Why I Stopped Teaching “Christian” Yoga

I have tried to write numerous times over the last two years. Our family Bible verse is:

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

To those of you reading this, I hope that you know that my words are coming from a place of love. Not from condemnation or malice. I enjoy sharing how God continues to mold and shape me, thanks for reading!

A few years ago I wrote a blog post titled “Does Downward Dog dishonor God?” I tried to address the question “Should Christians practice yoga?” Over the last few years my desire to know God has grown so much that last year I finally disciplined myself to read the Bible in its entirety.

Even before I began reading my Bible something had just continued to feel off over the last several years when I would practice and teach yoga. I would have loved to have stumbled across a blog post like this back when I was looking into teaching Christian yoga. The only reason I ever felt comfortable signing up for my 200 hour yoga certification was because the word “Christian” was in the title.

Before I go further let me give you a brief history on how I became involved in the yoga community and started teaching.

How I Started Teaching Yoga

The summer before I entered college I purchased a yoga DVD from Barnes and Nobles. This was back when I still went to the bookstore and didn’t simply Amazon prime everything to my front door. I used this DVD numerous times and began to also take a few yoga classes at the gym.

I continued to take yoga classes occasionally over the next four years and during my senior year of college the Kinesiology department offered a Movement Analysis Lab focusing on yoga. I was so excited! The instructor was very relatable, and told the class up front that she was a Christian, and used yoga as a way to “connect” with God. I felt like I had hit the jackpot, especially because I had never in all my years at Arizona State University had any of my teachers state they were Christians.

Up until this time I had never viewed yoga as a way to “connect” with God and had only used it as a way to exercise. I had only taken yoga classes at the gym and in 2005 the yoga classes being offered at my gym were strictly posture based.

Fast forward to March of 2007 and I became very, very sick. You can read more about the neurological disorder that paralyzed me from the neck down and my road to recovery was HERE.

On the road to recovery in 2009 I signed up for a Chrisitan Yoga Teacher Training. Since yoga had been one of the tools I had used during my recovery, I really wanted to share its benefits with others and the added bonus of sharing the gospel message at the same time really appealed to me.

That summer I learned all about “Christian” yoga. I was fired up and ready to encourage others to experience God more deeply through the practice of yoga at my church and any other church that would allow me to teach. Each class included scripture reading, a playlist that contained praise/worship songs, low impact movements, and ended with prayer. The only problem was that the churches that I approached with this amazing opportunity, my own church included, did not want to offer Christian Yoga classes.

I was perplexed and if I am being totally honest, slightly offended, about the reaction I received from local churches in my area. I felt equipped to teach yoga in a manner that honored the Lord yet wasn’t able to get my foot in the door to teach at any church.

Since I was having trouble finding my own yoga classes to teach, the Christian yoga studio that I took my training from offered me a few classes on their schedule. From there I continued to branch out and seek out more studios to teach. Over the next 4 years I taught at 8 different studios/gyms, became a certified personal trainer, and began to teach group fitness classes as well.

From 2010 – 2012 I was teaching upwards of twenty classes weekly. At this point I was no longer teaching at the Christian yoga studio. My classes didn’t contain scripture or prayer because they were being offered in a secular setting but my playlist did contain a mix of pop and praise music.

Once my second baby arrived in 2014, I was no longer teaching classes or practicing yoga, and the further removed I became from teaching and practicing the more I began to wonder if I should really be teaching yoga anymore at all.

Why I Stopped Teaching Yoga

My initial intentions of wanting to share Jesus with others were soon replaced with only wanting to stoke my own ego. During my time teaching yoga I took many yoga workshops and classes to help me fine-tune my own teaching ability. I began setting goals for myself that had nothing to do with my initial desire to help others. The more I embedded myself into our local yoga community the more yoga began to shape and form my identity.

Instead of being excited to share my faith I began to become prideful over how full my classes were and that I was actually able to contort my body into some pretty advanced yoga postures. I spent hours of my time in front of my camera taking pictures of myself in these advanced postures to post on social media in order to promote my classes.

