I have always been very interested in the relaxation practices of Yoga and have personally used them extensively and continuously over the years. As a student teacher (in the late 80's), I was lucky enough to have Swami Pragyamurti (Satyananda School of Yoga) as my teacher of Yoga Nidra. At that time, the ancient practices of Yoga Nidra Meditation were little known in the west and was in fact introduced in this country, by such teachers as Swami Pragyamurti, who had studied direct with Swami Satyananda in India.
Fast forward and over the last two decades ‘mindfulness’ practices & research into the neuroscience behind it, have become more main stream and accessible. We Yogis are fortunate to have a very positive side effect of that, with the revival of some of the ancient practices such as Yoga Nidra and more modern developments into such practices as iRest, available to all.
It is my intention as we begin 2018, to integrate some of these mindfulness practices into my weekly classes and if you want to know a bit of background as to their potency, read on…….
iRest Yoga Nidra is based on ancient yogic teachings, but made accessible for modern day life. It is designed to bring the healing benefits of yogic and meditative practices to a wide variety of people. iRest can be practiced by anyone, regardless of whether you are a lifelong meditator or if you have never tried meditation before.
By practicing iRest regularly - a little and often - you can tap into the parts of your brain that allow for greater insight and quiet the parts of the brain that are responsible for negative thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Using iRest, people learn to welcome life as it is happening and to respond - not react - to challenging situations.
iRest can work to alleviate stress, help us sleep better, and heal unresolved issues and traumas. It can also allow us to recognize an underlying peace of mind that is always present within us - no matter what circumstances we are facing in life. People practicing iRest experience:
Decreased stress, anxiety, fear and depression
Improved sleep and decreased insomnia
An ability to better manage chronic and acute pain
Healthier interpersonal relations
Heightened energy levels
Improved sense of control
More confidence and joy in their lives
A greater sense of peace and well-being
iRest is practiced and taught by thousands of people worldwide in a number of different organizations that support well-being. iRest was developed by Richard Miller, PhD. Richard is a world-renowned spiritual teacher, author, yogic scholar, researcher and clinical psychologist, who has combined traditional yogic practice with Western psychology and neuroscience. He is committed to bringing the healing benefits of iRest to all segments of our population. Richard also founded the iRest Institute, an educational non-profit with the mission of helping people resolve their pain and suffering, and experience deep healing and peace.
I hope you can experience this for yourself, in class or with their special introduction program which can be found on their website:
So how does it work?
We perceive ourselves and the world around us through our 5 senses. Our body registers every internal & external sight, sound, smell, taste, emotion and thought as sensation. We perceive warmth & coolness, pleasure/pain, anger/calm because our body translates these perceptions into physical sensations. You know and sense when you or another is happy or sad because you register these emotions in your physical body as sensation. When you are happy you feel light & open, when you are sad you feel heavy & lethargic.
Your body translates every state of emotion or thought into physical signals that register throughout your body as sensation in your body, face, arms, legs, heart, stomach and gut. Sensations are messages that your nervous system creates that there is incoming information that you need to attend to and process.
The tools of iRest are designed to help you have the sensitivity to and resiliency to recognise & respond to every piece of incoming sensory information so that your body and mind can maintain its natural state of health, ease & well-being. These practices enhance your ability to sense-welcome-respond to the variety of sensory input that your body & mind encounters daily.
One of the finest ways for you to learn & experience these bodily responses is SENSING. The practice of body sensing teaches you how to sense-locate-welcome-respond to sensory information at a gross physical level. Through regular practice of body-sensing, you develop physical & mental relaxation, you calm & soothe your nervous system, you stimulate your body’s natural forces to achieving and maintaining optimal health, resiliency & well-being. You grow to appreciate your body as a rich source of feedback and health enhancing resources that enable you to develop lasting physical, psychological and spiritual vitality.
See you in class……….