What did God say about Yoga?

When Christ came into my life, I was a different me. My relationship to everything around me changed including practicing and teaching Yoga. I remember early on, as I read more of God’s word; each time I would then go to teach a Yoga class or get onto my mat, the knowledge from my studies of the traditional eastern practices of Yoga would cause me to feel deeply convicted that it wasn’t honoring Christ. As if I was cheating on the Lord by my Yoga practice. I later realized it was the Holy Spirit guiding me to my decision of no longer practicing in this way.

Confused, and looking for alternatives; I would research and share with others this deeply felt conviction and naturally, I received a range of opinions on the matter from “do not practice yoga, it’s not honoring the Christian faith and is demonic” to “it’s fine, yoga is for fitness and simply means to ‘yoke’ in union of mind & spirit and has no direct religious connotation”.

Then I took a closer look at Christian Yoga (developed in the 21st century) which offers a westernized version of the practice by adding Christian scripture and prayer yet continuing to practice with the use of asana sequencing and breath movement, which from ancient Hindu Vedic scripture was originally designed to give homage and prayer to the many Gods and deities of its spiritual tradition. My Christian yoga friends would say, “it’s all about the posture of the heart and what your intention is while doing the asana postures”

…conversations like this would immediately remind me of reading scripture of God’s many warnings about the heart being deceptive and the dangers in being guided by our own heart.

For me, doing Christian Yoga would be like flirting in front of my husband yet telling him that it’s harmless and meaningless fun; that my intentions are good. “You’re the man I love, You have no reason to feel jealous.”

Ultimately, the idea of continuing a yoga practice of any form just didn’t feel in integrity to my new relationship with Christ.

Romans 14:19-23 & 1 Corinthians 10 encourages believers to be fully convinced before God before they do anything and that some brothers and sisters in Christ who were converted from idol worship cannot do these things in clear conscience and to be careful in your own actions as to not lead others in weaker faith to sin. As a previous new ager and a student and teacher in the traditional teachings of yoga; this was true for me. Paul means specifically that for someone to violate their own convictions by participating in one of these disputed areas is to act against faith instead of from faith. When the Bible gives no clear direction, we have the liberty to make our own choice. If our conscience is telling us no, we are obligated to refrain regarding that issue. Understanding what Paul was saying in these verses offered me the clarity and peace of mind in making the decision that I personally, as a newly converted Christian, could not, in clear conscience, teach a practice; that, at its very origin, was designed to honor any God other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

This decision does not give me reason to judge another in their choice to practice in this way & I wholeheartedly respect anyone in their spiritual walk and desire to be closer to God. My primary intention is to encourage that journey and I hope that stre✞ch can be another vessel in doing just that. At the end of the day, we’re all just walking each other home.

God was so kind and patient with me on this walk too; allowing me to stumble along the way (as I did many, many times) & to faithfully be there when I humbly came back to Him once more, having stumbled yet again. For an entire lifetime, I had pridefully attempted to “do it on my own” with no discipline much less directive other than whichever way the wind blew me that day and how I felt in each moment as being my compass. For this, I was exhausted and very lost. Being a truth seeker all my life, I had finally found it in the strength of Christ and in God’s word. The Holy Spirit faithfully guided me to the truth through His word like a GPS taking me back home in obedience to God.

I had a brand new path with Him leading the way.

God promises us He’s going to finish the work He started in us. Conforming us to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ

…and He is faithful.

I want to be faithful to Him.

…and shortly after, Stretch in Faith was born as the alternative that I was searching for. Simple stretching exercises, diaphragmatic breathing with breath prayer and meditation on scripture. That’s it. No emptying the mind meditation, no chanting or reciting scripture out loud, no asana postures (ie warrior sequences, sun salutations) or breath work. Yet, still receiving the same fitness, stress relief and relaxation benefits of my former practice.

What I have found in my routine is that the days I don’t feel like showing up for myself, I am reminded of the nature of this practice and feel eager to show up for Him…and I do, because that’s who it is always about.

His glory.

It has become a gentle and sweet devotional & prayer time that reminds me of my new identity in Christ.

My hope is it will sweeten your time with Him the same.


