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We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. 2 Cor. 5:20
A YogaFaith Ambassador is one who wants to move from being a spectator to being a participator. One who captures the vision and wants to take God’s light into a dark world. We value and honor our Ambassadors being the hands and feet of God, reaching all four corners of this Earth. GOing and making disciples in His name ~ Thank you. We love you!
2017/2018 YogaFaith Ambassador of the Year | Carrie Hoff, E-RYT 500, Westminster, MD
Leann has been practicing yoga since the 1990’s and became passionate about teaching and helping others after experiencing the positive benefits of yoga in her own life. She received her 200hr. teaching certification in 2016 from YogaFaith, is a YogaFaith Ambassador and a member of Yoga Alliance.
Her classes offer emphasis on finding ease in movement, increased awareness, breath work, yoga variations and meditation. Her goal is to facilitate others in finding transformation in their body, soul, and spirit through encountering God on and off the mat.
Besides yoga she enjoys walking and being outdoors, spending time with family and reading. She also enjoys spending time with others in Spiritual Direction and wasting time with the Lord.
I grew up as a dancer although the overly-critical dance world made me seek out alternatives. I took my first yoga class at a local gym and instantly felt connected. I realized Yoga was about how you feel and not how you look. While living in Los Angeles in 2007 I went through a 200-hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training and studied with various yoga teachers. I loved the practice of yoga and felt the presence of God many times. God was doing a major work in me that year as I was in my first year of sobriety. I was either at a yoga studio, church or AA.
In May of 2017 I completed my 200hr certification with Yoga Faith and am excited to be shining the light of Christ through Yoga Faith Ambassadorship. Yoga Faith is a gift and a way of God pulling all of my life’s experiences together walking out the good works he has placed before me. I had finally found my tribe! I will never despise my small beginnings of teaching donation based classes with little to no students to now owning my own yoga studio in Plainwell, MI.
My passion is people finding freedom in Christ to break chains of addiction, identify and move though anything that is preventing purpose and promise.
I am also a single mama raising a little warrior princess. Other joys include Acro yoga & kids yoga!
Amy resides just outside of Perrysville, OH with her husband and three children. Yoga has been in and our of her life for nearly 20 years. In 2010, the Lord had other plans for her and brought yoga to the forefront of Amy’s life and that is when she began to embrace it as a form of personal worship. When she found YogaFaith, Amy knew this ministry was a divine match to her hearts longing to be an ambassador for Christ to people in need of healing. In 2017, she completed her teacher training with YogaFaith (R-YFT) and is also a certified restorative yoga instructor(R-R). These faithful steps are leading her to others to find wholeness and oneness with Christ.
Since 2012 she has taught primarily yoga in communities that are enveloped in the Mohican State Park in Loudonville, Ohio. Her practice has evolved into one that focuses on healing the body and spirit though body work, primarily though a gently flow and restorative practice, and soon trauma informed yoga to compliment talk therapy. These modalities have forever shaped her testimony and personal ministry to help others get on a path of natural healing the way Christ intended.
Amy is also a YogaFaith Ambassador (YF-A), embodying Christ’s vision for this ministry and taking Jesus out into the world so others can find restoration in mind, body, spirit and soul.
I started practicing yoga when I got pregnant with my first baby and I fell in love with it. As a busy mom of 3 boys born within 4 years of each other, I never had time or the money to do yoga in a studio. Instead I would anxiously await nap time and use it as a tool to focus my mind on my quiet time with the Lord. After 6 years of doing yoga in my living room I felt the Lord calling me to share my passion and way of worship with other people. That is when I found Yoga Faith. Yoga Faith has equipped me to feel confident in teaching Christ centered yoga and worship with others. I now teach weekly Vinyasa Flow classes and am always looking for new and creative ways to spread the vision of Christ centered mind, body, spirit health through Yoga Faith.
As a yoga instructor, health & nutrition coach and dōTERRA Wellness Advocate, my hope is to journey with clients to a place of balance: body, mind, and spirit. For me the mat is a place to release toxic and negative thoughts; creating more space and a closer relationship with God. Through yoga I could again see myself as the child that God created before life told me who I should be or how I should act.
Teaching in nonsectarian settings, I would begin and end each class in silent prayer for those whom share their time with me. Being unable to share the joy and glory in my heart for God aloud often left me feeling that I was suffocating on words that needed to be spoken. I felt a gentle “nudge” from God to step out of restriction and step into YogaFaith. I pray to be a vessel- to speak Gods word and share His grace. At the end of practice, may we all see ourselves through the eyes of our Father.
