Encounter YogaFaith Elk Grove invites the public to a free community event on Sunday, Sept. 8 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sunshine Event Center. Attendees can learn about a “Christ-centered yoga practice” led by licensed YogaFaith instructor, Karen Penfold.

“At YogaFaith, we want to intimately connect people to Christ; mind, body, spirit and soul. We strive to train world class leaders as well as redeem biblical principles for God’s glory. Our teachings are centered on the Bible, the complete and authoritative Word of God acts as our guide in all that we do and seek,” Penfold said.

The first 100 people to register for a free spot will receive a gift at the door. They have plenty of space for more than 100 but you must register fast to get your free gift. Bring a yoga mat with you (or a towel) and bring a friend. No yoga experience needed.

Local nonprofit Chicks in Crisis will be present at the event and donations will be accepted. This group supports young mothers and their families. Penfold recalled that she met Chicks in Crisis founder Inez Whitlow 12 years ago when she served as the Elk Grove chapter director of the eWomen Network.

She said she’s “super excited to support Inez and her work now with my ministry and the Encounter YogaFaith event.”  

Penfold and her husband, Brad raised their sons, Conner and Kevin, in Elk Grove where they have lived for the past 27 years. She is a member of Creekside Christian Church and has served with children’s and women’s ministries.

As a two-time breast cancer survivor, Penfold has shared her messages of hope in all circumstances to churches, groups of women and women’s conferences all over California and other states as well. She was introduced to yoga by a friend when she was recovering from breast cancer surgeries, treatments and a broken pelvis.  

Penfold said that yoga not only helped her heal and regain strength and balance to her physically, but also helped heal her mind from trauma.

“Doing the stretching, physical poses, balance work, breathing techniques, deep focusing and meditation transformed, not just my body,  but my mind and spirit as well,” she said.  

As she would practice yoga on her own, Penfold said that she naturally practiced her Christian faith of listening to worship music, focusing her thoughts on God’s word, and drawing her strength from God, praying at all times and being still in body, mind and spirit.  

“For me, combining yoga with my faith increased the health and wellness benefits of the practice and came so natural to me I wanted to share it with others,” she said.

Different from other yoga classes, Penfold often plays instrumental Christian hymns or modern Christian worship music.

“We don’t focus solely on yoga poses; we do stretching, Pilates-type strength work and I encourage personal progress and not perfect form. I think my students would say there is an atmosphere of freedom, grace, acceptance, love and hope at Full of Hope Yoga,” she said.  “During our sessions, I’m just guiding as I’m led by the Holy Spirit. I say I’m there to lead a session where we breathe, move and live and are beckoned by God to experience the beautiful and life-giving balance of effort and ease, strength and grace, doing and being.”

After five years of practicing yoga with her Christian friend and group, Penfold said that God birthed a passion in her to lead Christ-centered yoga and from that Full of Hope Yoga ministry began two years ago.  

She teaches up to six classes a week at her private home studio in Elk Grove.  Penfold recently received her 200-hour yoga teacher training certification from the Christian Yoga Association Accredited Teaching Training - YogaFaith.

Penfold is passionate about sharing her personal story of the physical, emotional and spiritual healing and restoring benefits of a Christ-centered yoga practice.  She is beginning a specialty certification in Trauma-Sensitive Yoga next month.  With this training and experience, Penfold looks to come alongside other professionals to help people heal from many forms and levels of trauma.  

The Sunshine Event Center is located at 9360 Elk Grove-Florin Road.