Posts tagged #holy yoga

Yoga in a pinch: A practice for those days you just don't have the time

For the past month, I have been in the process of moving. Then came my daughter's birthday party. Then travel, and before I knew it I had no time to do anything - including yoga. Since yoga is such an important part of my day,  I had to adapt my practice to fit the time I had.... Or lack thereof... That meant a short, fifteen minute practice early in the morning before my baby would wake up. 

If that is your case and you are looking for a short sequence that will keep your practice strong in the least amount of time... Then this post for you. Watch the video below and practice with me. 

Holy Yoga for Toddlers

I have been taking the Kids Holy Yoga course and I am simply loving it! The team is an amazing group of women of faith who also happen to be experienced yoga teachers. The course has given me the opportunity to play with my daughter and find out that she loves yoga!  

Bella is just one and a half, but she loves trying to stretch her little body into the poses. She doesn't do all of the poses, nor are they perfect, but it doesn't matter. I am only interested in sharing the love of Christ with her through movement. If you make it fun and playful I promise your child will also do yoga with you and as a bonus you will get the opportunity of teaching them about God's great love!

Today's video is a holy yoga class for toddlers based on the story of Noah's ark. Feel free to watch it with your toddler or just get some ideas for your next class!

Stay Blessed!

Lectio Divina

I first learned about Lectio Divina during Holy Yoga retreat from Jill Fisk. Her Lectio Divina sessions were calming and taught me a lot about myself and the God that loves me. Before that, I viewed meditation as a person and her thoughts. But, since then I started bringing scripture into my daily meditations either in the form of mantras or as lectio divina. Today I will teach you this new type of meditation so that you can add it to your meditation toolbox.

You start Lectio Divina by taking a comfortable seated position. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Allow yourself to become silent for a few minutes. I like to repeat the word maranatha to help me focus my thoughts.

Once you feel a sense of calm come over you, open your eyes and read a passage in scripture. Read it slowly and gently. Savor each phrase, really letting the scripture sink in. Close your eyes and sit with the scripture. Let it talk to you. Close your eyes and just sit with what you read. Repeat this 3 times. When you are meditating on the scripture, allow thouhgts to come by without judgement. Allow any inner pondering, any struggles to take you to a deeper dialogue with God.

If you would like to go through a guided Lectio Divina, take a look at this video and I will guide you through it!

Stay Blessed everyone!



 


Harnessing the power of your thoughts: Headstand

God spoke the world into being (Hebrews 11:3) and as we are created in His image our thoughts and words are also powerful. We usually think that thinking positively is new age craziness, but throughout the bible we see the power of our thoughts and words. When Jesus asks the blind man if he really thinks he can heal him and he says yes, he tells him: Become what you believe (MSG version). That sentence stuck with me because it is so powerful. We become what we believe. So, what do you believe you are? Are your thoughts kind about yourself? Jesus shows how our beliefs can become truths. The blind man’s faith led him to see. What does your faith and beliefs lead you to?

Meditate: Throughout your yoga practice notice your thoughts regarding your abilities. What happens when you start to struggle in your headstand? What do you tell yourself?  If you start talks of self-loathing, observe those thoughts and instead tell yourself the following affirmations: I am worthy. I am a child of God. I am loved. I am whole.

Bringing down walls in your Yoga practice and life: Marichyasana D and Faith

Marichyasana D was the first wall I encountered in my yoga practice. No matter what I did or how hard I tried, it did not seem to matter. Months passed by and everyday I had a different reason why I couldn't bind in the pose... First, I figured my belly was too big and getting in the way, then I realized my legs were way too fat to be enveloped by my arms, or maybe my arms were way too short to go around my legs, and then I thought my spine could not twist enough... 

I obsessed over the pose for months. I have probably watched every youtube video and read every article ever written on Marichyasana D. Then after months of consistent practice and faith, it just.... happened. It was a bit anticlimactic... My world didn't change, birds did not sing. One day, I just bound and my day went on as usual. 

