I desired to help others live a healthy and active life and studied Exercise Science with an emphasis in Rehabilitation at Victoria University of Technology in Australia. Shortly after graduating I met and married my American husband and moved to the States. The two became four and we moved to California after living in the Arizona desert for 15 years.
Christ became my Lord and Savior when I was 15 years old and from that time on, I knew that there was a way that He would use me to bring physical, emotional and spiritual healing to the world. Connecting with God through prayer and worship, seeing him work through healing and teaching, and using the Word for edification and encouragement has always set my soul on fire!
These things along with a fascination with the human mind and body led me to a curiosity about yoga, but I was plagued with the question....
Can Christians even practice yoga?
I get it, that was my question too.
Until I took my first Christian Yoga class back in 2007 and fell in love!
To worship my Creator with heart, soul, mind and strength on my mat was the most incredible and liberating discovery. To move with breath, draw in, get centered and integrate all the parts of me in the context of connecting with the Holy Spirit and meditation on scripture was the BOMB. It IS the bomb.
I suspect I’m not the only one that finds it hard to sit still and just be quiet and listen.
Yet if I’m moving and breathing, holding, softening, and opening up, something happens. My mind gets quiet. My heart opens. My spirit gets sensitive and I begin to hear.
Shortly after that first delicious taste, life got busy. We moved to California. Kids’ activities and needs ruled the days.
I longed to get back to the spiritual discipline of Christian yoga.
I tried various classes, but did not feel safe, and found myself muscling through more sweaty, striving workouts.
These experiences weren't nurturing or mindful, they were simply movement that put me in positions where I was triggering more pain.
I didn’t need more of that in my life. I was doing plenty of workouts – boot camps, mountain biking, running, hiking, resistance training and as life got particularly stressful I would work out more intensely until finally my body broke down.
In using my physicality to attempt to be strong spiritually and emotionally, I created a host of problems.
Working out was a good outlet that burned off a lot of steam, kept me healthy and sane, but in the striving to be strong, the stress and angst was being imprinted in my body, mind and spirit. And then my body said “stop!”
Boot camps were out of the question, yet I loved the community and support in this environment. Not one more push-up without days of chest pain akin to a heart attack. Not one more lunge without shooting pain through my pubic bone. Not one more pull-up without days of a burning and aching neck. I was so sad, but the price was too great and I needed to find something different.
Surely I could find yoga that was taught in such a way that alignment principles and limitations were honored and I would be able to learn and grow while gently exploring my boundaries, couldn’t I?
Was it possible to find teachers more concerned about the quality of the practice, rather than running the class through a series of shapes and making sure we broke a sweat and our muscles cried for mercy?
I found myself in a secular studio, falling in love with these yogis that led me in practices that tapped into my love of anatomy and alignment. They encouraged me to open my heart and pay attention to what was going on inside and operate from a place of grace. I learned how to become an observer of my thoughts. As I grappled and struggled with my tight, bound up physical body, I saw that this mirrored my spiritual condition of an angry, guarded and hardened heart.
I begged Jesus to come and open my heart to Him again.
I met the Holy Spirit on the mat.
Rather than pushing the world away in order to keep my head up and be strong, I was learning to soften into what is, and in turn offer that to the Lord and let it be enough.
It has been a long and winding road. Over the years there have been several mountain-biking injuries that intensified the process of discovery and healing (my mantra, learned in a yoga class, is now “go slower than you want to go!”), there has been grief that cracked my armor, allowing the compassion, grace and love of God to seep in and soften and shine light on the dark corners of my heart.
There have been many physical therapy sessions where the truth of what I have held in my body has been revealed and I have wrestled with doubts and fears over whether I was even physically capable of getting certified as a Holy Yoga instructor. With her healing hands, wise words and endless encouragement my Physical Therapist helped me to see that the point is that we teach what we have learned.
My journey is my offering and I teach what I have learned.
My prayer is that somehow the Lord would use it to bless you and release you in all your fullness to impact the world for Him.