Over the years, I tried many healing modalities on my journey to wellness from chronic pain, excluding yoga, due to its spiritual associations. Eventually, I tried a class in a local gym, thinking it would be presented from a “safe, physical only” perspective. Once my body entered into the slow, sustained stretches, in the peaceful, quiet environment, I felt like I was “home”! It felt amazing!
Eventually, God watered and grew a “dream seed” in my heart to teach yoga and perhaps create a style that would be Creator-focused, whole- being worship. In 2014, as I was praying about where to get my certification, I came across a Yoga Journal ad for exactly what I was looking for and dreaming of – something called YogaFaith! Two weeks later, I found myself in a “God bath” at the Miracle Ranch Immersion teacher training.
I see yoga, especially YogaFaith, as a beautiful modality for healing – spirit, soul, and body. It is my desire to be a facilitator of God’s healing through YogaFaith, wherever and to whomever He may lead. Learning and teaching about God’s design for vibrant healthy living from the inside out is my passion, as is teaching restorative yoga (“Yoga Spa”) and living in the Shalom of God. I find great joy and awe in anything God-made, including my family and perennial garden.
Cheryl originally went through Yoga Faith teacher training to deepen her personal yoga practice, but through the training process realized how much she wanted to share the blessing and healing she received with others. She teaches several YoagFaith classes a week in her small town of Searcy, AR, where she lives with her family. Her prayer as a yoga instructor is that all who attend her classes will have an encounter with Jesus and leave with a deeper knowledge of God’s love for them.
Colleen Smallwood RYT 200, R-YFMT 500, RN, BA, Member of IAYT
Colleen received her 1st 200 Yoga Teacher certification in 2007 and began teaching yoga from a holistic health care perspective relying on her Nursing background and the needs she saw in the community.
In October of 2016 after attending a YOGAFAITH retreat she knew that this was what God had lined up for her all those years ago. After registering for the YOGAFAITH Masters Teacher training, God was not done with her yet! After much prayer she felt the Lord telling her, “If you want to do what I have for you, you must begin at my beginning.” Colleen completed her Yoga Alliance, 200-hour R-YFT in January 2016, just in time to start the Masters program which she completed in May 2016. She is currently studying Trauma Sensitive YOGAFAITH.
Colleen teaches YOGAFAITH at the The Next Door, which serves women who have been impacted by addiction, mental illness, trauma and, or incarceration. She is in the process of opening the Harmony House of Yoga which will serve the community with YOGAFAITH and TSYF classes.
Colleen lives in Nashville, TN where Ya’ll really is a word.
Victoria is a yoga instructor, Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Faith instructor, and a psychotherapist. Fascinated by yoga as a child, Victoria fulfilled her dream late in college and has practiced yoga since 2012. Yoga has served as the greatest tool in her own physical, spiritual, and emotional healing journey. Her passion is to, as her own counselor has said, give away what she have been given. Always the adventurer and seeker, she discovered her greatest passion when she found Yoga Faith and the tremendous gift of praising, thanking, and surrendering to Jesus through movement.
Victoria’s love for teaching yoga stems from the joy of creating a safe, sacred, and relaxing space where people of all ages and backgrounds can come to move, breathe, connect, and belong. Along with yoga, she finds great delight in dancing, daffodils, the magic of fall, and gatherings of loved ones around coffee or a campfire.
Victoria currently teaches in Clarkesville, GA and lives in the mountain foothills of Toccoa, GA with her husband.
In what seems life many lifetimes strung together, Erika accomplished becoming a teacher, graduate student, writer, broadcast negotiator, public relations specialist, nonprofit program coordinator, managing editor at large, tutor, blogger, intern, and an active volunteer. The same characteristics that drove her toward these achievements -– ambition, perseverance, and belief in herself –proved indispensable when, in early 2011, shortly after earning her Master’s degree in Secondary Education, Erika was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Instead of giving up, she embarked on a new path: helping others through serving Christ.
She created and dedicated the Facebook page “Invisible Me Exposed” to the awareness of invisible diseases. Erika has multiple autoimmune disorders and sought to find solace in sharing her story as well as providing resources for the vast community who suffer daily in silence.
Prior to her disability, Erika enjoyed her yoga practice for many years. Naturally drawn to the Lord, she longed for a Christian based approach to her practice. She has found her dream realized as a YogaFaith instructor and ambassador. She has now found the perfect way to serve her Lord while utilizing yoga to help heal the minds and bodies of others, as it has for her.
Yoga is not a career path; it is her ministry. She is using her professional skills and training to become what the Father has called her to be and serving those in the Kingdom. As part of the YogaFaith family, she has expanded her vision as a teacher. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and the vehicle of yoga, she hopes to raise up Kingdom builders of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of development.