Yoga practice is often a microcosm of life and it teaches important lessons if you pay close attention. Marichyasana D was for a while my very own promised land, which was kept safely inside a very tall wall I could not get through. No matter what I did, the wall would not come down. It was only through faithful obedience and consistence that the wall fell. 

Does that sound familiar? The people of Israel also encountered a wall around Jericho. Did they need military prowess to get into the city? No, all they needed was God. Just like conquering Marychaisana D, the people of Israel blindly followed God and through faith and obedience they made the wall fall. 

Every challenging pose in the yoga practice is a promised land that is protected by wall. When you hit a wall what should you do? You should, like the people of Israel, stay faithful and consistent with God in your holy yoga practice. In life, staying faithful and strong with God will also bring down many walls. Whenever you hit a wall in life or yoga practice, remember:

"By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days."  Hebrews 11:30.

During practice today we will attempt to get into an advanced twist called marichyasana D. This is an intermediary to advanced class and it will take about 45 minutes. During class ask yourself: 

  • How else can you access and apply the power of God in your yoga practice and your life?
  • Are there any areas where you could use more faith and consistence?

It is a new year and a great time to reflect on faith and obedience in Christ! So enjoy the challenge of this intermediary class and remember to stay faithful!

Stay Blessed!

 

Holy Yoga for New Years

Kurmasana

Kurmasana

The goal of today's holy yoga class is to rebirth a new self in Christ. As the new year approaches, we will do hip openers as a symbolic exercise of birthing a new self in 2016. The class will work towards a challenging hip opener called kurmasana (or turtle pose). As you take this class, meditate  on Romans 12: 1-2: Think of taking your everyday, ordinary life, your yoga practice, your sleeping, your eating, you everyday work and offering it to God. During practice focus on the following questions:

What will this offering of ordinary things in your life look like for you?

  • What will offering your yoga practice to God look like?
  • What will offering your work to God look like?
  • What will offering your eating to God look like?

What can you improve in your life in the new year so that this offering is even better?

I hope that in the year of 2016 you dedicate your life to Christ. I hope that this is a year of achievements and improvements for you! When we live in Christ and according to His rules, our lives flourish. I hope that the Holy Spirit transforms you this year, and that through Him you are able to find a new self.

Stay Blessed!

Izabel

Holy Yoga for Christmas

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As we approach the celebration of our Savior's birth we should start thinking about our rebirth in Christ. Today's class focuses on 2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things passed away; behold, all things become new".  

I invite you to meditate on this scripture and ask yourself:

Who are you in Christ?

Who is the new you with Christ? 

The bible says, in Galatians 5:22-23 that in the Spirit,

  • You are love
  • You are joy
  • You are peace
  • You are forbearance
  • You are kindness
  • You are goodness
  • You are faithfulness
  • You are gentleness
  • You are self-control

During today's class please bring your thoughts to these questions and to what we become in Christ. Take the time to meditate on areas you may need improvement and thank God for what you have become in the Spirit.

Have a blessed class and Merry Christmas!

Holy Yoga for Advent: Week 2

Today is our second week preparing for Advent. We will work on opening our hearts to the love of Christ so that we can celebrate his birth with the right mindset. We will do that through an intense class focusing on twists and backbending poses. The twists allow us to go deeper into backbends. And the backbends allow us to symbolically and physically open our hearts and make space for our Savior.  Although we seem to only physically open our hearts, make no mistake... Human bodies are symbiotically connected and opening our hearts physically creates a psychological response. Body psychotherapy is a field of Psychology that has studied this body-mind connection for many years. 

My hope is that this class will open your hearts so that you may know the hope to which Jesus has called you - his inheritance - as we are children of God (Ephesians 1:17-18). Your heart is where Christ wishes to dwell. He wants you to experience his love and connect to his full Glory and Grace. 

God Bless you!


