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.
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
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.
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
*** Shared with permission from CYA Founding Master Trainer, Director of Education & Contributing writer, Jody Thomae. You can follow Jody and more of her musings on embodies prayer and creative worship at https://jodythomae.com