I allowed my successes to become an idol and overshadow my Savior. While there isn’t anything wrong with being successful or taking pride in our gifts, our ability to use discernment often gets pushed aside when we elevate things or people to a position that only rightfully belongs to the one true God.

But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3

Being a “Christian” yoga teacher made me “feel” close to God. But I can’t say that I knew God. Feeling God and knowing God are two completely different things. Even when I was strictly teaching only Christian yoga I based my classes more off what I was feeling as opposed to what I had been studying in God’s word. Because truthfully, back then, the only time I really opened my Bible was to find a scripture that resonated with me for a class.

As a Christian my actions should point others to seek and find an ever deepening relationship with the Lord which is why I am no longer teaching or practicing yoga. Yoga is rooted in Hinduism and as a Christ follower I can no longer in good conscious be associated with teaching something that may cause others to stumble or open up a path to them that leads them away from the saving grace of Christ’s death on the cross.

God gives us all free will. But a Christian must not merely consider what is lawful, but what is expedient, and to edify others.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10:23

What About Christians Teaching/Practicing Only Christian Yoga?

There is no governing authority or church body presiding over Christian yoga or Christian Yoga Teacher Trainings. Even with all the best intentions, without this governing authority, there is no elder board or pastoral staff ensuring that the doctrine is sound and inline with what the Bible teaches.

The ability for new and even mature believers in Christ to be able to discern what is or isn’t biblically based can become much more blurry especially when churches are offering Christian yoga classes. If a person really starts enjoying a Christian yoga class there is a high probability that they will start to seek out other classes. Yoga can, in some regards, become a gateway into many new age practices that the Bible specially warns believers to stay away from. (Leviticus 20:6, Deuteronomy 18: 10-12)

Please know, I am not saying that everyone who practices yoga will participate in these activities but they do become much more accessible.

For someone who is seeking more peace in their life or looking for a greater purpose I can see how these things could become very attractive. For several years I had put so much weight in the fact that because I was a yoga teacher I should have zero stress and not deal with anxiety. When I was suffering with postpartum depression and anxiety I didn’t realize I had elevated my yoga practice to a place where I had actually made it an idol. Instead of seeking out God for comfort and wisdom I was looking at myself to calm my anxiety and overwhelming feelings of sadness and fear.

Recommended Reading: 10 Bible Verses for Anxiety and 10 Ways to Deal with Anxiety

As believers we have to stay alert and be mindful of how our actions can be perceived by others.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith. 1 Pet. 5:8-9

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

Even things that are good can distract us away from God. Taking care of our bodies is a good and even a biblically based practice to follow, but we have to be so careful not to let the pursuit of healthy living become an idol.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2


10 Ways to Deal with Anxiety

10 Ways to Deal with Anxiety

I am not naive to the fact that anxiety will always be an issue for me. That being said, I am so thankful for where I am today and how far I have come in being able to deal with anxiety.

When I was sick 9 years ago with a neurological disorder I went from being a healthy carefree 23 year old to a complete wreck physically, mentally, and emotionally. Once I recovered physically, I never really dealt with any underlying issues that being sick left on me mentally. After I had my second baby at age 30 I had postpartum depression and my anxiety was at an all time high.

Anxiety is not a topic that typically comes up in conversation and I wanted to have an open conversation about anxiety in this post. I am going to be completely real and honest. If you have never experienced a panic attack or anxiety what I am going to share probably won’t make any sense, but if you are one of the 40 million adults in the United States between the ages of 18 to 54 who suffer from anxiety know you are not alone.

I am sharing 10 things that I did or I am currently doing to deal with anxiety in hopes that it can help someone who is reading this. If you have a family member or friend who you know is struggling feel free to share this post with them.


This was probably the hardest thing for me. Admitting I had a problem that I couldn’t fix on my own was scary. I didn’t want to look like a failure for not being able to get my thoughts under control.

Let me give you an idea of just how out of control my thoughts had become. Again this will not sound rational. It doesn’t sound rational to me now. Hopefully this will paint a picture of just how far away from reality my thoughts had drifted.

