days sitting down, leaving behind our bodies and their capacities to contribute to our processes of thinking, doing and being. Embodied learning stands for more honesty, simplicity and unity: individually, in relations to others, and within the environment. It aims to bring the whole person into the room, to unify human intelligence. To continue reading click here.
* Holistic approach and Trans-Disciplinary tissue
Like forests we contain multitudes. We are of multi-lingual nature. Current cultural paradigm encourages specialisation, and we consider this multiplicity, many-sidedness of humans one of our main operating principles. Embodying the different aspects and qualities of ourselves, we invite more integrity and balance into our lives. Learning does not entail the study of one domain but rather a diversity of them. This facilitates the process of cross-pollinating ideas and concepts, introducing you to new methods and ways of thinking. To create with, to develop your taste and style and tailor it to your own individual creativity. Holistic approach also has to do with integrity. Integrity is seeking re-integration of the world in a larger sense. It seeks to bring the disciplines back together, and also on the human level — our health is in our re-connection, in that all parts of ourselves are integrated. Thinking, feeling, senses, intuition, rationality, physicality — all the different aspects of human experience are playing together like a jazz band, unified in free play. Integrity also means the integration of our inner and outer worlds, our physical and non-physical being. Integrity is unified human intelligence, its tangible and intangible nature. In the body all systems work with each other. Each is there for something. Integrity also has to do with integration between theory and practice, with overcoming discrepancy between what we say and what we do, with living our values. Without being embodied and lived values lose their meaning.
Poetry was called by Russian literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin “the language of the gods.” When we talk about poetry we refer to a poetic outlook, a kind of way of seeing the world around, that captures our lived experience not in linear discursive ways but rather as a symbolic articulation of our embodied experience and understanding of the world that we wouldn’t be able to express in any logical form that would do the experience justice. Poetic aspects of life are often being underestimated in our daily lives. For us however poetic vision of life is very important, it expresses the intangible qualities of our perception, makes our world more imaginative and empathic, widens and deepens our reality. With its simplicity and sincerity, it touches and wakes up parts of ourselves that make us feel alive and full of wonder at the beauty and mystery of intrinsic qualities of life. Poetic perception of the world helps us to find the way to express intangible values of our lives, those that are not easily grasped with the rational mind. Poetry is also an antidote to cliches that limit our worlds. Poetry is a powerful way to let the air in, to open windows, to change the way we pay attention, notice things and communicate. To continue reading click here.
It’s a Japanese concept that means "a reason for being”, the source of value, purpose of what one is doing. It reflects the inner self of an individual and expresses that faithfully, while simultaneously creating a mental state in which the individual feels at ease. Activities that allow one to feel ikigai are never forced on an individual; they are often spontaneous, and always undertaken willingly, giving the individual satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life. We see ikigai as an expression of the self that seeks wholeness. Everything forced on it from without rather than growing from within is violence against the self. The violated self resists, until its truth is acknowledged. Therefore ikigai doesn’t come from abstract norms imposed on the individual. As Parker J. Palmer writes in one of his books “before you tell your life what truths and values you want to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent”. In the article named Ikigai — jibun no kanosei, kaikasaseru katei ("Ikigai: the process of allowing the self's possibilities to blossom") Kobayashi Tsukasa says that "people can feel real ikigai only when, on the basis of personal maturity, the satisfaction of various desires, love and happiness, encounters with others, and a sense of the value of life, they proceed toward self-realization.” It implies that all learning requires personal involvement, needs to be real for each individual. It is based on learning by exploration, listening, discovery, and expression.
* Personal Sustainability
Personal Sustainability is both a principle and a subject of inquiry in our work. We strive to develop cultures of learning that cultivate attitudes and ways of being that encourage people to be genuinely themselves, find their passion for making their own way in life, and enable people to face challenges, complexity they encounter on the way with confidence and creativity, to build up mental, emotional, physical, social and strategic resources. It comes from being involved and engaged, not a passive figure to be moved by someone else. It is connected to forming healthy partnerships, where everyone is able to survive as themselves. Individual wellbeing is also social and environmental well-being. Personal Sustainability is inner and outer integrity, that unfolds with and within living systems, surroundings, other beings and things.
* Collaborative Mindset and Nurturing Relationships
We value and give much importance to human connection and trust. Learning and teaching is a relationship. The team of teachers is a team of mentors and guides that meets students on eye-level and is there to engage, enable, expect and empower. There are no power structures or frontal teaching at Foresta academy. We want to build a microcosm that is a living web of relationships. We strive for a situation of partnerships between teachers and students. Partnerships are based on listening, trust, honest interest and engagement, and courage. Collaborative mindset replaces competitive one. Strong individual agency and connection to others exist together. Everyone is different. Differently oriented to how they perceive and notice things, how they feel, what they want. When this is acknowledged, when old patterns of communication based on dominance, compliance and standardisation are let go of, relationships can be free of manipulations, everyone can be in their strength and jealousy is redundant. We do not make people be or do something someone else has planned for them, no carrot and stick, no awards and punishments, no top-down power, and therefore no fear-based power-games, no straight line of education toward a norm. Norm is individually chosen. The individual becomes their own agency. Boundaries are an important aspect of personal agency: establishing them where they are needed and removing them where they are unnecessary is a continuous process. From this practice individuals meet each other from a different place, and a more honest, empowering and liberating togetherness becomes possible.
