iRest Yoga Nidra is a really gentle and supportive way to help people reach meditative states of mind. It is based on the ancient practice of Yoga Nidra, a guided meditation, most often practiced lying down. In the iRest protocol there are ten steps involved, (as shown above). What I love about iRest is its simplicity and practicality.
Exploring your heartfelt mission can help you to understand what is your life purpose, what is your reason for being. It becomes a guiding light for everything that you choose, so when everyday choices arise you can make choices that align with your heartfelt mission. I know I have long struggled with the questions, ‘Where am I going?’, ‘What am I doing?’, and ‘What is it all for?’. It can be discombobulating not to have a clear direction in life. The direction to be found in our heartfelt mission is simple in that we don’t have to worry about grand destinations, more about simple every day choices, am I moving towards how I want to feel. Embodying the feeling of living our heartfelt mission can feed and nourish us, letting us recognise our soul’s longing and finding the courage to follow our heart.
Developing an Inner Resource offers a place of stability, calm and ease, a feeling of well being. With practice we can recognise that this is available to us at any time we choose to connect with it. It becomes a safe haven, a secure base, that we can avail of as needed. In John Bowlby’s attachment theory, Bowlby recognised that as children we develop best when we have a secure base, usually a parent. From here we can adventure out in to the world, incrementally, and return to our safe base when we need to feel safe again. Our Inner Resource can offer itself as our safe base. When things get overwhelming we simply connect back to our safe place. This gives us the freedom, courage and safety to explore beyond where we might normally travel within.
Sensing and feeling, tracking around your body. With practice this eventually becomes integrated into your everyday living, where you start to live from the messages and signals that your body is sending you. Our body has it’s own innate intelligence, I would suggest, a deeper, more intuitive intelligence than that of our minds. When we start to self regulate from our body’s signals we find we are much more attuned to ourselves, and we live from our truth, our experience. Everything we do feels real and true to us.
We can then use the practice to explore sensations, emotions, thoughts or self limiting beliefs. Sometimes we can feel beset by strong feelings, fears, beliefs about ourselves, and or by strong sensations. We use the practice as a container, and within it we can explore fully what our experience brings up on any day or moment. We deeply explore the embodied state of that sensation, emotion or thought. Welcoming it fully into our experience. (Often with uncomfortable sensations, thoughts or feelings, we try to ignore them, suppress them etc). By welcoming them fully into our experience we prevent any splitting that can happen within. We then explore what the embodied feeling of the opposite might feel like in our body’s. We might move from one to the other several times, and take a check and notice that aspect of ourselves that can be aware of both. This can be really helpful if we feel stuck on something, if an emotion makes us feel locked in, or a thought is dogmatic. In the healing space of our own awareness, we can begin to unlock ourselves and explore the full spectrum of any emotion or belief. We then have an embodied experience and understanding, there is a larger holding to be found in our awareness, and we learn to access that and rest back in it.
Recently I have found the most resonant image for the last piece of the practice, is a sense of bathing in awareness. I have found if I practice iRest in the afternoon, during my usual slump time when my energy is low, at around three or four o’clock , it is rejuvenating and restoring. I come back from it feeling refreshed and renewed. No coffee needed, just bathing in the light and energy of pure awareness.
The purpose of Yoga is to still the fluctuations of our mind so that our true nature may be revealed. This is what iRest facilitates. Bringing us home to our perpetual awareness. Underlying the busyness, the frantic speculation, the worry, the tension, the fear, the defense, (and I could go on), there is an ongoing presence and awareness, we are simply clearing the clutter away so we can rest deeply into this.