Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Diary of a Holy Yogi
Okay, I’m not exactly holy, but I was recently reminded that the Holy Spirit lives within me – has taken up residence in my body – and that my job in my “wonderful, spirit-filled life” (Charles Stanley) is to connect with that Spirit at all times and give off the light it emanates.
Thus starts the journey into my Holy Yoga immersion, one which has been waiting for me for over five years. Here’s the scoop of my journey and why I’m doing this.
I am a born again Christian for almost 10 years now and just after my conversion, I began practicing yoga at local yoga studios. My favorite yoga style has been Anusara yoga, which has transformed my life in many ways and has given me a place to expand my heart and body. It’s a really fun, uplifting practice and I am always amazed at what I am capable of doing when my body is warmed up and encouraged to move. If you happen to live in the Phoenix area, the best place (in my humble opinion) to practice Anusara Yoga is at Yoga Village.
In 2003, I became certified to teach yoga and have been teaching at a variety of places since. It was suggested to me shortly after my teaching began that I consider teaching "Christian" yoga. I read some books about it, but at the time I just didn't feel ready to teach Christian Yoga. So for several years, I pondered, considered, mulled-over and prayed about teaching Christian yoga. I was having trouble finding a class to try (that would fit into my schedule) and finally a door opened up for me to attend a Holy Yoga class. I loved how scripture opened, was weaved through and ended the class and from my first class I was hooked. That was it; I decided it was time. (Ecclesiastes 3:1 - To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.)
Here's why I love my I-Pod: I was able to look that up in about 1 minute from my (free) Holy Bible application!
Now I am really fascinated by philosophy and yoga philosophy is very interesting to me; however, my desire is to be a light for Jesus, so my spiritual focus has been primarily a Christian one - even though I have read and enjoy a lot of non- Christian literature. Here's the short of it: I made the decision to combine my love for the Lord Jesus with my love for yoga and so I made my decision to get certified to teach Holy Yoga. I began praying, preparing and making space in my life about three months ago.
Because I have been teaching for seven years, I am taking the 20 hour course, which will prepare me to lead a Holy Yoga class. But did I stop there? No...I also committed to a 13 month Masters Program with Holy Yoga - as if my plate wasn't already full. And believe me, it was. But when the Spirit leads, you follow, so I know that Grace and Wisdom will get me through. Anyone care to pray for me? Thanks!
To begin with, I ordered the required reading so far: "Holy Yoga" by Brooke Boon; "Hatha Yoga Illustrated", by Brooke Boon and Martin Kirk; "Prayer of Heart and Body" by Thomas Ryan; "The Wonderful Spirit Filled Life" by Charles Stanley, "Reclaiming the Body in Christian Spirituality" edited by Thomas Ryan, and one of my favorites, "Eat This Book" by Eugene H. Peterson. Believe it or not, today is the second day of my training! I'm going to need a Jodi Picoult book soon. I can't believe how prolific she is. One of my favorites: "Plain Truth". If you are interested in any of these books, you can find them HERE.
My Diary/Journal begins with the beginning and we began with a study of the Holy Spirit. This is a month-long study, so by the end of this segment, I should have a good understanding of what the Bible is saying about the Holy Spirit. I don't want to regurgitate everything I am learning, but share my thoughts and feelings about what I'm learning. This may result in some discussion with those who are on the same journey or path and I think that's a good thing. Also, I am required to journal for the duration of my Holy Yoga studies, so there you go!
One of the questions that came up is: "Is the Holy Spirit a He or a She?" The Bible clearly calls the Holy Spirit He, just like it states God is a He and a Father and Jesus was a Man, so it's very masculine in language, but it is also feminine as Wisdom is described as She in the Bible. There are many references to the feminine in the Bible, so I can see where this question arises. Personally, I am not concerned about whether or not God is masculine or feminine because I am quite certain God does not have a gender. We write "he" all the time in the English language when we really mean he or she and I just don't have a problem with that. We do know that God is mysterious, so I am content to understand that about God and not worry about this issue; although it is an issue with some people.
I have wondered that if holy means sacred, saintly, godly, spiritually pure and the Holy Spirit lives in me, then why is it I still curse from time to time? I have decided that it's a habit I formed a long time ago and that sometimes it just slips out! I am quite aware when I have cursed and what the Holy Spirit does is remind me that it's wrong to use such language and that it's crude and not very holy, so I continue to repent and try to do better next time. I am sure anyone on a spiritual path goes through the same stuff, right Anyone?
Now here's one that bothers me...when people put the word "holy" in front of a word like "crap". Really? I mean it just doesn't make any sense, but then a lot of the world doesn't make sense. Yoga for me is about checking in with reality and seeing how it can be aligned with holiness.
For now, I am delighted to be going deeper in my faith and being able to have a great workout at the same time. Some people might wonder if Holy Yoga is all spiritual. It is, but my teacher Alisa kicks my behind every time, so it's not for someone who doesn't enjoy moving.
By the way, if you don't know anything about me, my name is Lisa Kneller. I am happily married for over 23 years, have two fantastic kids, teach yoga, am a production assistant for two-time Emmy Award winning TV Personality and Celebrity craft expert Terri O. I also minister to teens through Teen Community Bible Study.