For the past 10 years, Mountain Park Community Church has offered the Ahwatukee community Christian-based yoga not only to give a person’s body peace, but also peace in a spiritual sense.
Elena Porter, who began Christian-Centered Yoga, initially performed yoga in her personal life to deal with problems.
She frequently indulged herself with practicing yoga inside the comfort of her own garage, and began reading different scriptures while performing yoga routines.
“I was just trying to find peace in my life, and someone suggested I try yoga,” Porter said. “I fell in love with it and began studying it and seeing all the benefits emotionally and physically.”
The process in turn became a time for her to gain peace within herself and deal with situations happening around her.
While practicing regular yoga, Porter began noticing there was one key component missing: her faith.
“Some of the yoga that I went to was more gym-based, where there isn’t really intent put there, so I thought of taking my faith and aspect to put my meditations around scripture or music that is inspirational,” she said. “I started practicing it and it was an amazing spiritual experience. I knew for me personally I was on with something very deep, so I started practicing regularly inside my garage.”
While performing her new invention of yoga, Porter began noticing with each session she would do a connection between herself and her faith became stronger and stronger.
Yet, she did not feel comfortable sharing her new found joy with others, in fear it would be viewed as something of a joke, which changed during a service at Mountain Park Community Church.
Porter and her husband frequently attend services at the church, and during one the pastor at the time, Greg Battle, was interested in expanding a sports ministry within the church.
Porter’s husband felt it would be a great idea for his wife to teach Christian-based yoga at the church, but initially she didn’t share the same enthusiasm, saying it was something she did for herself.
“I thought it would be the biggest joke of the church,” she said.
After the service, Porter approached Battle with the idea of sharing her Christian-Centered Yoga with the church and was asked if she could do it the next day.
During the first sessions, Porter did not have a tremendous following, having as few as three people attending the class.
Being a high spirit optimist, she was thrilled with having people interested in getting involved and never focused on the number of individuals who attended the classes.
“I don’t care if there is one person or 100 people because in my heart I believe that God was building something to make me really understand the value of one person,” Porter said.
As the years went on the class sizes began to increase, and Porter had to find six other instructors and host eight classes during the week to accommodate the masses of people interested in getting involved with Christian-Centered Yoga.
As of right now, on an average week upwards of 300 to 400 people attend the Christian-Centered Yoga classes.
“It kept growing with momentum and what I found was that it was a group of people that was certainly not all Christians only by no means, even though it’s Christian yoga, so people would hear about the yoga and say it was a great class,” Porter said. “What I heard more than anything is how the class made people feel when they left.”
Each class is free, and the importance of offering the class for free stems from giving a service to individuals who may or may not be able to afford a regular yoga class.
“Without Mountain Park Community Church’s support we wouldn’t be able to do this,” Porter said.
For more information, visit www.mountainpark.org.
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