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 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 the 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
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. Embodying all 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 facilities 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.
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. Being in the state of ikigai makes one’s life longer, filled with sense. 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, discovery, and expression.
* Personal Sustainability and Building Character
We strive to develop culture of learning that cultivates 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, to not be afraid to take risks and go their own way. Personal Sustainability comes from co-ownership of one’s own path with life, from being involved and engaged, not a passive figure to be moved by someone else. It comes when individual agency connects with others and forms healthy partnerships, embodying active connection, belonging and shaping the world together. When everyone is able to survive as themselves, find their personal creative drive and ways of expression, stay true to themselves, stay whole, integrated, and be able to do their best work. Individual wellbeing is also social and environmental well-being. It comes from inner integrity and outer integrity with & within living systems, surroundings, living beings and things.
* Participation and Nurturing Relationships
The value and importance of human connection and trust is the base of any relationship. 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 we perceive and notice things, how we feel, what we 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 original thinking, 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.
* Nomadic Nature
We are not settled in one place by choice. We are convinced that nomadic and mobile life-style is an incredible teacher. Traveling and shifting perspectives physically you also shift inner perspectives of how you see things. If you are learning something being on top of a mountain in Italy or in a museum in Paris, both experiences will be of a different quality, both valuable, both will leave their mark on you in their own unique ways.
* Exploring the Unknown
We are most interested in development of each human as a person (rather than towards some abstraction like “labour market” or “what your country needs”, etc). 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 learning the answers to questions that others 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 through that explore, discuss, and present options to the established canon, and open doors for a discovery of our own canon of this moment.
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.
We work with
Foresta Academy is created and curated by Sabina and collaborators.
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 somatics. 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 holistic perspectives into experience design Foresta Academy was born, as an international learning community co-creating experiences for different audiences within the hybrid field. I firmly believe in collective intelligence — wisdom is born from the encounter and synthesis. Foresta Academy is a fluid entity. For each learning experience a team of co-creators from different backgrounds comes together — truly transdiciplinary perspectives are only possible when several people are involved, with a rich variety of tools and perspectives. We work internationally with value-driven individuals, companies, cultural and learning institutions that are engaged in creating more humane, sustainable, authentic and co-creative learning and working cultures.
I took part in one of Sabina’s body awareness workshops recently, in the UK. As someone with a hectic lifestyle, it really helped me to slow down and understand what my body is trying to tell me about the impact of that lifestyle. In particular, it helped me to understand and control tension in my lower back. All this in a very short space of time! — N.P., consultant and company director (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 and she helped us all to feel more connected to our bodies and free in our movements. 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 (UK)
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)
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, 33, editor, writer, translator (Canada)
I took part in Sabina’s body/awareness 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, 32, architect (Czech Republic)