Patiently He Waits; a poem

wandering out into
ways of this world
drifting further from


pulling me in
I reach for His hand
drawing me back
I find solace within

a heart at


renewed in strength
I venture again
too far from my shepherd
a sheep that’s


into the distance, quickly I find
the boundaries too wide, the valleys too deep

turning, I look back
having gone too far

Lord, I need you!
Don’t leave me!
I am scared!

gently He whispers,

“my child I am here”

running full speed, leaping into His arms
holding Him tight
desperately in fear

I am found

keep me my Lord
I am Yours
from this day

by Your side, I will follow
never separated

nor stray

LA Hopkins

Continue reading “Patiently He Waits; a poem”

Free Will – We May Think We Have Control but God’s in Charge

I think one of the most unconditional displays of love is for the Lord to give us free will to come to our own realization of how desperately we need Him and His will over our lives. As a mom, I know all too well the gift of my now, adult child, making wise choices independent from my direct guidance; all along knowing the potential of her own growing pains, bumps and bruises along the way. It’s inevitable this side of heaven.

As a parent, we know that allowing our child the freedom to learn and grow is necessary; trusting that in the midst of their greatest despairs, they will call out to us. Sometimes it is the growing pains that brings them closer. In the same likeness to our Father, who faithfully watches over us and waits.

“Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear”

ISAIAH 65 v24

As a child of God, if we weren’t given this option, what kind of love would that be?

You must love another person in such a way, the other person feels free

My daughter recently posed the question to me of free will in relationship to God. I think it’s one of the most challenging things we attempt to understand “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” The short answer would be, God has always remained consistent, never changing; yet, from the original sin (Genesis 3:23) man has not. (Malachi 3:6-7) …with the exception of one man alone; Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 13:8)

Adam had a decision to make; he went against God.

Lucifer had a decision to make; he went against God.

Judas…immediately regretted his decision after realizing the magnitude of his actions against God.

Not exempt of free will, even Jesus had decisions of His own to resist the temptations of satan in the wilderness up to His last night before His crucifixion, crying out to the Father, “if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.”

We all make decisions every single day that have a greater impact more than we realize in that moment of decision making. Like these examples; we could be one bad decision away from not only implications to our own livelihood but potentially impacting others or generations to follow.

We live in a broken world resulting from many decisions gone bad before us. Originating from sin in the garden of Eden, by DNA, we are all born separated from God because, by our very nature, we want our will, not God’s. We live our life according to our desires, putting us in opposition to God, resulting in sin.

It’s both a blessing from God and a curse from man the free will of decision making because we don’t always get it right.

The things of this world will never be perfect BUT; as followers of Christ, our hope is in Him preparing a place for us that is. (John 14:3). A new heaven and a new earth where there is no more suffering. (Revelation 21:1-4)

In His sovereignty, God ultimately decides our destiny before we are even born. The choices we make, He uses for the interwoven tapestry of His bigger purposes of humankind intertwined as a whole. At times, this may even allow the upsets and painful experiences to grow our faith, or impact others for their best and ultimately calling us back to Him. Like any good Father, He knows what is best for us and His purpose of our lives.

In the meantime, He gives us free will with plenty of decisions to be made on this side of eternity; which, by our very humanness, we’re going to mess up.

If you do, (and you will)…wholeheartedly repent and turn back to God.


Confess your sins to other Christians in your church or small group and in humility, allow them to speak with biblical counsel of correction into your life. Talk to God through prayer and aligning your decisions with the instruction of His word. Allow prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit to guide you.

Make better decisions the next time that are both edifying and God glorifying. (Philippians 4:8) (Romans 8:6).

He is a forgiving father; full of mercy as we gradually grow in sanctification by releasing control of our will for our lives to match His will.

Sanctification is not about perfection, but persistence. By our free will we can never escape this bondage of sin on our own. This process involves the cooperative work of God and Christians (Phil. 2:12–13) in our path of sanctification by which ongoing transformation into greater Christlikeness occurs. Such maturing transpires particularly through the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 3: 18) and the Word of God (John 17: 17). Our true freedom lies in “letting go and letting God”.

Yet, redeeming us through Christ, He’s a God of second chances. Unconditional attempts to protect us, relentlessly calling us back; even when we don’t come.

We are all just one decision away.

