Let me tell you a story about this woman… alot of people know Kerri Verna as Beach Yoga Girl – @beachyogagirl – from Instagram, but I bet a lot of you don’t know her heart. Kerri is a naturally shy and private person, who never brags or toots her own horn here in the little square box. But she’s one of the most fearless, humble, compassionate people you will ever meet, if you get past her shy exterior.
I met Kerri in late 2013 – I was following her and got the chance to send her some paddle boards. When we got on the phone, within 5 minutes we had moved from the business side of things to the spiritual – and were quick on our way to becoming fast friends. But there was something about conversations with Kerri that always made me take a good hard look at myself, my purpose and actions. More often than not, our spiritual talks would leave me in tears as I faced my demons head on.
Kerri has been like a mentor and big sister to me – and just like a sister, there have been times that she drove me nuts and I hid from her because talking with her always showed me my areas of growth potential. I distinctly remember in 2014, she called and told me that God gave her a vision and word about me: that I would be a powerful woman of God and bring many people into awareness of his grace and love.
Like a stubborn ostrich, I stuck my head in the sand, not wanting to grow into this powerful woman of God she claimed to see in me. The last thing I wanted was to be known as a Christian, because despite my deep faith, the church has hurt so many people, and there have been so many atrocities and so much pain inflicted in the name of Jesus. I wanted to keep my faith to myself – especially in the yoga world. Because it felt like neither world would accept the other side of me.
In 2014, Kerri baptized me in the Atlantic Ocean – just the two of us, no church walls or fancy words, nothing but a re-commitment to love God and serve humanity, and a salty hug afterwards. Over the past few years, Kerri has helped me face head on some of the deepest rooted lies I’ve believed about my worth and my potential. She never shies away from the tough stuff, and always tells the truth.
After having my son, something changed in me and I realized that it was time to stop playing small, to step into my calling as a spiritual teacher and to step out in faith that people would love me anyway. Something broke and I lost the fear to look at myself head on, and to start operating in my own truth and gifts.
Kerri and I have gone to a bit of church together, but mostly we have church just the two of us, in our hotel rooms, or with a small group of seekers after a yoga workshop.
Church is anytime two or more are gathered in the presence of God. Church is a place to come undone, to unshoulder the grief and pain of the world, to set them down. It’s a place to weep or laugh, be still or dance, a place to get weird, a place to tremble in the face of things which challenge you and make you expand – whether it’s full wheel pose or the power of the living God.
Church is where we connect with people who are also looking for more, and a place to seek questions to the answers: who am I ? Why am I here? What is this life for? It’s a place to be stretched and strengthened, and reminded of who we are.
Kerri, thanks for building the Spirit Led Yoga church with me. Thank you for our sisterhood. And thank you for being fearlessly faithful and always keeping your eyes on heaven, inspiring the rest of us to look up. I love you.
If you want to learn more about Spirit Led Yoga, we would love to invite you to our 200 hour Yoga Alliance approved training in July 2018, or to attend an upcoming weekend immersion in the fall.
Spirit Led Yoga:
- Provides a well rounded physical asana practice to strengthen and stretch the body.
- Offers guided meditation to quiet and focus the mind, attuning to listening.
- Teaches tools for moving into stillness and surrender including mindfulness, breath work, worship and prayer.
- Studies sacred texts and the self to determine and find the place where education and experience meet.
- Combats the false perception of spiritual inadequacy.
- Holds space for spiritual trauma survivors as they work on self-healing.
- Cultivates personal agency in spiritual relationship.
- Demonstrates how to operate in spiritual gifts like children: humble, hopeful, and trusting completely in God.
- Invites questions, discussion, and criticism about theology, philosophy, and religion.
- Has dance parties and uncensored worship.
- Loves God.
- Loves each other.
If this calls to you, please join us. Our arms and hearts are open. XoxoTags: Beach Yoga Girl, Jesus Yoga, Spirit Led Yoga