YogaFaith is delighted that the Lord led Erika to this ministry, you will be blessed beyond belief by her!
Jennifer resides just outside of Chicago,IL with her husband and four children. Yoga has been in and our of her life for nearly 20 years. In 2012, the Lord brought yoga back into Jennifer’s life and that is when she began to see the physical and spiritual benefits. When she found YogaFaith, Jennifer knew this ministry yoked God and yoga in a way that made her heart sing. In 2015, she completed her teacher training with YogaFaith (R-YFT) and is 200RYT Yoga Alliance certified instructor. She uses yoga as a ministry to bring healing of the mind, body and spirit with a focus on using yoga for healing of trauma. She sees yoga as prayer in motion.
Outside of yoga, her passion includes homeschooling her four children, driving her husband crazy, and finding ways to use essential oils to fix everything.
Jennifer is also a YogaFaith Ambassador, capturing the vision and taking Jesus out into the world so others can be made whole mind, body, spirit and soul.
Jody Thomae is an author, worship leader, and teacher of embodied prayer and creative worship. She has been involved in worship arts ministries since 1997 and is the author of “God’s Creative Gift” and the forthcoming book, “The Creator’s Healing Power.”
Her passion is for the revelation of God to be made real through the prophetic and creative portrayal of the message of Christ’s unfailing love, in order to help sustain the hearts of the broken and weary. She is particularly interested in how God uses creativity and embodied movement (including yoga) in the formative and healing process. She is a graduate of Ashland Theological Seminary.
She has taught yoga for over 15 years and leads a gently challenging Vinyasa flow (or slow, energizing flow) yoga class that is ROOTED (grounded in form, alignment, intention) and REACHING (stretching towards personal goals, dreams, destiny). She is a Registered YogaFaith Trainer (R-YFT), a 200-RYT with Yoga Alliance, a YogaFaith Ambassador, (YF-A), and a certified Silver Sneakers Yoga Instructor.
Kelly began the path of yoga almost 25 years ago while attending the University of Florida where she received her Bachelors degree in Psychology and her Masters degree in Health Science Education, specializing in holistic health. She has been teaching health and wellness for over 20 years. She is a YogaFaith ambassador and a faculty member at Montreat College where she teaches classes that blend the ancient practice of classical yoga with sacred Christian scriptures. She is a lover of God and follower of Jesus- studying His life and teachings and learning to live and love with His heart.
Kelly firmly believes in the power of yoga as a tool for integrating the person as a whole: body, mind and spirit. She understands yoga to be a spiritual discipline, using the practice to “still the turnings of the mind” in order to rest in the sovereignty and perfect love of God.
Kelly lives Black Mountain, NC with her husband and their two children. When she is not on her mat, you can find her hanging out with friends and family, homeschooling her teens, gardening, making jewelry and other art, playing with her dog or reading and contemplating life’s deepest questions.
As a home schooling mom of three and a proud Army wife, my desire to provide a place of rest and restoration for those serving in the military and their families, has compelled me to spread the love of God and the practice of yoga throughout the Armed Forces communities.
Struggling with physical limitations, depression, and trauma, my own practice became deeply restorative- physically, emotionally, and spiritually. My mat became a unique place where I could bring my weaknesses to Christ without shame or judgement from others.
After receiving my RYT and RYHT from YogaFaith, I began to offer yoga classes to those around me in an effort to spread the benefits of yoga, meditation, and savasana to the broken, the weary, and the curious. My desire is for everyone to experience true freedom from those things that weigh us down. You don’t have to have had such drastic setbacks as I did to enjoy the benefits of yoga. Yoga is for everyone. In a hectic and busy world, my invitation is for all to come find a sacred space of their own.
My yoga experience began as a way to have a study break and get some exercise, but as I continued to attend classes, I realized that the time on my mat was very meaningful; it became a great time to connect with God. I began to notice that so many principles of yoga reflect God and his desire for us to be whole in body, soul and spirit. Thus began my search for Christian Yoga, and I am so elated to be a part of the YogaFaith family!
I believe this journey of connecting my Christian faith with yoga, is a piece of the puzzle of life, for which I have been searching for some time.
I have spent a number of years in YWAM (Youth With a Mission) serving in various capacities in missions. Currently, I work full time as an Addiction Counselor at a long term residential treatment center for alcohol and drugs.
I also teach yoga classes at a local yoga studio. These two positions remind me daily that: life is sometimes so beautiful, and life is sometimes so brutal! Living with the tension of these realities, I desire to live being grateful for all that God has given me.
I am so thankful to be able to share this gift of YogaFaith; it is a precious treasure to share Jesus through the practice of yoga!