Jen Hoyord is a Master Holy Yoga Instructor and a Holy Yoga Teacher Trainer, as well as a yoga therapist. She comes alive in her faith and her yoga, sharing both with the hope that all people will experience the joy of a dedicated practice and relationship with Jesus. She loves living in the Montana mountains with her husband, Marty, and their golden retriever. When she’s not on the mat, you can find her down dogging on her standup paddleboard, digging into essential oils, nordic skiing, hiking or soaking in local hot springs.

sy_must_change_to_grow.202113952_stdIt took a little while, but I found something better than yoga…

Ten years ago, I probably wouldn’t have believed it, but it’s true. I was first introduced to the practice in my early 20s, and as far as I was concerned, yoga involved a single VHS tape that I played and re-played day after day, even after I had the postures memorized. But I loved it. When I wore that tape out, I bought the same practice in DVD format.

Here’s the thing: There was nothing magical about the instructor or impressive about the sequence. It’s just that I was wading through a journey of anxiety and depression, and yoga became my refuge. At the time, I didn’t understand why or how it was working for me, but I just knew it was.

I don’t feel lost anymore…

I know they say not all who wander are lost, but back then, I was pretty lost. I felt like I had been given glimpses of who I was created to be, but I hadn’t found the freedom to fully embrace that person. I was battling the darkness in my mind and struggling against my own body, watching my weight fluctuate, wandering in and out of college while working a desk job that stifled my spirit. But eventually, grace intervened, and despite my resistance to religion, I landed in the lap of Love and settled into a relationship with Jesus.

I found Holy Yoga…

Shortly after, I packed up my belongings (including that DVD) and wandered over a thousand miles to Montana. I finally felt home and had more peace, but I was still searching for purpose. Then my mentor suggested that I teach Christian yoga. Neither of us knew if this even existed, but she thought it was a perfect fit for me. I thought she was insane. But I still looked into it. I had never even taken a live yoga class of any kind. But I still signed up for instructor training; just as soon as the founder of Holy Yoga assured me that this was “real” yoga and not just stretching to Christian music.

I flew to a place I had never been to spend a week with people I had never met to learn how to teach a style of yoga that I had never done. And it was the best week of my life. It was also the best yoga of my life; but it wasn’t about the yoga, it was about the connection of myself to my God. There I got to see myself as my Creator saw me. Seeds for healing my body image issues were planted, and Light rushed into the places in my mind that once held fear and doubt.

I met women at that training who are still some of the most important women in my life more than six years later. God gave me community and filled my heart with Truth and sent me home with open hands, ready to serve and to share.

So what’s better than yoga?

Yoga that is holy, set apart for the glory and honor of God. There is nothing like yoga that connects you to the awareness that you are a part of something bigger than yourself; to the one true God that is more capable and more loving than you could ever imagine. It’s an invitation I rarely turn down; one to come to the mat, just as I am, into the arms of my God that is always reminding me I am enough.

http://soulshine-yoga.com/

https://www.facebook.com/bozeman.soulshine

Photo credits: Stephanie Moors Photography