Laura says, “In 1981 I started teaching group exercise classes for social and health reasons. After a period of chronic illness, God healed me with exercise and His Word: Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. James 5:14
“That’s when I created WholyFit, a stretching system that is everything fitness should be: gentle, powerful, and full of the healing Word. After over 2 decades of fitness ministry experience, am so grateful for the friendships and community I have found in WholyFit & blessed to share it with you!”
Laura has trained people in gyms, health clubs, churches, ballet studios, corporate business, schools (Kindergarten – high school, adult education.) A Sunday School teacher, worship leader and former homeschooler of kids now grown, Laura is President of Fitness Pros for Christ.
20 years certifying fitness trainers, trained thousands of fitness pros; Black Belt in Karate (Chun Kuk Do) former AAU springboard diver; synchronized swimmer.
ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) Certified Exercise Physiologist, ACE, AFAA, IDEA Certified Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor
Flexibility, core, body weight calisthenics, strength, dance, ballet barre, aerial arts, all types of cardio classes, kickboxing, etc… all presented as Devotional Exercise.
“I created WholyFit to be everything I think a fitness system should be…
If you’ve never seen a revival, you definitely want to be involved in one…
“I was chronically ill…wanted to stretch but I mistakenly got lead into yoga…”
During yoga certification they told me to say that I give my soul to Shiva…
Yoga teaches many paths but Jesus said He is the ONLY way…
The Word of God is powerful when you apply it directly to your life…
Hi! My family calls me, “LaLa.” My hobbies are cycling with my hubby and gardening. I would love to get to know you! Maybe at a retreat some time? Anyway, you can get to know me a little here and our friendship has begun!
I started looking for God when I was a teenager and discovered Jesus who brought me to God! I thank God for my pastor who told me about Jesus and for a lunchtime bible study in my High School biology teacher’s room where a funny guy with a guitar sung and talked about Jesus. It was wild! Everyone it seemed, was committing their lives to Jesus, and changing BIGTIME. The atheist in my English class began doing his reports on how Jesus is the Messiah and we all started carrying our bibles to school.
There was heartache when a car full of the Bible study kids were hit by a drunk driver. But they went to be with Jesus. The sister of a girl (who formerly threatened my little sister all the time) got saved before my eyes and became my sister in Christ. She died in a car fire trying to save her little sister. But she went to be with Jesus. There was a big bear of a boy who was very shy. The Lord inspired me to ask him over to play the piano at my house and I got to lead him to Jesus. The next day he got hit by a car and killed. He went to be with Jesus. These were my tumultuous teen years and the miracle of salvation of so many people at once, all my family included, which is something I have not yet seen again. I know now that this was REVIVAL. That period in history is now referred to as the “Jesus Movement” and I was there. I saw it. I want to see it again!
Telling people how Jesus can make us live forever with Him is so urgent. I use group exercise as a way to socialize, have fun and introduce friends to My Forever Friend, Jesus. As a young woman I had asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Epstein Barre Virus, chronic fatigue and clinical depression. I had to stop leading exercise classes. I sought the Lord for a way to heal, focused on stretching but mistakenly started into yoga certification. I thought I could call it “christian yoga.” But I have since learned that this would be dishonest to my own heart, to my commitment to Jesus and to those in classical yoga. Here’s why:
I was shocked to learn that the Yoga Alliance required 50 hours of mantras and chanting in a classical yoga environment dedicated to the promotion of yoga religious philosophies. I called the Alliance and asked if I could substitute bible reading and prayer to satisfy that requirement. The lady on the phone said “NO.” I understand why now. The Yoga Alliance exists to perpetuate the classical elements of yoga so that the philosophical part of yoga is always included in yoga certification. That is their right of course, so I opted out of allying with the Yoga Alliance. That was my first step away from yoga, but I didn’t know it. I continued teaching yoga…
I put my application in at the YMCA to teach yoga as a christian, but they required Yoga Alliance registration! I told them it was against my faith to be Yoga Alliance registered. They hired me without YA registration. I also taught yoga at 24HR fitness. I felt it was so unfair that christian fitness professionals are forced to engage in religious practices that betray their faith in Jesus in exchange for promotion of their profession by the yoga industry. That was my second step away from yoga, but strike three was coming…
During yoga certification, the worship of idols (as defined by the Bible) was actively promoted. I tried to be tolerant of the yogis’ faith, but what I could not tolerate however, what was worse than that, was the dishonest and clandestine way I was urged to worship Shiva with the class members.
