Lighten Up | Yoga & Life Coaching Workshop

LIGHTEN UP for Christmas Retreat

Co-hosted by Grace x Strength & She Seeks

20 amazing souls showed up to this God-breathed event. Some for themselves, some to show us support, some for Jesus.  Whatever the motivation behind, we hope that each and every one of our guest walked away with a “lightened up” sprit and renewed heart for the season and new year to come.

Tucked away in the lower north shore suburb of Artarmon, Yoga Pavilion, we felt, was the perfect spot for our mini-retreat.  We divided the group into two sessions and grouped them based on the level of yoga experience that we knew or felt they would prefer. We hoped that each individual walked away with their She Seeks coaching booklet ready to take the world with their 2018 goals and some soulful moments on their mat in their yoga session.

As with all our events, classes and retreats, it is with trust and faith that we believe the day’s events and the people are answered prayers. Prayers from the hosts that:

1.Our hearts are postured humbly to bring Him glory through our passion do what we do.

2. He calls those to show up to show up.

3. He uses our being, our lips, our bodies to be the vessels to bring His message to those who need to hear and to be the heart to those whom He wants to touch.

The event filled our hearts. We are so thankful for the honest feedback, positive and tips for improvement (where there will always be).

Our gratitude goes to our guests who so faithfully stayed with us and practiced “being present”.

We are so pleased to be able to offer 10% of our ticket sales to help Holy Yoga’s Breathe Love Give Campaign, to being trauma-sensitive yoga training to parts of the world that need it. May You All be blessed.

With love and light,

Alyssa, Josephine & Joanne xx

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Soul Care Retreat 2017 | Christian Yoga Retreat

9th September 2017 marks a very special milestone for me. It was the first ever retreat hosted by Holy Yoga Australia. It was a Spirit-led, God-breathed success that brought His people together to gather and steep into the goodness of our Heavenly Father. It was a chance for those whom were seeking spirituality to meet Jesus on their yoga mat. It was a dream come true for me.

Who would have known that 3 years ago (back in 2014) when I was yearning for a deeper relationship with Jesus and struggling with how the love of the benefits of yoga could complement my faith journey, that I was capable of leading a spiritual yoga retreat? In the space of 3 years, the Lord has led me into deserted places of loneliness to reflect and grow, and risen me to be the forever young leader in front of crowds like this retreat. And for the opportunities and lessons, I am immeasurably grateful.

The many lessons learned in co-creating and collaborating with the co-hosts of this retreat have been precious. From its inception from a bold and visionary Holy Yoga leader in San Francisco, to the many fears of logistics, turnout, funds, sponsorships…the Lord has proven us unfaithful yet mercifully provided. The number of times, we cried out to the Lord together because the 4 of us couldn’t agree nor connect at the same time. The number of times, our faith withered at the thought of financial challenges. The number of times we put ourselves before the Lord and our fellow co-hosts. How many “number of times” can actually happen within a 2 week planning period??!!!

YET. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to work through all of our challenges and strengthened us.

To detail the challenges that each of us were all going through in our own lives is pitiful. But in the midst of the planning, every bit of our every day lives were real. 3 of us were going through home moves (interstate relocation, even), 1 of us was living on the other side of the world. 2 of us were going through significantly changes in our professional work lives. While all 4 of us had family to look after. Sure, we all have such challenges but I would like to think that it’s not every day that we move residences nor change jobs. As pitiful as it is, it was real and I honour each of us that through the tough season, we were able to stretch ourselves further for God’s work and ministry. This, is the very heart of our ministry. Sacrificial love. If love gave only when easy, that it isn’t sacrificial.

***

So what about the actual day?

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” ‭‭~ Ephesians‬ ‭3:20

“Wow, just wow.” This has become my favourite expression.  Because words can not describe what the Lord brought to us.

Holy Spirit was present. The people He brought to the place was providence. We knew that each soul and being that we had been praying for was the fruit of love and faith. We knew that our work was done and it was the moment to hand over to the Lord to speak words over these faithful people who had been led here. We knew that this was a sacred space for these people to meet Jesus on their mats. We knew that this was the time to let the Holy Spirit take over all of us. And all that was done in His name.

It was Christ-centred yoga.
It was Community.
There was grace and there was strength.

We all learned to live beyond ourselves in that space.
The fire and water ceremony and heart circle was divine. I sensed that most of us had something deep to surrender and may we continue to do so. I sensed that there was yearning in the room to reach into this world, and be part of a community where we can serve and have purpose. I believe the heart circle was such a reminder.

I am still in awe of the power of the Lord and the privilege I have had to host this event.

I pray that the hearts He has spoke to will continue to open and soften to His voice. I pray that the next retreat will be equally successful in that He will provide as He did and grow us deeper yet still.

Lord, I love you.  Friends, I love you.

