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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.