At this national, well known yoga certification, we were directed to chant Sanskrit words that meant we ‘give our souls completely to Shiva.’ Did the other participants understood what the Sanskrit meant?d I didn’t, so I asked and was told that was the translation. I objected, telling the leader, “My soul belongs to Jesus. I’m not going to give my soul to Shiva!” The leader replied in a condescending tone, “Shiva, Jesus, same guy.” I left, having decided never to do yoga again. Here’s why:
In the Bible, God makes His names very clear because they express His character. Shiva is also knows as, ‘The Destroyer.’ The bible says the Destroyer is Satan, the enemy of our souls, the ultimate evil.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” – Jesus
Jesus came to give life and give it abundantly. Jesus is Creator, not Shiva. Their faith in the spiritual entity named Shiva, is there choice, but I choose Jesus and the Bible makes it clear that any spiritual entity other than the Judeo-christian God of the Bible is a demon since there are no other “gods” except for God. Yogis are not stupid, they are experiencing real supernatural power that comes from demons, like Shiva. This is what the Bible teaches and what we Christians believe. Still not convinced? Read on…
The Founder and leader of this national yoga certification told me his training was fine for Christians, and yet he purposefully preyed on practitioners in secret, calling up demonic spiritual power in secret rituals with the specific purpose of influencing the attenders of his yoga classes spiritually, without their knowledge. Whether or not you believe as christians do, I think everyone would agree that it is manipulative for a yoga teacher to force a covert spiritual agenda on consumers. I found out years later, that this yoga certification leader was actually a Wiccan Coven Master. He was exposed by the media through testimony of the actual participants involved, to have engaged in degrading spiritual rituals with these female instructors. One witness reported that he conducted Wiccan religious rituals to affect the (spiritual) energy within his yoga classes. I was in those classes!
I pray he will find Jesus one day and I forgive him, but one yoga teacher’s conduct is not the issue. The reason I don’t do yoga is because the inherent teachings of classical yoga promote seeking supernatural power that is evil, destructive, not from God. (See former yogi Mike Shreve’s testimonial.) Yoga certifications have a powerful spiritual influence over their students. I will not participate in an industry with that kind of destructive spiritual influence. I renounced yoga and repented. Repentance is a great feeling, contrary to what you might think! It was freeing to face the truth with tears that felt like cleansing.
Christians are still persecuted in the fitness industry when we don’t call our stretching classes, ” yoga.” We don’t get as much recognition as those who ally with yoga. Regardless, I started teaching WholyFit in my church and then developed WholyFit certification, authoring the training programs so that christians would have a professional certification in fitness with a specialty in teaching stretching in a group exercise or personal training setting. WholyFit has proven to be a popular system and spread to other churches. (Experience writing curriculum in homeschooling really paid off!)
Do you know that stretching belongs to everyone?
How I want to influence the fitness industry and the public that stretching belongs to everyone, independent of ‘yoga.’ WholyFit is a program that is better than yoga for those who do not believe yoga religious teachings. WholyFit is a stretching class respected by the fitness industry and always taught completely outside of a classical yoga environment.
Does yoga make you stressed out? Is it uncomfortable for you to participate in yoga practices and teachings as a Christ-follower? Many other Christians feel this way, but many secular people are uncomfortable with the spiritual practices of yoga too! In my experience all yoga certifications eventually teach the philosophies either subtly or outright. All 3 different yoga classes I attended had a statue of a ‘god’ in the studio, whether it be a Buddha in a christian-lead Bikram class, the Shiva poster or the elephant god with flower offerings. These day I literally cannot stand to be in the presence of idols. It is grief I feel, not condemnation, when I see people practicing religious beliefs that I know to be false. My heart hurts to see people serving inanimate carvings of wood or stone. At the very least idols cannot help these people and in the worst case, are a roosting place for demons.
My own personal dream is a revival brought about first in church WholyFit classes and spreading worldwide. I dream that those who are trying so hard to find a universal spirit will realize that God is a personal, intimate lover of their souls, with personality and character that is always faithful and true. Jesus came to give us life and I pray that as you read this you will throw away anything you need to in order to gain Jesus and be able to help others to understand Him better. I pray that we as christians will proclaim a true message about who we are and what we believe to a dying world, especially to lost people whom Jesus died to bring to Himself.
As a former yoga insider, here is what I learned about yoga and how it conflicts with what I believe as a Christ follower:
Samahdi – to become one with a universal spirit.
The Bible teaches that our spirits come alive forever through Jesus alone.
Kundalini – to unleash a potentially dangerous serpent power.
The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit comes as gently as a dove to those who accept Jesus.
Karma – that the universe has spiritual power to cause equilibrium.
The Bible teaches that God is the master of the universe, the ultimate Judge with eternal power and perspective.
Chakras – that the body has energy channels that can be spiritually manipulated to reach Samahdi.
The Bible teaches that the spirit is dead until made alive by Jesus. This is what “being born again” means.
Mantras – yoga meditation is Transcendental meditation which teaches the repetition of the names of Hindu gods.
The Bible teaches that repetition has no power and that Believers in the One True and Living God should never have the names of any gods on our lips.
Reincarnation – that death is a portal to rebirth as another being.
The Bible, in fact Jesus Himself teaches that it is appointed to us once to die and after that comes judgement.
Many Paths to God – that it is intolerant to reject any and all religious belief systems, which means yoga accepts every religion except for Christianity.
