I am sharing a new guided meditation. It is from a live class I offered on Mind Oasis yesterday. This recording has a few minutes of orientation to the practice of iRest yoga nidra. The guided practice begins at about 4:43 and is about fifteen minutes long. You will be guided from opening the senses, to feeling body sensations and the breath. Throughout practice you will be invited to explore into the feeling of Being as it might be opening up for you.
If you are curious about Mind Oasis, it is an online platform for practicing meditation LIVE, from anywhere you are with community. While the practice of meditation has been transformative for me, the community I have come to know along the way has been a vital support as well. Here you get both, live guidance and community. This is an incredible resource especially for those that either don’t have classes or teachers in their towns, or who cannot get to classes during the times they are offered.
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.
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.
The word ‘safe’ has been in the forefront of my experience and mind a lot recently. Both national and world events have given me time for pause and personal reflection. I am also immersed in a month long training with SAFE Alliance, an organization in Austin, TX, that is committed to bringing an end to violence and abuse through prevention, intervention and advocacy for social change.
The training has been profoundly eye opening on many levels, and I am still in the midst of learning and processing. My heart has opened to the unimaginable ways in which felt safety can be broken and humanity undermined, and this has also inspired me to engage in a meaningful way.
The name stands true to their mission, which in great part is to create safe spaces, relationships, and support for those that have been oppressed, victimized and abused. The underlying message they have consistently conveyed throughout the training is to meet the individual where they are, to hear their story, and to be a compassionate presence. Over and over again it comes back to this simple, yet profound act.
If you can remember someone doing this for you in a time of distress, you know that it can feel incredibly safe and healing. There is space for your experience and your humanity to be seen and heard, without agenda and judgement. So much can happen by way of compassionate presence and listening. Individuals can slowly begin to reclaim their experience, worth, and strength. When a friend or an advocate can be with us without needing to fix or immediately advise, they gift us the opportunity to experience that which never needed to be fixed, has always been complete and whole no matter the circumstance. The depth and breadth of the work that SAFE does goes far beyond what I can convey here, but their training has been incredibly enriching in ways that I could not have anticipated.
For many of us, we might be meeting challenges of a different nature, perhaps less extreme than what I am describing above. When we take time for refuge and rest, we nourish ourselves so that we can ultimately meet life’s challenges and thrive in the face of them. We can remember our wholeness in the face of circumstances that may feel broken. And when we are not consumed only by the shadows of our experience, we become available to the unending depths of wisdom and light within.
The reason why it is important to practice opening to ease and safety regularly is because without it, it is very hard to touch into felt safety in a time of distress or difficulty. While the idea of this may seem too simplistic, I have personally found that the simple things seem to have the most profound impact on my life. Perhaps your doorway into safety is regular walks in nature, time with a pet or a friend. It might be periods of solitude or play, music or art. Explore how you can bring safe spaces and periods into your day and notice how it makes you feel in your body. More so, notice how it begins to impact your life.
If you would like to explore a guided practice, the following is a 21 minute guided meditation I offered many months ago.
This sixteen minute practice invites you to welcome your experience as it is, moment to moment. You will journey through the body and the breath, while taking moments to open to the ease of Being as it is revealed. Toward the end, you will be guided to feel both the ground of Being and the play of life and sensation, recognizing how both are true and here in this moment. In closing, you will be invited to listen for intention, and if available, envisioning it into your day.
Find a comfortable place to practice. I invite you to lie down if you would like, perhaps place a cushion beneath your head and the backs of your knees. If you prefer, you can also practice seated in a chair or on the floor. Your body temperature can drop, so you might choose to place a rug across your body. Many receive deep, restorative rest or sleep through this practice, and this can be very healing. It is common to experience this for some time while you restore your body and mind. Once more replenished, you will begin to feel alert and awake, and open to the aspects of self-inquiry that this style of practice offers.