After giving birth to our second child in 2014 the Ebola virus was starting to get out of control in Africa. Josh is a firefighter and I started to freak out that he was going to come into contact with an Ebola patient on shift and bring the virus home to our family and we were all going to die. I told you this wasn’t going to sound rational. I also had long debates with myself about not leaving the house with our kids while Josh was on shift because I was afraid a car would hit us, we would get robbed, or some other catastrophic disaster would befall us.

Thats the thing with anxiety. It is not rational. It takes a thought and runs off with it to the worst possible place you could go. One thought leads to another and to another until you or your family is dead and buried. At least that is how it looked in my situation.

Fast forward to today and I am currently 30 weeks pregnant with our third child. The news has been reporting on the Zika virus during my entire pregnancy and the damaging birth defects this virus can cause and I have not had any moments of anxiety over this. Had this happened two years ago I would have been a hot mess. I am a living testament that there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel if you are stuck in your anxiety.


Once I admitted I had a problem I went to my doctor and got a prescription for Zoloft. In my situation, medication alone wouldn’t have solved the underlying issues that were triggering my anxiety, but it did allow me to think clearly enough to get to the root of the problem.

While medication would have altered my mood it wouldn’t have allowed me to really deal with the reasons behind my anxiety. I was on medication for a little over six months and under doctor supervision.


I worked with a christian counselor for 6 months. My major breakthroughs involved recognizing what triggers my negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and how to catch, challenge, and change them when they appear. If you are suffering with depression or anxiety I highly encourage you to seek out a certified professional.


This might sound drastic to some of you but I cut myself off from the television. I loved me some reality tv and could easily get hooked into binge watching shows on Netflix. The other obsession I had was with Dateline. Me and Lester Holt go way back. I blame my Dad for my developed love of these types of shows ;). Anyway…with counseling I was starting to look at my life from a new perspective.

I realized that the television had become an idol for me. I loved the television.

I loved it more than spending time in God’s Word. I could say all I wanted about how much faith I had in God and how much I loved him but my actions sure weren’t reflecting those statements. The television wasn’t going to sustain me and fill me up the way I needed to be filled up.

This was not easy for me to do.

It was hard.

It was easy for me to sit on the sofa and watch mind numbing shows for hours at a time while the kids were napping or sleeping. When the house was quiet I didn’t like the thoughts swirling around in my head.

Just to clarify, I don’t think all television is bad, but honestly the majority of shows are not encouraging, uplifting, or positive which is I why I am now super selective on what I watch and what the kids watch.


I also was in the habit, and still have to watch myself, of always carrying my phone with me. It is so easy to start staring at my phone and begin scrolling through social media sites.

In case you haven’t noticed not everything online is super positive. It can be easy to be drawn into more negative patterns of thinking when you are constantly bombarding yourself with easy access to websites, blog posts, and news articles that will trigger negative thoughts.

I delated any app and cleared my website history that would trigger negative thinking. With these removed I prioritized apps and websites that encouraged me or inspired me to dig into God’s Word.


This one brings me to tears because I had no idea how many lies I was actually believing. I had forgotten about all the promises I have in Christ because they had become drowned out by the enemy’s lies.

In case you need a reminder here are a few of the many benefits and blessings gifted to us as redeemed children of God:

  • The Holy Spirit lives in me. (1 Cor. 3:16)
  • I am helped by God. (Hew. 4:16)
  • I am tenderly loved by God. (Jer. 31:3)
  • I am a temple in which God dwells. (1 Cor. 3:16)
  • I am chosen by Christ to bear fruit. (John 15:6)
  • I am firmly rooted and built up in Christ. (Col. 2:7)
  • I am born of God, and the evil one can’t touch me. (1 John 5:18)
  • I have been removed from Satan’s domain and transferred into the Kingdom of Christ. (Col. 1:13)
  • I have been given a spirit of power, love, and self discipline. (2 Tim. 1:7)
  • My needs are met by God. (Phil. 4:19)
  • I can do all things through Christ, who gives me the strength I need. (Phil. 4:13)

And the list could go on and on. If you are struggling I would suggest picking a few of these and writing them on notecards and placing them around your house.


With all the free time on my hands not watching television shows and scrolling the internet on my phone I began to read my Bible more and found several podcasts from churches and pastors that I filled my free time with.