The Bible teaches, and it was Jesus Himself who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” Jesus is the most tolerant, loving, patient person who ever walked the earth, was without sin, and gave His life for the sins of everyone in the world.
Jesus died in our place, a torturous death, to give us His righteousness in place of our own imperfection, in order to bring us to God by faith alone – not by mantras, not by chanting, not by harsh treatment of the body which has no power in it at all for righteousness. Yoga teaches religion, but there is no power in it to save people for all eternity. I have personal experience that Jesus is the only way to God and that He gave His life for all, including dear yoga people, He loves them but they are turning to false gods instead of Him. I just can’t bear to be a part of that -ever! I will not promote anything to do with yoga because it might influence someone into yoga philosophical teachings. Eternity is at stake.
My healing journey...
Many people go to yoga when they are sick, but it is not yoga that heals, it is exercise. Exercise is God’s good medicine. When Dr.s suggest yoga, what they are really suggesting is gentle exercise and stretching – not belief in mantras, chanting!
Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. – James 5:14-15a
Those words came alive to me and suddenly I believed that they were true – for me – RIGHT NOW. I asked the Lord if He would please get the elders of the church to pray for me even though I had never seen “laying on of hands” type of ministry happening at this Baptist church before. The following Sunday my mouth literally dropped wide open when from the pulpit, Pastor Bryant said, “You know we don’t normally do this, but I have felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to hold a healing service Sunday night.” This was a huge church with thousands of people and God heard my little prayer! (Why is it we are so surprised when God answers our prayers?) I was hopeful that Jesus was really going to touch me.
I was one of the first people to get there that Sunday night. When I walked through the doors I felt the sensation of a warm blanket around me and a peace that was incredible. I said something like this to the Lord, “Wow this is wonderful. This might be better than the healing!” My natural body’s response to His awesome presence was the outpouring of tears from my eyes, not in sobs, but in something like streams of water pouring from an endless source. I have since come to experience this at other times and now and I’ve nick-named it “Holy Spirit tears.”
The pastor asked me what I suffered from and was very compassionate to say that he was sorry that I had to deal with Epstein Barre Virus. His empathy was incredibly comforting in and of itself. Then he said something I’ll never forget. He said, “I am going to pray for you and if you get well, I want you to understand that it had nothing to do with me. Jesus is the One who does the healing.” Then he laid hands on me, anointed me with oil and prayed a simple prayer for healing in the Name of Jesus.
Jesus is the One who does the healing.
From that night on, I underwent a process of gradual supernatural healing. A lot of my healing has come through exercise. Eventually I was well enough to start teaching stretching classes at that very church, sharing my story freely with the participants. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, chronic illness was the training that God used to reveal a mission He had planned for me: to administer His healing through exercise, His Word, worship and prayer.
It has turned out to be the most effective and powerful exercise system I have ever used and yet it is gentle and nourishing. I’ve learned TO BE AN OVERCOMER: God used my weakness as opportunity to reveal His power working in me. I can truly encourage you that as you meditate on Scripture during exercise, you actually build your body with the Word of God, hope, life and peace. This has been my personal experience.
So the exercise that was my answer to prayer was, and still is, the gentle stretching exercises of WholyFit. And so, now over a decade later, I am even more convinced of the importance of WholyFit alternative to yoga. Yoga teaches you to seek spiritual powers that are greater than you, for your healing. But those spiritual entities are not from God and are opposed to God. Jesus came to give life and to give life abundantly. Satan is the Destroyer. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. Only the God of the Bible can COMPLETELY heal you and make you whole. Any other powers may give you want you want, but in the end they are destructive to your soul. What good is a healthy, beautiful body if your whole soul, spirit and body go to Hell on the end? Jesus has brought me to Himself and my relationship with Him is greater and more satisfying than anything on this earth, including health.
If you are sick in body soul or spirit, Jesus is the only power greater than yourself who loves you so much that He gave His life for you. WholyFit is a way to get closer to Him and believe God’s Words, memorize them and get them into your body, into your neurons, into your synapses, into your heart for good. God’s word becomes a part of me as I memorized Scripture through movement. We associate the Words with certain moves so that it’s easier to memorize. This is how we meditate biblically. As we hold a stretch, we think on it and ask God to speak to us personally about it, and ask God to make it grow and produce fruit in our lives.
So out on my patio, all alone with the Lord, I would put Scripture to stretches in standing and seated positions. These became WholyFit routines, each based on a Scripture that I wanted to become a part of me, part of my being, part of my very body and soul. The Bible teaches us to allow the Word of God to dwell in us richly. I Hide God’s Word in my heart so that I may not sin against Him. There is power there. I am not able to live a good life apart from the power of God working in me. I can try and try but I am powerless to do good even when I want to do it. I had to get to the place where I realized this and admitted it to the Lord. Then I submit my will to God moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day. When I look back I am so glad because the times I submit to God brings me the most happiness, the most health. The times I tried to do good on my own, were complete disasters!
Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.