* Focus on Creativity
Creativity is an inherent drive to experiment, inquire, ask questions, develop own originality, generate new ideas and apply them in practice. It enables people to respond imaginatively to life and the world, to be uniquely themselves. Healthy developed creativity helps us in life - in situations we cannot predict, in the unknown ever-changing circumstances of the river of life - it helps us to stay open-minded, to adapt, to find new ways for being and doing. It’s a basis for smart decisions in life. Creativity as everyday practice ensures that we stay curious throughout our lives. Potential to engage with it is everywhere — in our homes and public buildings, objects we use and streets we walk, thoughts we think and relationships we engage in, it is in any detail of the way we choose to live our lives. Creative life can expand onto inventing our own profession, and engage in its continuous process of development and evolving, staying flexible, not fixating into a label. It offers us to follow our true interests, to experiment without having to fulfil an expectation. Keeping thus the spirit alive we stay true to our originality and curiosity that moves us forward.
* Nomadic Nature
We are not settled in one place by choice. We are convinced that nomadic and mobile life-style is a great teacher. Traveling and shifting perspectives physically you also shift inner perspectives of how you see things. We strongly value multicultural cosmopolitan worldview, especially in the contexts of shared identities, “othering”, and multitudes of ways of being in the world. And also — context matters. If you are learning something being on top of a mountain in Italy or in a museum in Copenhagen, both experiences will be of a different quality, both valuable, both will leave their mark on you in their own unique ways.
* Liminal spaces and the Outdoors
Fascination and love for nature and the experiences it gives us is one of the major driving forces of our work. LaForesta stands for a forest, real and symbolic, inner and outer. We are convinced that some of the wisest and most sustainable methods developed to tackle the problems of modern life are based on nature's holistic ways of being. To learn from nature we need to spend time with nature. We aim for the experiences we design to take place in the natural environments or in the liminal spaces, close to the presence of nature. Natural environments provide for a higher-level of concentration, deeper inner and outer awareness, and a healthy grounds for the flourishing of all senses.
* Exploring the Unknown
We are most interested in development of each human as a person (rather than towards some abstraction like “labour market”, “efficiency and productivity”, or “what your country needs”). So our main emphasis is on exploring the unknown rather than the already known and explored by others. Learning to find our own questions rather than finding out the answers to questions that others have asked. We see education as meeting the real, personally and collectively, and learning how to negotiate all that into reality, adjusting it with the wishes and conflicts of all participating, in a process of listening to each other, and the unfolding situation. And through that explore, discuss, and present options to the established canon, and open doors for a discovery of our own canon fitting to the current moment, embracing the uniqueness of every situation.
Possible formats to work with us are: workshops and customised learning programs, process facilitation, individual mentoring, and public speaking. These different frameworks offer a space for practice and reflection designed for different audiences in accordance with our values and principles. Below you will find links with more information. If you are interested in a customised programme for you and/or your team drop us a message.
Welcome to Foresta Academy! I will briefly introduce myself and other people from Foresta Collective — people thanks to whose collaborative effort this wondrous forest is growing and taking shape. Since 2014 I design and facilitate learning experiences with a focus on subjects I'm researching and writing about, such as (personal) sustainability, creativity, and collaboration, rooted in a larger context of embodied culture. I’ve pursued an interdisciplinary educational path ranging from social sciences and liberal arts to mindful movement, voice and somatic intelligence. Lasting diversity of my pursuits, as well as my international work-life background, continuously shape my worldview towards more holistic perspectives. From the wish to bring cross-pollinated perspectives into experience design Foresta Academy was born, as an international community of professionals that deeply care about sustainable living and are co-creating experiences for different audiences to contribute to the world we wish for. We firmly believe in collective intelligence — wisdom is born from the encounter of differences and their synthesis. Foresta Academy is a fluid entity. For each learning experience a team of co-creators from different backgrounds comes together — perspectives that truly transcend disciplinary boundaries are only possible when more than one person is involved, when the variety of tools and experiences bring depth and enrich the experience. We work internationally with value-driven individuals, companies, cultural and educational institutions that are engaged in creating more humane, sustainable, authentic and co-creative learning and working cultures.
It's hard to explain just how impactful Sabina's workshop was. We all lead busy lives, but by the end of the workshop I felt a profound change in my physiological and psychological well-being. I would recommend Sabina's workshop as an intensely rewarding experience. — Tom, creative strategist (UK)
As part of Alive in Berlin, I took a workshop hosted by Sabina and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Her relaxed, open approach created a positive environment. It was a really inspiring experience, enabling me to tune in to my body language and how it affects the people around me. — Amanda Rigby, designer and illustrator at Paper Rhino (Germany)
I took part in one of Sabina’s workshops recently, in the UK. As someone with a hectic lifestyle, it really helped me to slow down and understand the impact of that lifestyle. All this in a very short space of time! — N.P., consultant and company director (UK)
Since working with Sabina, I not only have more energy, sleep better, feel healthier, and get run down much less often, I also have more clarity in pursuing my goals – in both my career and personal life. I can now recognize the obstacles I put in my own way and feel equipped to overcome them with lightness and grace, in a way that is true to myself and not self-destructive. My work and relationships are now better than they’ve ever been, but best of all is the feeling of being comfortable in my own skin. — Hilda, editor, writer, translator (Canada)
I took part in Sabina’s class and had an amazing experience. It was really moving and made me realise how I hold myself and the impact it has on holding me back. — C.J., photographer, writer, creator (UK)
Sabina has an inner calm. Her workshop at the Do lectures in Wales was delightful. Relaxing and stretching and moving. In tune with the world. — Peter Saunders, entrepreneur and business angel (UK)
Since that time I work together with Sabina, I feel more at home in my own body and that is a great deal. Body and soul are two parts of the one. Thank you. — Ondrej Plestil, architect (Czech Republic)