Reclaiming Yoga as a Christian Healing Tool

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For real change to take place, the body needs to learn that the danger has passed and to live in the reality of the present. ~Bessel van der Kolk, MD (pioneer in the field of traumatology) in The Body Keeps the Score

I have already written about my journey listening to the voice of God as I’ve explored yoga as a creative Christian practice. I also want to share another reason behind my exploration of yoga as I’ve sought the Lord’s will and wisdom in this somewhat tricky and controversial issue as a follower of Jesus Christ.

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I am deeply passionate about helping others find the healing power of Jesus through creativity, beauty, art, and worship. I am currently writing a devotional Bible study about that very topic. And more and more, as I am reading, researching and writing, God is leading me to connect this love of healing through the arts with my love for yoga and all things embodied. In the midst of my research and exploration of trauma, I quickly found the work of Bessel van der Kolk, MD, a leader in the field of trauma since the 1970s. In his own research he has more recently discovered that yoga and other embodied practices help those who suffer from PTSD and chronic trauma. Let me refer you to two articles and a recorded interview on his research and discoveries:

Transcending Trauma article by Linda Sparrow

Yoga and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (an interview with Bessel van der Kolk, MD)

On Being Interview with Bessel van der Kolk (How Trauma Lodges in the Body)

On Being Interview with Bessel can der Kolk (Trauma & Resilience Land in Our Body)

As I have studied trauma and the effect of the arts and embodied practices in healing therapies, God is asking me to continue to reclaim and reconcile the practice of yoga as one means of healing. If secular researchers are discovering that yoga helps victims of trauma, then instead of rejecting yoga as a whole as something evil or sinful, God is saying to take all that is good, helpful and healing from the practice and reclaim it for His Great Glory. “All things find their creation in me as Creator. So don’t let the enemy steal that which I created,” God is speaking. “I need my people to redeem and reclaim that which I created and to restore it as a Christian creative practice and healing tool to bring wholeness and freedom to my children. If you are going to be in the business of healing, then you need to help me redeem this.” Isaiah 58 says:

The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

I want to walk with Jesus to Raise up, Repair, and Restore.

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It is my belief that all true healing in the deepest places of our being comes from Jesus Christ. If yoga is bringing healing to victims of trauma, then we need to reclaim this healing tool. How much more powerful and effective can this healing tool be if we add the power of the blood of Jesus? Powerful, indeed!

In April 2017, I attended training with YogaFaith to become a certified Trauma Sensitive YogaFaith (TSYF) trainer. Even though I was there to learn, God met me in powerful ways–bringing healing and wholeness to broken places within, places I didn’t even know were broken, but so desperately in need of his healing touch! He truly is God, Our Healer! I am now a Lead Trainer for the TSYF training program, offering trainings each year in Ohio (click the TSYF link above to find details on these trainings).

As I stated in my previous article:

It all boils down to this: #JesusFirstYogaSecond

It’s not about the yoga. It never has been. It’s about listening to the Voice that calls me to work alongside him to redeem, restore, reclaim and reconcile. I’ll follow that Voice. With all that I am—heart, soul, mind and STRENGTH—for in Him I live and move and have my being! To God be all glory!

Blessings of ARTistry, CREATivity & BEaUty, Jody

(c) 2016, Jody Thomae

Jody teaches a redeemed and reconciled form of yoga called YogaFaith. She has collaborated with YogaFaith to develop a virtual Bible Study that includes an embodied practice of yoga to accompany her first book God’s Creative Gift–Unleashing the Artist in You. Find out more at YogaFaith Virtual Bible Self-Study or by contacting her at jodythomae@zoominternet.net. You can find out more at rootedreaching.com or by following her YogaFaith with Jody Facebook page.

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Jody Thomae is the author of God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You and The Creator’s Healing Power—Restoring the Broken to Beautiful, in-depth, interactive devotional books that are part of the Bible Studies to Nurture the Creative Spirit Within series. Jody has been involved in worship arts ministry since 1997, serving as worship arts ministry pastor, worship leader and creative arts director. She has coordinated artistic involvement in church services and regional worship events through dance, drama, poetry and fine arts and performs, teaches, preaches, and leads workshops in the area of creativity, spirituality and embodied prayer. She also leads worship at local seminars, retreats and women’s events. In addition, she has recorded  a devotional album entitled Song of the Beloved, which is available through Spotify, CD Baby and iTunes.

God's Creative Gift by Jody ThomaeJodyThomaeCDcoverart_FA_printBook Front

Her passion is for the revelation of God to be made more real through the prophetic use of the arts in church and formational ministry. It is her desire to portray the message of Christ’s desperate and unfailing love for His people to help sustain the hearts of the broken and weary. She is particularly interested in the way in which God uses the arts to bring formational development and healing to His people. Life scriptures include Isaiah 50:4-7; and Zephaniah 3:14-17.

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