Let us build this Kingdom of love together through the unity of the Spirit.
Last but not least, when I speak of provision, our sponsors are those gracious hearts who didn’t hesitate to serve His Kingdom, our community and bless our retreatees. Deep gratitude to each and every one of you. May you reap what you sow.

SPONSORS:
1. Alyssa Mak – Alyssa Mak, Pilates & Yoga Instructor
2. Christian Women in Business – Sarah Jane-Meeson, Founder
3. Luxe Mane Salon – Lily, Hairstylist & Owner
4. Mums With A Mission – Cath D, Founder
5. Quit the Quick Fix – Kate Thompson, Founder
6. Salt + Glow – Roxy, Founder
7. SheSeeks.com.au – Joanne Tweedie, Founder & LifeCoach

Thank you to the lovely Sugar Apple Studio for allowing us this beautiful space.

Thank you to our wonderful creative video partners from Carbon Lily who poured this soul and energy beyond what we had expected, in His name.

Keeping Warm with Chair Yoga | Wesley Mission

“If I’m still going to yoga classes at 81 years of age, know that it was you Heroes who inspired me.”

Our most dedicated students are not those who can do the headstands and splits. In fact, they’re the ones who show up with a smile every week, even if their arthritis is flaring up, even if it means catching the bus in in 5degrees cold and nursing a frozen shoulder, a bunked knee, a toe injury, a sore back… you name it, we’ve heard it from this community of elderly. 

Teaching yoga and bringing the Gospel to this community of seniors is not about how “good” you can be. It’s learning about grace and courage. To others and to yourself.

To us, this is the richest reward. This warms our heart, mind, soul and body.

Oh how much we love you brave souls and learn from you. 

And of course, thank you always, Wesley Mission for providing us this safe space to serve, to share our stories and to grow. 
Serving in His name ✝️

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National Volunteer Week 2017 | Wesley Mission

The best contribution to $4M I’ve ever made – the joys of my life. Some would have heard my story for the very first time of how I got the privilege to volunteer, at Wesley Mission’s School for Seniors as a Yoga teacher, at this celebration at #nationalvolunteerweek. 

Jeannie Mathews, I’m forever thankful to you for bringing me in. 
***

Today is the last day of National Volunteer week, a celebration to recognise those who contribute to the community in volunteer services.

Today, I am so proud and honoured to be celebrating this with other volunteers in Wesley Mission, as they host their last afternoon tea for this week. Some of you will have heard my story of why I volunteer at Wesley for the first time. And I will share this personal story again and again of my calling into volunteering in this loving place. All you need is to ask me 😊

Today, I met those who had volunteered for 30 years and those who were still volunteering and serving the community in their 90’s. To think my Friday morning yoga classes offered to the School for Seniors in the past 16 months is a big commitment is naïve, compared to the work that some of these other volunteers have done. Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to undermine the hours and effort that I have spent and the benefits that the community receive. But it was certainly very grounding to see the joy of those who have served in community, especially the elderly community (94 year olds!!!) 

Wesley Mission highlighted that the contribution is equivalent to a saving of $4M AUD in wages. The impact of the lives that volunteers is invaluable. 

96% of volunteers say that they feel happier and sleep better.

I certainly feel and own this privilege. ❤️ Curious to know if it’s true? Give it a go. Try and see for yourself!

My Last Yoga Class of 2016 | Wesley Mission

A year ago, I was praying a lot for an opportunity to show my church that Holy Yoga can be introduced to Christians. Why? Because, a lot of Christians believe that Yoga is incompatible with their faith. I disagreed and felt that God called me into this ministry and gave me permission to incorporate this into ministry life.

From not knowing where to go to teaching my final class at Wesley Mission today, it has been a blessed and anointed journey. 

These students come from all walks of life and have a breath and depth of life experience. They come from different cultural and religious backgrounds and gather here in this Community Centre to be in relationship with people and to learn and grow.

I am so thankful for their love. That they have embraced me for who I am, what I preach, how I teach without judgement. This is a place where I truly feel “no judgement”. 

Today’s class was led by a fellow Christian Yogi. It was an opportunity for her to grow at the same time a Divine plan for me, as I had broken my toe a week before and was extremely late to class for the first time. The unpredictable circumstances and how it was neatly catered for was no coincidence and definitely Divine intervention. For that, there is no shortage of praise and glory to our Big Man Above who also knows best. 


I love gifting. It’s my passion because I know that it’s a way I can share my love with others. Today, I had the honour to gift my students with Kris Kringle stockings I had been making for a couple of weeks. I was also blessed with a gift and lunch treat from them in return.

During lunch, my student said this to me:

“I have more respect for Wesley Mission since seeing yoga classes being offered as part of the curriculum. It says to me that they are diverse and accepting of different cultures. You are an anointed teacher in a blessed place. I truly believe in your spiritual journey and teachings. Thank you.”

