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Gratitude, iRest Benefit

Today I am grateful for all the individuals who showed up yesterday to explore the practice of iRest® yoga nidra.  Yesterday’s event was a benefit class where donations were suggested but optional, still everyone generously offered what felt right.  All of the proceeds collected will go to the Integrative Restoration Institute, to support the work they do in bringing the benefits of these practices to those less fortunate and often without access to such resources. When I first considered offering this benefit, I was unsure that I had the time or that I would find the space that felt right.  My heart remained curious, and almost as if without much effort, conversations began happening, studio space was kindly offered and the event was set in motion. 

I hold this practice close to my heart.  After many years of exploring meditation and yoga, I discovered the practice of yoga nidra and the nondual teachings from which they arise.  Richard Miller skillfully took these teachings and practice, and framed them to be more accessible to modern day practitioners of any faith or belief system.  The iRest® yoga nidra practice is additionally based on the understanding of how trauma is held in our bodies, the current understanding of neuroscience, and positive psychology.  While a traditional yoga nidra practice often invites the individual to bring forward given images, those images are not always applicable to all cultures or communities today.  Instead, iRest places autonomy in the hands of the practitioner.  They are invited to meet experience as it is unfolding for them, and imagery that arises naturally over the course of practice.  The added emphasis of creating a safe container for the inward journey, and skillful ways to be with experience that might feel difficult allows this to be a trauma sensitive practice.

The foundation of practice is in Being and meeting life as it is, moment to moment.  Here as we take our hands off the steering wheel, something profound becomes available.  We have the opportunity to consciously rest and restore.  We have space to meet experience more fully, to glean the many messages that are being offered, and the opportunity to come into right relationship with life … and, further, to come into harmony with our dharma, the heartfelt purpose that is and has been living within us.

I have benefitted deeply from this practice.  I have had the opportunity to integrate past experiences which before I did not feel like I could safely meet, or skillfully hold.  I have had glimpses into my heart’s purpose and longing, and have felt more at home in myself than ever before.  I continue to be on this journey of homecoming.  I won’t tell you that it looks clean or more graceful, but I feel Grace carrying me along the way.  I am a little more willing to allow moments to be messy and without direction.  This has helped me to feel a sense of freedom in life, and to trust that the obstacles and detours are still steering me in the right direction.

Thank you to all those who came to explore this practice.  I truly appreciate the generosity of your time, presence and donations.  I would also like to offer a heartfelt thank you to Keith Katchtik of Dharma Yoga for offering his studio space and support for this event.

Gratefully,

Sheila

 

iRest as a Living Practice of Connection and Belonging

Today rather than sharing my words, I am sharing with you the words of one of my teachers, Stephanie Lopez, from the Integrative Restoration Institute.  Her words describe the practice of iRest yoga nidra beautifully, and how it serves a greater sense of connection and belonging.  At its core, the practice is simple in that we welcome life as it is and rest in the ground of Being.  Within this ground, a profound alchemy occurs, where our humanness is gently met and seen, and an unbroken Wholeness and Ease is revealed.

Here is a link to Stephanie’s article for Kripalu Center.

She is also coming to Yoga Yoga in Austin, TX to lead a level 1 iRest® training this coming June.

An iRest Donation-Based Benefit Class

I am happy to announce that I will be sharing a donation-based iRest® yoga nidra class at Dharma Yoga on June 2nd, 4-5:15 pmiRest yoga nidra is a trauma informed, healing practice of guided meditation. Individuals can experience a wide range of benefit, from deep relaxation and restoration, alleviation of stress and anxiety, clarity within life situations, to awakening to one’s Essential nature. I have personally experienced profound healing and ease from this practice, and feel grateful to be able to share it.

During this class, I will offer a brief orientation to iRest yoga nidra, and then guide you through a 45 minute practice.  Practitioners often explore in a reclining position, but any posture that sets you at ease will be perfect.  We will have time at the end for questions and discussion.  All of your donations will go directly to support the Integrative Restoration Institute in their efforts to alleviate suffering in the world, and especially for communities that are vulnerable and in need.

