Video from KMBC-TV in Kansas City featuring PraiseMoves classes at First Baptist Church in Raytown - watch for Carmen Kraus, Certified PraiseMoves Instructor!
Example of a PraiseMoves Class:
I. PraiseMoves® “Walkin’ Wisdom Warm-ups” After a prayer dedicating our time together to the Lord, Walkin' Wisdom Warm-ups are the way we begin our classes. Our goal is to prepare the body for the PraiseMoves workout. Muscles are warmed; circulation increases and spirits are high. Participants walk in place for 14 minutes (one mile) to lively gospel or praise music. We alternate gentle, easy steps to keep things interesting – AND – recite several scripture affirmations. For example, while walking or moving at a brisk pace, the PraiseMoves leader calls out the first few words for our scripture from Ephesians 6:10, “I AM STRONG IN THE LORD!” Participants repeat, “I AM STRONG IN THE LORD!” The leader finishes the sentence with, “AND THE POWER OF HIS MIGHT!” Participants repeat the phrase. Talk about high spirits!
II. PraiseMoves® Postures - participants are then guided through a series of gentle, effective yet challenging postures designed to increase flexibility and muscle strength.
PraiseMoves postures are integrated with corresponding Bible scriptures. For example, during the PraiseMoves posture “The Altar,” we consider the scripture from Romans 12:1-2, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."
Soothing classical music or instrumental worship music is played during the remainder of the session. Each stretching posture is held for three to five complete breaths while the PraiseMoves leader recites the corresponding scripture.
III. PraiseMoves® Scripture Sequences - After 10-15 postures (depending on length of class time), we perform one or two Scripture Sequences, such as “The Lord’s Prayer” or the 23rd Psalm. During Scripture Sequences, we gracefully “flow” from one posture to another as words to the scripture are recited. Movements correspond with the words being spoken, often underlining their meanings for us. Our bodies are respectfully mirroring the beauty and life within God’s holy Word. We appreciate anew I Corinthians 6:20 “For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” This is the scripture we have chosen to embody the vision of PraiseMoves.
IV. PraiseMoves® Alphabetics – These postures correspond to the 22 letters of the Hebrew Alphabet, Aleph through Tav. Toward the end of class, we perform one posture, or “letter.” Our text comes from Psalm 119: “Meditations on the Excellencies of the Word of God.” Psalm 119 is an acrostic poem; there are 22 stanzas, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The 8 verses within each stanza begin with the Hebrew letter of its section. While performing the “letter” for that class, we hear the 8 verses of Psalm 119 which correspond to that letter. It’s a unique way to consider the beauty and spiritual wisdom of the Bible’s longest psalm. According to ancient Hebrew “word pictures,” each letter also represents an object (such as Dalet, the Door), an animal (Aleph, the Ox) or an action (Tet, to Surround).
Dalet – the Door (from Psalm 119 : 25 – 32)
Stand with feet together, back straight, left arm out to side, palm facing forward; bring right hand behind back, placing back of hand and fingers close to left shoulder blade; hold.
Switch arms after 4 verses.
The PraiseMoves Alphabetics posture, Dalet--The Door
Can you see how the description of the posture mirrors the way the letter Dalet looks? It’s as if your left arm is a door on a hinge. But don’t let the simplicity of the movement fool you! We are holding our back erect, lifting thru the crown of the head, abdomen and behind held in to protect the lower back, knees straight yet soft, left arm reaching out through the fingertips, breathing gently and deeply thru the nose, our weight evenly distributed between the heels and balls of feet. The right arm in back is also giving the right shoulder quite a stretch!
During this posture we are also hearing the corresponding eight verses of that portion of psalm (thus exercising/renewing our minds on the word of God).
If you’d like to try it for yourself: You may stand or sit. Reach your left arm out to the side, palm facing forward. Reach thru the fingertips and tighten the muscles of the upper arm (don’t hyperextend your elbow). Breathe gently and deeply thru nose. Now, reach your right arm behind your back, with the back of your fingers touching your back. Can you reach up toward your left shoulder blade with the backs of your fingers? Feel the stretch? Can you touch the left shoulder blade? Try not to hold your breath. Now switch to the other side (right arm out, palm forward; reach left arm back w/back of fingertips reaching toward right shoulder blade, breathe deeply). Ahhhh…
V. WWJD Meditation/Relaxation Time - For a few minutes, we allow our bodies to rest. Resting on the floor with our eyes closed, we prayerfully consider a proverb, portion of scripture or psalm. Unlike “new age” techniques, there will be NO “traveling out of our bodies,” visualizing colors and lights, chanting or breathing in spiritual nonsense! This is definitely a WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) relaxation time.
All-in-all, PraiseMoves is an EXCITING workout! And the way your body feels afterwards is, well, heavenly… The body is exercised gently, yet thoroughly and all the while we have been “focusing on things above.” That’s heavenly.
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