Holy Yoga for Advent: Week 1

The advent season started yesterday and it is time to prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Christians should take the month before Christmas to prepare our minds and souls and to make room for His presence. In today's class we dwell in His presence by training our minds to be steady through a challenging yoga flow. We will meditate on the spiritual gifts and talents we have been given and how we may share these gifts with the world. We may be lost amidst a season of Christmas gift shopping, but have you stopped to meditate on the gifts God has given you? What do those gifts tell you about your life's mission? Are you fulfilling it?

God has gifted each of us with unique talents and spiritual gifts. Let us embrace all that beauty and use those to help others and improve our world. First Peter 4: 10 says: "each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms". The Bible also says that all things are through him, for him, and to him should be given all glory (Romans 11:36). Therefore, during this class I would like you to meditate on what gifts you have been given, how you are going to use them, and above all how you can glorify God through it.

By the way, if you would like to win some free tea, check out my giveaway of 5 traditional medicinal teas here!

God bless you and enjoy the video!

Holy Yoga Fat Burning Circuit

Did you over indulge yesterday? Well, then this fat burning circuit will come in handy! It uses a high intensity yoga sequence and a treadmill to burn yesterday's thanksgiving excess! Print out the card below and take it with you. Start with the short yoga sequence (do the son sequence five times), then follow the treadmill sequence to burn calories all day. Repeat the entire circuit 5 times - if it is too much for you, then repeat it as many times as you can. This high intensity circuit will not only burn calories during the onset of exercise, it will increase your metabolic rate throughout the day so that I can burn that thanksgiving excess all day!

God Bless you!

Thanksgiving Restorative Holy Yoga

Yoga is the practice of being present. In class you learn to remain present through pain, happiness, and emotional breakthroughs. Being present also teaches us to be appreciative and thankful. There is so much that happens in our lives through the actions of others and we may not necessarily realize it or even be thankful. But by practicing presence, we are more likely to notice small actions. We are also more likely to notice the the grace of God in our lives. 

Everyday, unbeknownst to us, the hand of God protects, delivers, and saves us. We may not realize it. We may not see it. But His overwhelming love and protection are present in our every step. Sometimes the biggest deliverance is in the small coincidences, the missed opportunities, a inopportune delay... But these may also be the times when we don't recognize how our Savior is acting in our lives. So, today as we enter Thanksgiving week, I ask you to stop, take a few moments to Thank God for all He has done for you.

I want you to use the sequence in the video as a vehicle to stop, breathe, meditate and just give thanks to your Savior. The class is a restorative practice - you will need it in this rushed and chaotic holiday week. I hope you enjoy it and I pray that God opens your eyes for all of the coincidences unseen.

God Bless you!

Holy Yoga Power Flow

Yoga is one of my passions, but there is nothing more important for me than my faith in Jesus Christ. For a long time, I considered my yoga practice to be completely separate from my faith. But after my trip to India it became clear to me that faith was intrinsically connected to yoga. The problem was that it wasn't necessarily my faith. Every Saturday after practice, the teacher guided us through 20 minutes of chanting in Sanskrit. Although I did not understand the lyrics, names like Ganesha, Sita Ram and other Hindu deities were quite clear. I kept silent during those twenty minutes, but it was hard to ignore what was happening around me. To make matters worse, many of the students bowed and kissed the feet of the guru. This particular action was symbolic of my struggles. Though I loved yoga, bowing at someone's feet is something that I would only do to my God, Jesus Christ. Exodus 20: 5 is clear. It says you will not bow down before other Gods. For a while I suffered in silence, and I seriously thought about quitting yoga altogether.

However, as I talked to my loved ones about my struggles, I started thinking about the power of intention. I never had the intention of worshiping other deities. For example, dancers do the splits. The splits are the same movement as the yoga pose Hanumasana. Hanumasana is a pose dedicated to the deity Hanuman (the monkey God). But, no one thinks ballerinas are glorifying the monkey deity. That's because their intention while doing the splits has nothing to do with Hanuman. Furthermore, the Bible says in John 1: 3 that everything was done by and for God. If this is true, yoga was also made by God and therefore must be used for His glory and not for the glory of other deities. Ephesians 1: 7 says that redemption is in his blood. Therefore, through the blood of the lamb, I also believe we have redemption of this ancient practice as long as it is used for His glory.

