In the Press
Woman Finds Deeper Faith Through Yoga
By Bettina Lehovec, Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Saturday, January 9, 2010
ROGERS — As a former Pentecostal, Cindee Joslin understands worship as a whole body experience.
She knows what it is to raise her hands in praise, to sing her supplication, to dance her joy.
Yet the years of worship in charismatic churches never included yoga. The Eastern system of mind/body/spirit integration was considered “of the devil,” Joslin said. Its Hindu roots linked it to a religion populated with pagan gods.
Today, Joslin teaches yoga with the fervor she previously brought to her Pentecostal worship. She wants others to experience the practice that transformed her life.
“Yoga moved me and opened me and awakened me. No other exercise I know can do that like yoga. ... It brings you to your core. It opens you up, so you can connect.”
Contrary to the warnings of many conservative Christians, yoga has not seduced her away from her faith, Joslin said. Rather, it’s strengthened the relationship with Jesus that has long defined her life.
“Yoga is not a religion,” she said in an interview before her Tuesday night class. “It’s a tool to quiet your mind down and open up your body. When your mind is quiet and your body is open, it leaves room for the work of the Spirit. Doing those things makes a way for a deepened experience of faith.”
In September, Joslin began teaching yoga at the Center for Psychology in Rogers. Her Yoga-Story studio takes its name from the belief that each person lives a largely self-created story.
“Yoga gives you a chance to recreate (that) story, to watch a whole other story unfold.”
‘Coming Home’ To Yoga
From the very beginning, it felt like “coming home,” Joslin said. She was particularly drawn to the Power Vinyasa method taught by Baron Baptiste.
Baptiste emphasizes a dynamic sequence of poses to cleanse body and mind. Postures are performed in a continuous flow in a room heated to 90 degrees.
They are suitable for students of all levels and abilities. The goal is transformation of body, mind and soul.
Joslin first experienced the method in a class at Laurie McKinnon’s Siloam Springs studio in 2006.
“It was the best workout of my life,” Joslin recalled. “I never felt so energized.”
The Bella Vista resident tried other yoga classes closer to home, but none provided the same sense of enlivenment. She returned to McKinnon’s studio in February of this year. Her first week of classes, she knew she would teach, too.
Joslin lost her job as a marketing director for a senior care center in April, clearing the way for a full-time commitment to yoga.
She attended a week-long intensive training in the Catskill Mountains of New York and began teaching at her home in May.
She now teaches 14 classes a week at Yoga-Story. Students from 16 to 66 follow her guidance through an invigorating series of poses.
“Sweat releases toxins. This is good,” she told students on Tuesday.
Breath As Spirit
Joslin’s goal for her students is that they experience the same awakening she found in yoga. The practice allows for deeper and deeper self-awareness, like peeling the layers of an onion, she said.
“It’s a chance for people to be with themselves. Be quiet. Be still.
The biggest lesson in yoga is being with whatever comes up. What a lesson.”
The word yoga means “union” or “yoke.” The form most Americans are familiar with is hatha yoga, or yoga of the body.
Several Christian groups promote alternatives to hatha yoga. Christian yoga teaches the same physical poses combined with Bible verses and a Christian emphasis. PraiseMoves takes it a step further and renames the classic poses. Plank pose is renamed the altar, for example.
Joslin believes that if done properly, yoga can’t help but connect one to God.
“Breath is the divine life source - the Spirit within,” she said.
The word spirit means breath in biblical Greek and Hebrew. “Yoga is meditation in motion.”
Several of Joslin’s students expressed their own awe at the gifts they’ve received through the practice.
Psychologist Virginia Krauft, owner of the Center for Psychology, began practicing with Joslin four months ago. Since that time, she’s lost 10 pounds and her blood pressure has dropped. The 65-year-old has replaced her former exercise regime of walking, weights and stretches with four Power Vinyasa classes each week.
Offering yoga at the Center for Psychology reflects the center’s emphasis on holistic health, Krauft said.
Mother-and-daughter team Brenda and Chloe Zedlitz both report heightened well-being through yoga.
“It’s a great stress reliever - a good way to relax after basketball practice,” said Chloe, 16 and a sophomore at Heritage High School. The effects carry forward into the next day, she said. She credits Thursday night yoga classes with improving her focus for Friday night games.
Brenda Zedlitz said she started yoga after her father died in September. Her coping strategy during his long illness was to “not breathe very deeply,” she said in an e-mail. Joslin’s classes helped her release those pent-up emotions and find a new level of wellness.
They also relieved the shortening of the tendon that had caused her great pain for two years. “Through yoga, I have experienced healing and transformation in both my spirit and my physical body,” she said. “And that is miraculous !”
On the Fast-track to Reinvention
by Cindee Joslin
First published May 2009
I am a former model, skin care specialist, caregiver and most recently, marketing director for senior facitlities. I am 47 years old and am currently pursuing my dream.
I moved to Northwest Arkansas 5 years ago to be with my father who is now 92. I lived with him for 3 years and we had the best time of our lives together. I then married 2 years ago and my sister in now lives with my Dad. While I was with my Dad, I worked as a Marketing Director for 3 Senior-Care companies. I was fired from 2 of them. Not easy to swallow at age 47, with no college education. Didn't look too good on my resume, you know. Fired from one because of insubordiantion, the other because the investors ran out of money. Though I dearly loved the elderly, I knew that I had not yet followed my dream.
It all started 3 months ago when I started taking a Yoga class. I knew about one week into it, that I had "come home", found myself and my spiritually reconnected all at the same time. I had such an extreme awakening that I wanted to share it with others and decided right there and then that I wanted to become an instructor. Within 30 days, I signed up for an intensive teacher training in New York, increased my practice to 6 days per week and now am already teaching 3 times per week and am about to add 3 more classes.
It all happened so fast, but as I look back, I can clearly see that I manifested the whole thing. Even before I was let go from my last job, I began dreaming about a studio, a name, a location, my students. I saw myself being a teacher. It came with great ease and I am only just beginning.
I cannot tell you how extremely happy that I am. No one can ever say, you are too old, not educated enough,don't have enough money, etc, etc, etc. I am following my heart, using my God-given gifts and helping others to do the same. Life is Good and the Possibilities are endless!!!
One thing about the recession--it's giving people the opportunity to ask questions about their vocations and lives. Kudos to Cindee for taking a chance and finding a meeting point for her gifts and the needs of people around her. In Christian talk, we call that "ministry." Add some income to the mix and we can that "meaningful work." Pure gold.
I'm fortunate enough to be in Cindee's Yoga class. Thanks for sharing, Cindee. I look forward to learning Yoga from you and experiencing the awakening that is to come.
A wonderful testament to the power of finding your course in life! Talent, dream, ability working together.