I hope you will join me on Saturday, June 2nd to rest and restore, and connect with the Ease that you already are.  Please don’t let the suggested donation amount be a barrier. Anything you can offer will be greatly appreciated. Below is the flyer for this event.  I welcome you to register beforehand at Dharma Yoga’s website, but you can also show up the day of.  Space will be limited.

Registration link here.

DharmaYogaDonationiRest copy

The Light of Meditation

I spent a few hours yesterday immersing in and sharing the practice of meditation with a small circle of people.  We explored through sounds and chanting, breathing and Being breathed, moving and Being moved, guided inquiry, and the home ground of stillness and silence itself.  We explored meeting and welcoming all of the changing objects of life, and likely most also experienced being absorbed within changing realm for periods … beliefs, memories, stories, and emotions.  Along the way there may have been moments or longer where we experienced something fresh, almost without reference to a past or a future.  Perhaps we felt how the changing objects are always arising within an unchanging and unmoving experience.  Many names have been given to this over the course of time: Being, Presence, Awareness … Essence.  Ultimately the words are only pointers to an experience that is exquisite, and at the same time easily missed, yet always here.

To the degree that I have experienced it, in that realm of the unchanging I have felt something that is restful, whole, at ease and not lacking.  I am not defined by that which has felt broken or unworthy.  The urgencies of life seem to fall away, while life itself feels more full than it ever has in the moments of doing and achieving.  Life feels like a gift even in the midst of circumstances that might be challenging or difficult.  In the words of Parker Palmer, there is a hidden beauty and wholeness in all of it.  This unchanging realm brings with it the opportunity to meet all of those accumulated human experiences, the joys and the sadness, the pleasures and the pains.  There is space for all of it to be seen, heard and felt, rather than being denied, avoided, or minimized.  This has been incredibly healing for me.

Meditation is no longer just a thirty minute period of my day.  It is a daylong and lifelong practice of simply paying attention; Being Awake and at times asleep to the myriad movements of life, and in the moments of grace, Being the Awakeness itself.

Coming Home to Ourselves, A Meditation Experience

Have you ever had the feeling of being at Home in yourself? How did it feel in your body? What else became available in those moments? What did you come to know as true?

Perhaps it was in a moment where circumstances or conditions were not necessarily perfect.  It might even have felt a little messy, yet at the same time you experienced the ease or the peacefulness of Being at home in your humanity.  The messy parts were not denied. The ‘put together’ parts were not held close. It was all just allowed to Be.

This ground of Being can feel natural and familiar, almost like we have always known how to Be.  We have just forgotten. The felt sense of Being can reveal an underlying stillness, spaciousness and silence.  This unchanging ground gently embraces the depths of our changing humanity.

How do we get there?  Well, perhaps there is no where to get.  It is already here, and what is needed is pause and rest. The portal is the field of the body itself. 

What do we do when we are there?  Once we are oriented, there is nothing to do.  We can Be, feel and sense what already is.

On April 21st I’ll be offering a meditation event at Yoga Yoga North.  While words can convey understanding, ultimately the jewel is known in experience itself.  With this in mind, I will orient briefly to practices and then guide you toward your direct experience and the wisdom within.

Our time will include gentle and enlivening pranayama and movement.  There will be periods of pause, and quiet sitting or reclining. I will lead you through a longer guided iRest® yoga nidra meditation, and we will also explore the ground of Being through walking meditation.  Our time will close with inquiry, journaling, and sharing as it feels appropriate to you. This will be open to all levels. There are no barriers to Being. All that is needed is the curiosity to explore.

Yoga Yoga North, April 21, 1-4:30pm 

registration: http://www.yogayoga.com/calendar/details?event_id=31914981

be easy. take your time. you are coming home. to yourself.   Nayyirah Waheed