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.