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PraiseMoves - Rock Wellness
By Cherise M. Young

PraiseMoves, a Christian alternative to yoga, is offered by the Rock’s Spiritual Wellness Ministry on Saturday mornings. Rock Writers Ministry sat down with Spiritual Wellness Ministry Leader, Raquel Bautista and Leslie Marshall, a PraiseMoves leader in the Encinitas area, to learn what PraiseMoves (PM) means to them.

Raquel has taught PM at the Rock Church for over a year, she says PM is a time of worship to meditate on scripture, inspect one’s heart and reflect on how the body is used in worship.

For Leslie, PM is stretching that honors God. Having been a yoga instructor in the past, Leslie confirms that PM is an alternative for Christian women. She agrees with Raquel that PM is worship and a time when participants are “bathed in the Word.”

For some, practicing yoga is said to be no more than a form of exercise. Yet, yoga’s connection to the Eastern tradition of Hinduism is cause of concern for many Christians. Believers, who want the flexibility that stretching provides without contorting their bodies into prayer poses intended for a Hindu god, should consider PM a viable option.

PM is also a way for Christians to set themselves apart from unbelievers and not compromise their faith by practicing yoga. Leslie views PM as an evangelic call; a time she and Raquel can answer questions about the history of yoga and what it means to practice yoga. Both ladies have encountered Christians who defend their practice of yoga and minimize its connection to eastern religions.

Raquel sees her role with the Spiritual Wellness Ministry as being a Servant Leader and steward. She is encouraged by the women who attend the PM classes. Witnessing the students mouth the scriptures or weep as they worship while moving their bodies, ministers to Raquel as well. Raquel states her spiritual walk has increased and is “higher” now more than ever.

...worship God with their bodies

In addition to spiritual changes, Raquel adds that the physical changes associated with PM include increase range of motion. She has even heard from some that PM has assisted those suffering from Osteoporosis. While not a method of weight loss, PM does help with one’s ability to exercise; and that can lead to weight loss. Raquel also notes an increase in emotional happiness may have more to do with the scripture that is an integral part of PM.

[Photo by Raquel Bautista]

PM welcomes children in their classes. Raquel says she has instructed those ranging in ages from seven to eighty-two years of age. Because PM wants to reach people of various abilities, Raquel and Leslie have been trained to teach people who need to sit in a chair. By modifying the postures, PM classes can be offered to senior citizens.

Currently PM is only offered to women. She feels led to teach women, and wants there to be no hindrance to the women being “romanced by God.” She has been approached by a man interested in teaching PM and is excited about the possibility of being able to offer PM to the men of the Rock in the future.

There are 25-40 different PM postures available and a variety is offered in each group. Because every class is different and full of movement, participants will not get bored. Leslie adds that PM has a move for every letter in the Hebrew alphabet. This has allowed her to spell out words through movement and teach on the significance of that word. The Christian believer is mandated to take captive every thought or claim that is contrary to God’s Word. PraiseMoves offers just that for the Christian who seeks to worship God with their bodies.

Classes are held every Saturday from 8:30-9:30 AM and 10-11 AM at the Rock Church. Check the Ministry Calendar on their website for details before attending a class, in case class times or locations have changed.

For more information about the Stretch & Strength Ministry, click here »