By Dennis J. Freeman This story originally appeared in Global Woman Magazine and was written and reported on by Dennis J. Freeman
This is part one of a two-part interview with fitness expert Donna Richardson Joyner on bridging spirituality and health together.
When you see a Donna Richardson Joyner workout, you see the fitness guru sweating in the spirit. That is exactly what she wants you to do to when you put on her music DVD’s, Sweating in the Spirit, Sweating in the Spirit 2 and Body Gospel. Better yet, Richardson Joyner wants dancing in the spirit to be part of your lifestyle.
Eat healthy. Get moving. Meditate. Pray. Subject your temple into spiritual conditioning. And have fun doing it. This is what Richardson Joyner preaches to millions of people around the world on her global platform.
Instead of standing behind a podium, Richardson Joyner does her teaching on the workout floor. Richardson Joyner doesn’t need to spread her message of healthy living to folks in some designer wardrobe.
Instead the world renowned health and fitness expert gets her point across to her audience in a pair of spandex, warm leggings and a pair of gym shoes.
Preaching the concept of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important to Richardson Joyner. This is what she was called to do. Getting people to exercise is not just a way for her to make a living. It is her ministry, she said.
“I believe that God is using me as a vessel to reach his children,” said Richardson Joyner in an interview with Dennis J. Freeman. “What better way than strengthening your mind, your body and your spirit. He’s provided a platform for me to minster to people. In that platform I use the three ‘E’s: empowerment, education and energy. It’s to empower your spirit, educate your mind and energize your body. Your spirit is what you believe. So, it’s important to apply your faith over your physical being.”
Richardson Joyner has implemented that concept into her music workout now formed into a dance ministry. For more than two decades, the strikingly beautiful Richardson Joyner has been a constant on the workout circuit, urging couch potatoes into moving their hips, jumping up and down and running with her as aerobics began to make inroads into American homes. That hasn’t changed.
She just has a new partner to dance with these days. Instead of the bouncing to pop culture tunes, Richardson Joyner moves to the grooves and sounds of Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams and other gospel artists. Getting people to sweat is Richardson Joyner’s forte.
Richardson Joyner said it is her mission to help people drop off the excessive weight baggage they carry around. It is her desire to see individuals maximize their vitality of life through healthy eating habits and routine exercise. And she’s getting it done with her spiritual walk.
“God created our temples and commanded us to keep them holy. He’s given us everything we need to do that. The question becomes from, ‘Are we glorifying God with a healthy temple’? If the answer is no, then we need to be pro-active. Becoming healthy is no different than you applying faith to all the other things in your life. You’ve got to apply your faith and say I’m supposed to keep this temple healthy and strong.”
As a life changer and difference maker, Richardson Joyner’s success in the fitness world has taken her beyond American borders and into over countries worldwide. She’s a motivational speaker who can move a crowd without saying a word. As a best-selling author, video and business entrepreneur, Richardson Joyner is more than an advocate for healthy living. It’s her mandate.
It wasn’t enough for Richardson Joyner just to create health and fitness videos that have brought her enormous accolades, success and fame. Her legacy isn’t just about being mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records for generating the world’s largest line dance with over 50,000 people taking part in it.
Richardson Joyner’s success has everything to do with how she is able to connect with people and their souls. That type of connection was lacking with her own relatives, she said.
A Fitness Hall of Fame inductee, Richardson Joyner got in the exercise industry by chance. She had grown tired and weary of seeing people in her own family and community fall victim to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and other physical ailments simply because of poor health.
“I was traveling around the world helping people get healthier and my biggest challenge was right in my backyard,” Richardson said. “It was my family, my community, my church. I was seeing them suffer. I just got tired of seeing them suffer and die. It was my call to action. We have got to take back our health.
“We have got to break the stronghold of poor health. We can break the stronghold but it’s going to have to start with you. And it’s going to start with the scripture in James; Faith without actions is dead. I would encourage us to become better stewards over our health.”