Let me say this about reading my Bible. It is a discipline. It takes time and dedication to read. I would recommend to not jump around verse to verse or just randomly open your bible and point your finger and begin reading.

The Bible was meant to read together. We all know that the Bible contains promises for us and there are so many verses about comfort that can be used when we are struggling to encourage us. The problem that comes by doing this is when we take these verses and make them simple quotes, that look great on an instagram feed with a pretty picture behind it, we fail to see the bigger picture in scripture. We miss the context of the verse.

My recommendation. Read the bible as the bible. Not a verse. I have completed the new testament and have 10 books left in the old testament. While some books have been more challenging for me to read than others, the time I have spent reading has been so worth it. I have grown to love the old testament, never thought I would type that, and have been blown away in how it all connects together.


My anxiety caused me to create a bubble around myself and my family. I stayed home and didn’t really venture away from the house unless it was absolutely necessary. At my counselors suggestion I started to make plans to help get myself out of the house. I joined a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group at my church and the following year joined a women’s bible study.

I love my MOPS group and my bible study ladies! They have been a HUGE blessing to me and I am so thankful that I stepped out of my comfort zone to connect with other believers.

Human connection is so important. God has not left us here alone to struggle through things by ourselves.


I am also praying more, memorizing more scripture, and praying more scripture over my life, my family, my friends. I am also not ashamed to ask for prayer when I need it.

In the past I had questioned if it was even worth asking for prayer in certain circumstances but I have learned that asking for prayer isn’t about putting burdens on our friends. It’s about letting them walk by our side down a path we were never intended to walk alone.


Over the last year and half our family has made changes to what we eat, how we are eating, and also have rejoined a gym that has childcare and allows Josh and I to workout together.

We are a family of soon to be 5 that lives off a single income. Several years ago we put our beloved Lifetime Fitness membership on hold because it just was not working for our budget anymore. We waited until we found something that we liked, and our kids liked, and that worked for our budget. It took awhile, but we finally have found a new gym that is perfect for our growing family and budget.

The few hours Josh and I do get to spend to together in the gym are refreshing and life giving. They are recharge hours that are vitally important for us, and let’s be honest, getting to take an uninterrupted shower after a workout is pretty awesome. There are so many great reasons to exercise on a regular basis. If you are needing more motivation to start exercising and eating better you can read my post 3 Biblical Reasons to Take Care of Your Body.

As I am getting closer to approaching my due date in November with baby #3 I know it will be important to stay focused on what really matters. It would be easy for me to slip back into old habits while caring for a newborn, so I am writing this post as a reminder to myself to see how far I have come over the last two years.

I love the verse “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”  2 Corinthians 5:17.

I am a new creation and I am so thankful that my identity is rooted in Christ and that the Holy Spirit lives in me. When I stopped trying to fix myself on my own I allowed His power to work in me. As believers I think we can get into the mindset of thinking that we need to muscle through challenges while in reality we need to surrender ourselves, pull out our white flag, and allow God to take over the reigns.


10 Bible Verses For Anxiety

Bible Verses For Anxiety

Everyday I wakeup I have to make a choice. Will I let my thoughts control my day? Or, Will I control my thoughts? Now in theory this shouldn’t be that hard to accomplish but in actuality it can be extremely difficult to not give in to the never ending, ever creeping, negative ferris wheel that seems to constantly spin in my brain.

Anxiety happens when you think you have to figure everything out. Turn to God. He has a plan.

Below I listed several of my favorite bible verses for anxiety that have encouraged and guided me when I feel I might be starting to slip back into old habits that trigger my anxious thoughts. I wanted to share these for anyone needing to be encouraged in this way.

If you are dealing with anxiety please know you are not alone.  My prayer for you is that you will take comfort in these scriptures and that God’s truth will calm your anxious heart.

Trust in God. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Pray. Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

The cure for a troubled heart. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Seek encouragement. Be an encourager. Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

Stay diligent. Be aware of what and who you surround yourself with. 1 Peter 5:6-8   Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Say this to yourself when fear overtakes you. Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

The reason you have nothing to fear. Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Memorize this verse. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Be courageous. 2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Take your thoughts captive. 2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.