Prior to learning about Holy Yoga®, I was introduced to Christian yoga around 2007. It was an answer to a desperate prayer for relief from chronic widespread pain that started after a car accident. My first accident, back in 2000, was the onset of this pain along with autoimmune issues and PTSD (which I didn’t discover until years later). I attended a local Christian yoga studio regularly. On my mat, I began to encounter Christ in a new way and healing started to take place. I sensed Him speaking to me time after time, reminding me He was with me and wanted to bear my burdens. With a lot of encouragement from the studio’s owners, I eventually enrolled in their yoga teacher training in the spring of 2011. I had very little confidence in my abilities, whether they were to look good in a yoga pose or to be coordinated enough to do poses and teach them simultaneously, let alone do it all in front of a full class! But God met me in that insecurity, speaking tenderly to my heart that He was leading me. Teacher training was amazing and I jumped right into teaching the same week it ended.
I taught at that studio for almost six years, until they closed rather suddenly. I had found a home there and I’m sure I would have stayed there forever if they hadn’t closed, but God had other plans. I had only ever taught Christian yoga and felt ill-equipped to go get another job outside of my comfort zone at any other yoga studio. Over the next two years, I tried teaching in a few different contexts, even attempting to run my own Christ-centered yoga. Several teaching opportunities turned out to not be a good fit and left me feeling like a failure. Though my Christ-centered yoga classes had decent attendance, they were difficult to continue through my other perceived failings and a few personal losses I had experienced.
In the midst of all of this upheaval in my life, I had reconnected with an acquaintance who was a Licenced Professional Counselor and a Holy Yoga Instructor. She had opened a Trauma Sensitive Yoga Studio and written curriculum for Holy Yoga’s Trauma Sensitive Yoga Teacher Training. The Lord kept impressing that training on my heart. After all, I had a very intimate relationship with trauma and its ill effects. The Lord had been growing in me a desire to help others find healing from trauma. I enrolled in the Trauma Sensitive Holy Yoga Instructor Training in the spring of 2017. The Lord used this training to show me how much of my life has been shaped and influenced by my traumatic experiences. I was able to go through Bible studies and apply God’s Word to the suffering of a trauma survivor. Brooke Boon, founder of Holy Yoga, says, “Revelation is just the first light of dawn.” I was just beginning to see my brokenness and had yet to fully embrace how God’s grace could meet me there. The training was so meaningful to me, but it was just the first light of dawn.
I taught my own Christ-centered yoga through November 2018. The Lord started opening doors for my husband and I to move away from the place we had called home most of our lives, so it made sense to step back from teaching during the transition.
Yoga took a backseat in my life until this past Fall. The timing seemed perfect to take the Holy Yoga 100 Hour Training (I had been contemplating it since my TSHY Training). We were settling into a new life, community, culture, climate, you name it. My schedule was wide open.
The Lord has been using this training to reveal to me walls I’ve built up. I had been believing that God abandoned me in my illness and my dreams for my future. Fear ruled over me, along with hopelessness, shame and resentment toward God. But this training gave me the push I needed to open my Bible and get back on my mat. As the Lord has continued to speak to me week after week, He is peeling back the layers of lies that have shrouded my heart. One of the most impactful passages I came across in training was Luke 22:41-43, “And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.”
I initially perceived my cup as my sickness and pain. I felt the Lord inviting me to pray for healing but regardless of His will this side of heaven, He would walk with me – the God of angel armies would give me the strength I need in the midst of it. I now see my cup goes beyond physical pain and suffering to the dark places in my heart. He is walking with me through the deep wounds that need to heal, where sin and lies have taken up residence. Just like the Isrealites crossing the desert on their way to the promised land, I have ample opportunities arising to trust God for provision and strength. He is teaching me how to surrender and abide, and my prayer is that I will learn to listen and obey. He is already opening doors for Holy Yoga here in our new home and I’m excited to see how He uses it and me to draw people to Himself. Please join me in praying that people here will experience the healing presence of the one true God on their mats, and that I would be a willing vessel, confident in His ability to use me.
Stephanie has been married for 15 (almost 16) years and is the mother of two rescue Pitties. She and her hubby uprooted themselves from the Phoenix area, which had been their home for over 25 years, and just moved to Grand Canyon Village summer of 2019! They now live in a National Forest, and are adjusting to rural, remote living. Stephanie has been teaching yoga since 2011, when she completed her first leg of training through another Christian Yoga School. She has since completed her RYT 500, E-RYT 200, C-HYI Trauma Sensitive and then most recently, C-HYI 100! HOLY YOGA is a completely foreign concept in Grand Canyon Village, so she is working to get the word out, and praying for God’s leading to grow it in His time and His way. Learn more about Stephanie’s yoga instruction here: https://www.facebook.com/Stephaniewashingtonyoga/