My friend Jill is one of only two certified Holy Yoga instructors in the St. Louis area. At Christmas, she suggested the gift of Holy Yoga for friends as a way to celebrate Christmas in an Advent-Conspiracy-sort-of-way. I loved the idea, but knew I couldn’t get my act together and host a Holy Yoga retreat in the midst of the December rush (plus job interviews, recovering from surgery, etc.). So for my birthday this year, I decided to give a gift instead of receiving one. (But it’s actually one in the same, isn’t it?)
I invited some friends to celebrate with me by opening their hearts in a new way: worshiping our King with prayer, meditation and Holy Yoga. My friends showed up, wrapped me with dozens of hugs, then we settled ourselves onto our yoga mats and spent some time talking. I asked each woman to introduce herself and explain how we know each other, and it unexpectedly turned into an outpouring of love. The words my sweet friends said over me were such a blessing. When the introductions first started, my initial reaction was to play demure and all, “Oh, hush… you are so sweet!” And then I felt the Spirit stirring in my soul, telling me to just quiet the heck down and listen to the gift of words my friends were giving me. So I did, and I soaked it in, and I was blessed.
Jill started by explaining Holy Yoga: it is an experiential worship created to deepen people's connection to Christ. It isn’t your traditional yoga. Poses are used to worship Christ in our lives, and the names of the poses (postures) are named as a reflection of His glory. The Holy Yoga website says, “We do this by integrating His Word, prayer, worship and the physical practice of yoga to contemporary and Christian music.”
Then we started our class, which lasted about an hour. It was dark and quiet and peaceful, with lots of focused breathing and prayer. It was such a great break from the world, and we ended the session with some desserts and girl talk. As my friends left, I gave each one a rock that I hand-decorated with a word and a scripture reference.
It was really a wonderful birthday gift to myself and some dear friends, and I am so glad Jill offered herself in praise of our God!