Now, THIS, is the heart of what I do. Not to segregate but to unite. 


The thought of not teaching next year did cross my mind because Friday mornings could mean some down time for me. But I would dishonour myself, Wesley Mission, my students and my faith if I didn’t continue to serve in this joyous place. So, with that said, Happy Christmas and see you all in 2017!

First Year of a Holy Yogi


A year ago, I taught my first Holy Yoga Class. From not knowing how to get started, to growing the student database and teaching hours to 3 digits, to media coverage, to workshops… This is a blessed journey.

I still remember my first class of 4 friends in the community room in my estate. God opened doors for me. Then I struggled to find a place to teach and God opened a door again and I held my second public class with 30 people at the Mowbray School hall where I had little teaching experience. I remember having to write down every pose and cue on a sheet of paper together with my sharing and intention for every single class. Class prep consumed my waking hours for the first few months. Now, over 100 classes later, I am far more natural and comfortable teaching without notes. I allow for laughs and tongue-ties when I’m stuck, knowing that students will have grace for me.

I remember making bracelets and praying over those who would receive them, asking God to pour His blessings over them.  Now, these bracelets are part of my memories and although I don’t give them out anymore, they have made a mark in my journey.

I remember the excitement I got when someone who finds my classes online emails me about my classes. Now, I need to set aside time to reply emails about classes and instructor training every second day.

I remember when I wouldn’t have a venue to teach after Christmas because the school hall was going under renovations. God opened doors again and found me a proper yoga studio locally. I didn’t even need to flinch. He just gave me what I asked for. All I needed was patience.

I remember when my donation-based pricing caused tension for students and for me. God again, poured His grace, and gave me a way to introduce fixed pricing. Now, everyone is happy with the pricing. (I hope 😜)

I remember wanting to be able to teach at my church. I prayed hard enough that He gave me a volunteer role at the church’s senior school. Now, this time is one of my favourite times of the week; to spend it with the elderly and bring a smile to their face.

I remember when I prayed for more exposure for the ministry here in Australia. I didn’t understand why God sent me down the path of mainstream media, 3rd page of Sydney Morning Herald plus video all over the Internet when I wasn’t prepared for the opposition. I prayed to God for help, only to find more media outlets picking up this controversial topic and my voice, face and words being misconstrued in certain instances. I cried to God for help and realised this was His great plan when a Salvation Army journalist picked it up and covered my story in Truth, finally. And since then, has brought on some more Christians into my class and allowed for my students to come and stand in faith together with me. God graces me. Media coverage with more students? Can’t be right? He is a good good Father.

I remember when my sudden passion and devotion for serving threw my family off balance. Then God sent me a sister to remind me of my priorities as mother and wife. “Family is number one ministry.” She said. And was she right!

I remember when I was called into Holy Yoga Therapy training during this first year and how that added a wealth of knowledge and spiritual depth to my life. Growing up, I’d always wanted a career in health care and wellness. Anything is possible with Him. Even switching careers. God fulfilled that childhood dream. And on the topic of dreams, I really needed one from childhood to be fulfilled

I remember when this Holy Yoga thing consumed me so much that my husband sat me down and said, “Babe, I support you and how our family is serving in Holy Yoga.  But you are one person and can’t do this alone. Either you dial down what you do…” (I nearly stopped him right there)”or you find someone to help you.” We prayed on this together and God sent me a partner to work through this together.

I remember getting upset with my husband on the several occasions he was home late or forgot to inform me that he was going to be travelling. (Not unusual in this household. But really something that gets to me). Yet God’s grace shines upon me and I learned to share that grace on others. So, I addressed it with my husband with patience and compassion.  My husband learned grace too. He received and gave it back. Often.

I remember the occasions when I had to deal with conflict. Some of which were interpersonal. Some of which were intrapersonal. I experienced, first hand, the power and impact of prayer on my life. I learned about letting go and leaning in.

I remember at points when I felt lonely on this journey in the past 12 months. I remember about the enemy trying to get through the cracks and his dumb illusions. God rescues me by reminding me of this community I am part of. Church, friends, family… My hubby has been so pivotal in this. Together, we stand strong for what we believe and lift each other up when the other falls.

All of this is part of only a beginning.

My biggest joy in serving is being able to touch the lives of those who love yoga and being able to share Scripture with them along the way.
Thank you to my dearest friends and family who have supported my calling and entrusted in me to lead your yoga classes.

God has taught me a thing or two about leaning in to Him, faithfulness and opposition. This Holy Yoga thing has really given me a taste of what the fruit of the Spirit is – love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness & self-control ❤️
For as long as God allows, I’ll serve in this way. Thank You, Heavenly Father!

Here’s to striking a few poses and having fun!