By Brandon BieltzJuly 12, 2012
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (July 12, 2012) -- Amonth ago, Ann Quinlan's search for an alternative form of traditional yoga led her to Argonne Hills Chapel Center, where yoga-like exercises are combined with religious Scripture for a new fitness program.
"This was the perfect fit for me," said Quinlan, who resides in Columbia.
Wholyfit classes, taught by volunteer instructor Kay Snow, meets Tuesdays and Fridays for an hourlong class beginning at 6 a.m.
Combining physical fitness, Scripture memorization, worship and prayer, Wholyfit offers a Christian alternative to traditional yoga.
According to the national organization's website, Wholyfit promotes a healthy lifestyle, increased energy, strength, flexibility and stress management.
"We work on strength, flexibility, stamina, balance -- all that you would work on in other types of fitness programs -- and we focus on that through also using the word of God," Snow said.
Although Wholyfit is considered an alternative to yoga, the movements and postures are very similar to those associations with the traditional exercise program.
Snow said that movements in yoga are not exclusive to that form of exercise. Wholyfit takes the movements and integrates them with Biblical meanings.
While performing movements and postures, Snow recites Scriptures related to the names given to the exercises. Readings include selections from the Book of Psalms, the Gospels and devotionals.
"I like to use Scriptures [so] that when they do this posture they aren't only focusing on challenging their body and building their body, but they're also focusing on God's word," Snow said.
The integration of the exercise and faith is a main draw for many of the participants such as Quinlan, who joins the group before starting her workday at Defense Media Activity.
"It's a good way to start my day," she said. "It's good stretching, but I also feel very relaxed."
But Snow said the courses also can be challenging. Classes are taught in five sections: warming, balance, strength and stamina, flexibility and restoration. The tempo changes throughout the sections, with the fastest movements during the warm-up.
"We move through postures very quickly, just basically moving through them almost like Tai Chi," Snow said.
The slowest portion of the program is focused on balance. Typically, Snow said, the class will consist of one balance posture.
"That section moves slowly because you hold the postures for probably five- to 10 breath cycles," Snow said.
Participants then move seamlessly into the various sections focusing on different aspects of fitness. Each class ends with a restoration and meditation period during which Snow reads more Scripture.
"It is a great way to not only build and strengthen your body, but build and strengthen your faith," she said.