Holy Yoga FAQ | Christian Yoga Australia

Here’s the transcript of my radio interview! So honoured to have had the opportunity to be part of it.   I’m grateful for all of your support and the number of listeners I got.

The phones were ringing off the hook with listeners calling in to ask questions, show support for Christian yoga and also showing interest for the 3 months FREE Holy Yoga pass with me!  Praise God for opening doors for our ministry but also for those who have been wanting to practise in this way.

ABOUT JOSEPHINE
“Jo” is a Christian, mother of 2 boys, currently living in Sydney, teaching Holy Yoga and running a private yoga therapy practice . Born and raised in Hong Kong (obtaining Australian citizenship in her youth), she returned to Sydney complete her final years of secondary and tertiary studies.  After graduating from Marketing and Computing in UNSW, she started her career in the flourishing industry of Digital Marketing where she met her husband, whom is also a Christian.  In 2006, a friend took her to her first yoga class.  Since then she has been practising yoga on and off, and has developed a strong passion for it. Last year, she decided to take a break from her longstanding career and digital consultancy business to pursue building a wellness ministry – bringing the Gospel to people through yoga classes and therapy.  She believes this is God’s calling for her and if God willing, her dream is to run a wellness ministry expanding into other areas of wellness and interests for the community and to bring Holy Yoga into ASIA!!

 

WHAT IS HOLY YOGA?
Holy Yoga is a Christian ministry founded by Brooke Boon in the U.S. and has currently over 1200 instructors around the world.

Holy Yoga takes the 3 modalities of yoga, which are: breathwork, meditation and exercise, and combines it with Gospel preaching.

To each individual who practises Holy Yoga, it may be for their individual purpose and reason, such as:

  1. Relaxation
  2. Meditation
  3. Worship
  4. Exercise & wellbeing
  5. Or all of the above!

Ultimately, it is the connecting with God during the practise that is the goal of Holy Yoga’s existence.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF HOLY YOGA?
Holy Yoga exists to bring the gospel to all corners of the earth through the modality of yoga.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOLY YOGA AND OTHER FORMS OF YOGA?
The key difference between Holy Yoga and other types of non-Christian yoga is in the Truth seeking. We, Holy Yogis, seek the Trinitarian God – which exists as Father, Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. We believe the Bible is the only Truth and the Word of God and that He sent His only son, Jesus, to bring salvation to all who accept Him as their Saviour.

Other than the Truth seeking, the yoga poses and the breathing are the same. We do not condemn, however, do not believe nor engage in worshipping anything other than our Heavenly Father above during our practise. Therefore, it is quite common to hear poses being referred to in their English names rather than the Sanskrit names in a Holy Yoga class.

WHO IS HOLY YOGA FOR?  ARE THERE AGE LIMITS?
Well, Holy Yoga is only for those who can handstand! Hahaha! If that were the case, the grace of God would be futile….. (joking and laughing)*

Holy Yoga is for EVERYONE! It is a grace-filled practice that welcomes all. It is, however, advisable to seek out classes that suit an individual’s fitness level. As with varying levels of fitness programs in market, we offer gentle classes to power flow classes.  From kids through to seniors, there is a practice for you!  In fact, Holy Yoga offers speciality training for Kids and Chair Yoga for the less mobile or senior population.

Personally, I like teaching gentle and slow flows because I find that less physical movement allows for more space for meditation and drawing awareness to the mind and body. That’s not to say that a power class doesn’t generate a Christ-honouring experience for those who enjoy moving and worshipping with their bodies!

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU PRACTISE? 
How often? I would recommend every day for a minimum of 15 minutes! We like to practise prayer without ceasing. So, what better way to dedicate time to relax and unwind; not to mention, to hear from God and exercise every day! There is no limitation as to the time of day, although, our bodies will release different hormones in response to different activity levels and even yoga poses. So, I would be mindful not to be practising adrenaline-producing power yoga just before bedtime.
When it comes to joining classes, at least once a week is recommended for reasons of creating a habit and also following through with the theme/series for the meditation.


GROUP CLASSES OR PRIVATE LESSONS?
In terms of joining classes, it’s really a personal preference. I currently teach 4 group classes a week and spend 2 mornings in therapy consultations for those seeking a more personalised program to target specific issues in their wellbeing.

Group classes can hold up to 25 people and are a great way to experience Holy Yoga and being in community. Private lessons can also be organised, too!

WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH HOLY YOGA?
Holy Yoga changed my life. Essentially, it is picking up a spiritual discipline that creates time for me to do what we are best to be doing – connecting with God!

Being a Christian is an awesome thing! But even then, unless you have a relationship with Jesus, it will be hard to understand God’s grace.  So it’s not so much the yoga as it is the opportunity for me to spend time with God.  One of my biggest learning is how to live by faith not not by sight.  Since the day I started my ministry, there are just countless number of instances where God has showed up in the most unexpected ways.  I wish I had enough time to share some individual stories but we’ll save that for the next time.  It is humbling to seek the Lord every day and I NEED IT.  I thank God, daily, for this blessing.

Beyond the spiritual development, let’s not understate the physical benefits of yoga.  In an article released recently (Feb 2016) by The Yoga Journal, it states that more than 500 research papers have been published on ‘Yoga Therapy’, which has been described as ‘modern medicine’s gold standard’.  Google ‘yoga therapy benefits’ and you’ll find numerous studies proving the benefits of yoga for the brain and the body.