Confessions of a Born Again Christian-“Stepping Out in Faith”

Today is the anniversary of my baptism and wanted to share my journey to God and testimony with you all. If you are inspired to share yours, please comment below.

The more I released my grip on worldly things over the years, the less I wanted to be here. It became a constant prayer to God, “please take me home, I don’t belong here”. From a very young age I was always a “seeker” of needing more meaning to this life. No matter what I accomplished, where I traveled to or who I met along the way; things of this world were never satisfying enough. I understood from an early age that everything in this world is temporary and fleeting so why get too attached to the idea of absolutes? This included my views on there being many paths to God. As a young adult, being introduced to teachings of the New Age fit these concepts perfectly.

Earlier that year before my baptism, I had watched a video of a reformed Christian from New Age teachings, Doreen Virtue. I have always been drawn to the angelic world and she published many books and materials on how to make contact and connect with angels. While randomly looking her up, I had stumbled upon her testimony of coming to Christ and her denouncing the New Age. I immediately took interest because I knew this wasn’t a small feat for someone of her tenure that was so deeply involved as a New Age leader. She spoke of the severity of deception through New Age & cited scripture warning against idolatry & false teachings.

Little did I know that in that very moment the Holy Spirit was guiding me to the end of myself as I knew it and my rebirth in Christ would shortly follow.

Having never read the Bible; I spent the entire day and was up all night reading scriptures, biblical podcasts and videos. I was blown away of the immense feeling of absolute truth of God’s words piercing into my heart. It was as if I had finally found a thing that was able to quench my thirst; breathing life into this very, very exhausted and broken spirit of mine.

Truly redemption had occurred.

The next morning I made the clear decision to denounce all things esoteric & new age from my teachings. Quickly realizing it had kept me continuously confused in a never ending rabbit hole & separation from God by constantly seeking through these teachings & measuring my spiritual maturity to “being a good person” with the measurement being to my external world & self efforts. Through this new lens I could see so very clearly just how broken and sinful I had been; how separated I had been from God all this time and how badly I needed to be saved in order to have right relationship with Him. Years of efforts in controlling my “energy”, other’s “energy”, self glorification and methods of affirmations to God as if He’s a genie granting wishes. I kept saying, “Father, I am so sorry”. All I wanted was to set things right and never be separated from Him again. It was from this day since that I have felt God’s gift of grace on my life. It is something that happened for me in a way that I can never forget and never want to take for granted. I never really paid attention to what the lyrics Amazing Grace truly meant. I now sing this song in full reverence of His grace on my life. I didn’t truly understand what it meant to receive the Holy Spirit. I now know that it is absolutely a very real gift of God received as your moral compass by salvation. I had been saved by wholehearted repentance & surrendering on that day. No matter how self reliant I was, this could not have ever been possible on my own. It was through my repentance & through Jesus giving His life for my sins it was possible. By death of my old life, God answered my prayer of bringing me home. He had waited patiently and faithfully on me. A new life that I now WANT to live through the purity of God’s truth & for His glory. I have promised Him to live solely in the name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He truly saved me & I was “born again”.

No longer seeking, I had finally found what I didn’t know I had been searching for all along. In a world of “temporaries” and “no absolutes”; I am absolutely certain of one thing alone. For a person to have access to God and true communion with Him; it can only be found through abiding in relationship with Jesus Christ.

On July 23rd, I publicly professed Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior through my baptism. Leaving it all in the water, on that day, I died completely to my old life for a life with Jesus. I was made anew through the blood of Christ for my answered prayer of someday coming home.

Stre✞ch in HOPE

Meditation for GRIEF

Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

JOHN 16:22 (ESV)

Good News

When you are feeling loss, choose to think about one thing you know will lift your spirit; the goodness and love of God. As you focus your attention on God’s goodness, look to His word and remember His promises.

He will never abandon you during your time of grief. He promises to lead you safely through the valley of the shadow of death. A shadow casted by the presence of His light. By placing your hope in God’s promises, however painful, you’ll move through the valley coming out the other side; ever changed with a renewed spirit of love and hope.

Through Jesus, He offers the only real and lasting hope that you can find. This is how we stretch our spiritual muscle; HOPE.