With that in mind, I started to search the internet, read books, and try to understand how Christianity and yoga fit together. I intuitively started to dedicate my practice to God - praying and worshiping during my time on the mat. I felt a tremendous difference when I dedicated my practice to God. My practice had more fire, more energy. I noticed these practices were very special moments in my mat. By coincidence, I found a teacher's training course for Christian Yoga, called Holy Yoga. I fell completely in love with the practice and I am so proud to have become a certified Holy Yoga instructor on top of my 200hr yoga certification. Today, I will share with you a special holy yoga power flow that I sequenced.  I hope you enjoy and would love to know what you think!

God bless you!

Posted on November 18, 2015 and filed under Yoga Flows.

How Holy Yoga teacher training rocked my world

The night before retreat, it dawned upon me: I was leaving my babies, my husband, and my life behind to fly half way across America to practice some yoga I had never practiced before, with some woman I had never met. What was I thinking? I convinced myself I shouldn't fly out the next morning, after all my daughter had a cold, I didn't want to wake up early, and how would my family survive without me? 

But then after prayer, I decided it was crazier to spend money on a retreat, then realize you are crazy for going and not go at all. So, the next morning at 5 am I was up and ready to roll. I guess you could say I begrudgingly obeyed the calling of the holy spirit. But boy, am I happy I did... The retreat is covered in prayer and Grace and you can clearly see the Spirit moving in so many different ways. Being here has been truly life changing. It transformed my yoga practice and the way I see my relationship with Jesus. Each day, the experience gets deeper. You learn to use your body to worship. You get addicted to connecting to the holy spirit on your mat. I warn you: It's like crack cocaine (disclaimer: I have never actually had crack cocaine). 

I was grouped with an amazing group of 10 beautiful yogis and a caring small group leader. The grouping was random, but nothing is random to the Almighty. All of us came from a catholic faith background and related in so many levels.  Even though we barely knew each other when we came in this week, I have opened up to these women in ways I never had to anyone before. I store the bad stuff away and never talk about it, but here I was led by our kind group leader to dig deep. Digging deep, I realized how much God had acted in my life. How much he has put me through a metamorphosis. 

And then there is the amazing yoga instruction. Being an ashtangi, I am very picky with yoga classes that are not ashtanga. I have always believed Ashtanga to be the holy grail of yoga, the ultimate sequence. But, here you get on your mat and you open your heart in worship with your body and soul. You let the holy spirit in through breath work and fiery asanas. This yoga has me floored. There was a particular class with Jonnie I will never forget. I had a very intimate encounter with the holy spirit on my mat. I was sweaty, crying, and overwhelmed with connection. He spoke to me. At the end of practice, a person next to me I had never met was in tears. She said: "When you prayed I heard two voices. So I looked over at you, and I saw a being of light involving you in prayer, praying alongside you." It was uncanny. 

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Then came Brooke's  power yoga class. Have you ever been to a pentecostal revival? Now picture a yogi pentecostal revival.... That's what Brooke's class is like - a class full of fire and life, probably unlike any other yoga class you have ever been to. Brooke's class made me see that there are other amazing styles out there, that there is life outside of the box of Ashtanga yoga, that there is freedom, and fun. Brooke's class is probably the best yoga class I have ever taken in whole entire life. And, having a 6 day a week practice means I have taken way too many yoga classes. 

And then, there is the church clap.... But, I will let you find that one out for yourself.... 

Yes, God moves here. You see it everywhere, with you, and your peers. You see transformation, you see catharsis. If you are Christian and a yogi, I highly recommend you come here. If you are not Christian and a yogi, I recommend it even more. Holy yoga is legit. Holy yoga retreat is metamorphic. Holy yoga friends are sisters. This week will forever be in my heart.