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Monday, January 25, 2016

All the Glory is His: My first Holy Yoga Class

Me in Peru 
     Before my first yoga class last week I had no idea how many people to expect or what it will be like. I had a plan, though. My plan was to walk in there, let the Spirit take over and follow where He leads me. Seemed like a solid plan to me. The only problem is that I'm a recovering perfectionist. I like to plan ahead. So, I prayed that God will lead me and what to speak about and how to lead a group of people in worshiping Him with their mind, body and souls. It seemed the best place to start was with myself. So, I shared my story. I was vulnerable and transparent in front of a group of people I hardly know at all. The more broken pieces I'm in the better His light can shine through, right?  

     My first yoga class was incredible. At church the day before my class the pastor was speaking about getting on your knees to pray so that you can stand on your feet. They showed a picture of a man kneeling in prayer. I love how child's pose and praying humbly on your knees are the same posture. Bowing down at the Lord's feet and handing all your worries over to him. What a way to prepare for my first yoga class. Another incredible piece of church was that the worship band performed "No Longer Slaves" by Jonathan and Melissa Helser which is one of my personal favorite Christian songs about no longer being slaves to our fear. I had this song already picked out to use during my yoga class the next day. There are no coincidences with God.

     I showed up to teach my yoga class in faith, not in fear. When I arrived I had no clue how many people to expect, 5 or 35. The pastor's wife opened the doors and said she thought quite a few people were coming. People kept filing in even after 5pm passed. When I began the class there were so many people that the group split down the center and I moved to the center of the room so everyone could hear me. Some people even joined at the end of the class and sat right down to stretch with the class before their MMA practice after class. The Lord truly opened the door and it was amazing to be a part of so many people gathering to worship through holy yoga. I don't know why those that arrived did, whether it was to stretch more, for yoga, for community or truly to worship but I know that God brought everyone there for a reason. By the end of Shavasana I counted 38-39 people lying still and spending a precious moment resting in His grace. 

     I shared my story. I started with how I've been a Christian and really didn't dive in until I went to college. How I've worked in healthcare for a couple years and never have 3 Sundays off in a row to attend church. About how anxiety is the thorn in my side and how I've changed so much in the last 8 months that I can't help but share with others. How God has told me to stop squeezing onto my life so hard that I'm white knuckled, to let go and stop trying to control everything. How he's shown me that he loves me so much and I can't earn that by completing my to-do lists or trying to be perfect. I can't earn it, period. He loves me because that is who HE is, not who I am. Then, I shared my favorite verse:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6

     We then did a gentle class focusing on stepping out of fear and into faith. I encouraged everyone to list their worries by name and lay them one at a time at His feet, letting go of them and allowing God to pick up their burdens. As everyone rested at the end of class, "Psalm 46" by Jenny & Tyler played and I read a second verse:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

   The Lord absolutely blessed my socks off and I still can't believe that he chose me to be a vessel for Him to work through in this way. Another thing that kept resonating with me is how God truly provided my flock of people to minister to. I originally got a "no" to teach at a church in my hometown, but I boldly asked if I could teach at a church that I went to over the summer and loved. I was faithful but still curious as to who I would teach yoga to and God equipped me to teach and provided me with an audience. All the glory is His. 

Intro to Holy Yoga I Gentle Class Outline and Playlist: 
Warm up:
  • knees to chest (legs together)
  • knees to chest (wide legs)
  • happy baby
  • reclining diamond
  • cat cow flow
  • table top (wag tail)
  • alternating arm/leg balance in tabletop
  • wide legged child's pose
  • modified plank
  • flow between child's and modified plank
  • table top with calf stretch
  • down dog with deep bend in knees
  • rest in child's
  • full down dog
  • forward fold with wrapped arms, sway and walk it out
  • half way lifts
  • mountain pose with side stretches
  • forward fold to sitting
Cool down:
  • seated twist
  • knees to chest
  • bridge
  • lying spinal twist
  • #4 pose
Be Still & Know

     After the class I got a few texts thanking me for sharing my story. Telling people about my struggles was not something I even considered as a take-away from the class...just a mandatory introductory piece. Apparently it was one of the things that drew people in and made the class relatable. I pray that Holy Yoga continues to grow and reach people in ways that only God knows of now!

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