A Prayer for HOPE

Abba, my Father, if you are willing, take this suffering from me and deliver me from this pain! My heart is broken and my spirit mourns. I feel hopeless, alone and lost, Father. I have become so overwhelmed with sadness and despair that I often cease to seek your presence through scripture and prayer.

I pray that you reach down and surround me with Your supernatural power and strength. Protect me from Satan’s attempt of lies and discouragement that keep me in bondage and in constant misery from healing this broken heart.

Let me lean upon your strength, Father, and guard my heart, so I can grow strong once more and emerge from my loss with a renewed spirit of love and hope. Hear my prayer and grant me the peace that surpasses all understanding. It is in the name of our Lord and Savior that I pray, AMEN

Breath Prayer

Inhale: He binds up the wounds

Exhale: of my broken heart

Inhale: comfort me, Lord

Exhale: give me hope once more

Inhale: help me to rejoice Father

Exhale: even when I grieve


Meditation for LETTING GO

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me


Good News

Too often we say, ”once I get my act together, then I am going to come to God and really live for Him and allow the Spirit to control my life.” God says, let My Spirit control you while you are still struggling with that problem and I will help you triumph over it.

HE holds the power needed to help you with lasting change. Letting go of your old life and placing your old ways in His hands is the first step. Allow Him to guide you as you transform into new ways of being.

The secret to self-control is Christ’s control of Your life. It takes complete surrender of your old self, in Christ’s strength, for lasting transformation to occur. This is how we stretch our spiritual muscle; SELF CONTROL.


Father, I declare that You are my strength and refuge. I cannot do this on my own; I need You.  I pray that You reach down and surround me with Your supernatural power and strength and give me the faith to believe that all things are possible through You. Renew my spirit daily Father and protect me from Satan’s lies and discouragement.  I pray that when temptation comes my way, Your Spirit will guide me and help me to triumph over whatever situations I may face. Let only Your will be done in my life and help me make decisions that glorify Your name. 

It is in the power of the Holy Spirit and in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen

Breath Prayer

Inhale: I surrender my old life

Exhale: for a life with Jesus

Inhale: by the truth of Jesus

Exhale: I am set free

Inhale: I can do all things

Exhale: through Christ’s strength

Stre✞ch in GOODNESS

Meditation for RENEWAL

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


Good News

To truly experience the fullness of what God wants to do in our lives, reaping the true “good life”, we must prioritize God above everything else and walk in His Spirit daily.

The goodness of God’s Grace gives us the ability to put to death any unhealthy expressions of our worldly desires that are distracting us from Him.

As we transform into a new creation in Christ, we continually renew our minds on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. When we set our eyes on not what is seen, but what is unseen, the work of the Spirit inside of us has the capability to take root and abundantly grow the fruit of the Spirit into all areas of our lives. This is how we stretch our spiritual muscle; GOODNESS.

A Prayer for GOODNESS

Lord, I pray that You give me life in Your ways and turn my eyes from looking at worthless things that do not glorify You. I receive the grace that You have given me to not conform to this world and to access transformation by continually renewing my mind through authentic engagement with You in all that I do. Help me be self aware of when I’m falling into temptation Lord, and help me turn quickly back to you. Help me to make this a discipline of reclaiming my heart and mind; empowered by Your Spirit. Create in me a pure heart , Lord, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Thank you for Your tender mercy and love. It is in your name I pray, Amen

Breath Prayer

Inhale: God gives a pure heart

Exhale: and renews my spirit

Inhale: You satisfy me with good things

Exhale: and I am renewed

Inhale: I am created new

Exhale: in the image of God

Stre✞ch in KINDNESS

Meditation for FORGIVENESS

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you


Good News 

When suffering our worst injustices, through Christ, we have been given the ability to extend grace and mercy rather than justice, to be kind even when treated unkindly and to opt for forgiveness instead of fairness.

Through the righteousness of Christ, God has forgiven us for our sin and through the power of His Spirit, He gives us the ability to forgive others.

We forgive others because we too have been forgiven. One underserving soul forgiving another. This is how we stretch our spiritual muscle; KINDNESS.

A Prayer for KINDNESS

Examine my heart, Lord, so that I do not seek revenge, hold any resentment or desire pain to others. I turn to You for the healing needed of my heart and spirit. Father, I ask You to begin Your mighty work of healing and restoration around any unforgiving feelings or lack of kindness that I feel.