Since my regular yoga practicing, I have seen huge improvements on my health.  I used to suffer from frequent migraine attacks, lower back pain and a sluggish bowel.  Yoga has really helped in relieving them.

HOW ABOUT YOUR STUDENTS’ EXPERIENCE WITH HOLY YOGA?
My students? I can’t speak for each and every one of them but from the feedback I gather and my intuition, they enjoy Holy Yoga for their personal reasons. Most recently, I have seen a student so moved by the Holy Spirit, she was crying while thanking God. Other times, students are in it for the physical benefits. But I truly believe that they are there for a reason. *Smiles

 
For more testimonials from Jo’s students, see the Review section on Holy Yoga Australia’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/HolyYogaAustralia


IS YOGA A RELIGION?
Yoga is not a religion.  Some religions, such a Hinduism and Buddhism, may have incorporated yoga as a spiritual discipline but yoga’s origins pre-date the inception of those religions. Much like fasting and prayer is a common spiritual discipline across various religions, yoga is just another one. To some, yoga may even be just a part of their cultural tradition without any spiritual attachment.

The direct translation of yoga is ‘to yoke’ or ’to be in union with’.  This has been adopted by different yogic philosophies to mean the union of different “higher beings” – some, seeking a higher form of themselves; for others, seeking a Divine God.  As Christians, we know our Truth is to ‘yoke with Christ’. (Matthew 11:29-30).

I would like to think it easy for us, Chinese, to understand how religious philosophies have been fused into cultural traditions and equally vice versa. Think Tai Chi and its roots in Taoist philosophies, Karate and its roots in Buddhism, and the foundations of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It’s widely debated whether Christians should practise yoga because of its common relationship with Hinduism. But as a Chinese Christian, if I were to subscribe to that theory, I should refuse then to believe in TCM, stop giving out Red Pockets during Chinese New Year, stop eating Ho See Fat Choi, etc….. Because all of those have roots in superstition or references to Taoist philosophies.  The point I’m trying to make is that, in this context, the emphasis should not be placed on the references to the tradition but instead, be concerned with the intention, the purpose and the function.

ARE THERE ANY RISKS IN TAKING UP HOLY YOGA?
There is always the risk of injury when taking up a physical activity of any sort.  However, I would say that yoga would lie on the low end of the risk scale. Sometimes, injury can come about with incorrect alignment, often occurring when entering into or coming out of a pose.  Contrary to the intention of practising yoga, injuries are often a result of competitive or perfectionist attitudes, as in “I should be able to do it.  He/She can.”.  Part of practising yoga is to remind ourselves to be humble and to not fall into that type of mentality. Rule of thumb is to listen to your body and only stretch yourself to what your body will allow.

WHAT & HOW CAN ONE EXPECT HOLY YOGA TO IMPACT ON THEIR PERSONAL FAITH
Personal faith is a very personal thing. You are chosen by God in His time and things happen according to His plan. Everything that we have is under the provision of God. (John 3:27)

Whilst some may advance deeper into their spiritual life with a Holy Yoga practise, others may be sitting there wondering why they can only concentrate on just doing the poses and hear ‘nothing’. We only need to trust that God has His time.

Just ‘show up’ and be thankful for it. I believe that the showing up is the most important. It is the willingness to say to yourself and God, “Here I am.”

If you’re a long-time Christian, this is a riveting opportunity to live out Jesus’ greatest command: “To love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength [body]” (Mark 12:30)

And, if you aren’t a regular church goer, it might just be your weekly healthy dose of the Scriptures.  You never know until you try.

WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU NOTICED SINCE PRACTISING & TEACHING HOLY YOGA?
I think we’ve covered some of the spiritual and physical changes in the previous questions.  What I haven’t spoken about yet is the knowledge acquisition and the emotional intelligence side of things.  For fear of sounding arrogant, my hypothesis is that I have become a more intelligent person!

I guess the hours of study I’ve poured into studying the human body’s intricate systems, anatomy and to make sense of all of this within the context of God’s creation could have expanded my brain capacity.  I love Dr Caroline Leaf’s work.  If you haven’t heard of her, she is a Christian Neuroscientist with over 30 years of experience understanding the human brain; how our conscious and non-conscious mind work together within God’s purpose and original design.  In one of her talks, she speaks of a piece of non-Christian research confirming that ‘man grows intelligence through meditating on the Scriptures’.  Boy, did that confirm my hypothesis! Glory be to God!

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE TEACHINGS FROM THE BIBLE?
Gosh, there are so many.  I love Proverbs as a Jesus-approved ‘self-help’ book!  I love the Gospels because they are filled with stories of Jesus and I love stories. I also love all the books written by Paul for his conviction and witness.  But my favourite verse is one that my father has brought me up memorising:

Be completely humble, and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” ~ Ephesians 4: 2

It’s an impossible verse to live out every second, unless of course, you are Jesus.  I’m so glad I have the BEST teacher.

FINAL SHARING
This is how founder of Holy Yoga, Brooke Boon, describes the Holy Yoga Lifestyle in her book, Holy Yoga.

  1. Prayer without ceasing
  2. Confess, repent and forgive
  3. Practise contentment
  4. Practise obedience
  5. Do everything with love

That’s the kind of lifestyle I try to live out every day.  Please don’t judge me if I fail often.  Oh, that’s right!  Thank God, for Jesus my Saviour 🙂

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