I pray that You wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from my own sinful doing. A transformation of heart so that I can extend the same grace and forgiveness to others. 

Thank you, Father, for the mercy that you have shown me and for sending Your son to die so I could be forgiven for my sins. I am reminded to always choose to forgive others because You have forgiven me. It is in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Breath Prayer

Inhale: I forgive others

Exhale: as Christ has forgiven me

Inhale: My conversations

Exhale: are full of Grace

Inhale: I live in peace

Exhale: with everyone


Meditation for PATIENCE

Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love


Good News

By choosing to be patient with others, we are choosing to allow God to work it out in His ultimate plan. When we choose to give grace and see that the other person is growing; God is giving us an opportunity to grow as we allow Him to work on them as He also works on us. By choosing to be forbearing in anger, bitterness and our sense of justice in situations; we are choosing to wait on others in the same way the Lord patiently waits on us.  Worship Him in the waiting and praise Him for gifting us His love and mercy. This is how we stretch our spiritual muscle; FORBEARANCE.


Heavenly Father, I am asking in Your grace, that You would help me to overcome my impatience and sense of justice with others and help me instead to humbly dress myself in the same long suffering that You have so graciously given to me. I am choosing forbearance in love as You work all things out in Your ultimate plan. Father, I pray that you continue to work on me and enable me to grow in grace and to develop a patient spirit and humility of heart. I pray this in the name of Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen

Breath Prayers for PATIENCE

repeat these with even breath throughout your practice

Inhale: I am slow to speak

Exhale: slow to anger

Inhale: I am gentle and patient

Exhale: bearing with others in love

Inhale: in God’s will

Exhale: I am strong


Meditation for TRUST

“You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

JOHN 13:17 (NIV)

Good News 

In our seasons of waiting on the Lord, He is waiting on us. He uses our time of waiting to mature our faith by anchoring our trust in Him again and again. We must stay focused on Him during this time because our faith will be tested. During our trials we can ask God for patience and to help trust that He knows what is best for us, He has a plan, He does everything for a purpose, and He will see it through.

As our faith grows, we no longer need to ask God why something is happening to us. We can allow Him to work through us during the wait and instead ask, “What is it you want me to learn, Lord?” This is how we stretch our spiritual muscle,; FAITHFULNESS..


Father God, I praise you for teaching me what it means to have faith in silence. As I release these clenched hands, I am reminded to not make idols out of my heart’s desires but to instead cling tightly to Your goodness and faithfulness in complete trust of Your intended plans for me.

Lord, as I face trials that are beyond my understanding, help me to find peace in Your plan as You set things in accordance to Your time. Help me to be more joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer as You strengthen and develop my character through the wait. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Breath Prayers for Trust

repeat these with even breath throughout your practice

Inhale: I trust in Your will

Exhale: with all my heart

Inhale: I walk by faith

Exhale: when I cannot see

Inhale: the Lord is my refuge

Exhale: and my strength


Meditation for SURRENDER

Therefore I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God‘s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.

Romans 12:1 (NIV)

Good News 

Based on its Greek origin, the word gentleness literally means “strength under control” The word was used to describe a wild stallion that had been tamed or broken. The tamed stallion still had much power and energy as when it was wild, but it could now be controlled and made useful for its master. Similar to when we completely surrender our lives to Christ and live for His intended purposes, we find a gentleness in our new nature that gives true strength of will in Spirit. This is how we stretch our spiritual muscle; GENTLENESS.


Father God, I come to you in full reverence of your sovereignty and strength. I pray Lord to completely submit my will to Yours and follow Your guidance in living a surrendered life for Your intended purposes by surrendering myself to You daily. Help me Lord to not live through my own willpower, but true strength under control, guided by the Spirit, so that I may be useful for You. I pray Lord to be graciously understanding, tender and teachable with others and to whole-heartedly surrender my will to Yours in complete obedience to You Lord. It is in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Breath Prayer for Surrender

repeat these with even breath throughout your practice

Inhale: Your power is made perfect

Exhale: in my weakness

Inhale: I can do all things

Exhale: through Christ’s strength

Inhale: the Lord delights

Exhale: in my humility

Inhale: I serve others

Exhale: humbly in love