iRest (integrative restoration) Yoga Nidra
iRest is a meditation practice based on the ancient tradition of Yoga Nidra and adapted to suit the conditions of modern life. When practiced iRest enables you to meet each moment of your life with unshakable peace and well-being, no matter how challenging or difficult your situation.
iRest was developed by Dr. Richard Miller, a spiritual teacher, author, yogic scholar, researcher, and clinical psychologist, who combined traditional yogic practice with Western psychology and neuroscience. Jenna has personally studied with Dr. Miller. iRest has historically been endorsed by the U.S. Army Surgeon General and recognized by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury as a form of complementary and alternative medicine, thus warranting continuing research on its efficacy in the treatment of post-traumatic stress. iRest has been shown to be effective in scientific trials for conditions including chronic pain, sleep problems, depression and anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
iRest is simple to learn and easy to practice. It can be practiced by anyone, regardless of physical ability or experience with meditation. iRest is generally practiced laying down in a comfortable supported position.
Yoga Nidra means yogic sleep, but the purpose of this powerful form of yoga is not to fall asleep. Using this unique guided meditation, you will be able to achieve deep, healing relaxation and find more balance and peace in your life.
Yoga Nidra is a process of meditative self-inquiry derived from the teachings of Yoga. Yoga comprises a vast array of techniques designed to bring about first-hand knowing of who and what you actually are when you are free of psychological, cultural and philosophical conditioning. Yoga reflects a nondual understanding of reality: it merges the human with the sacred, and is practiced in the world, by embracing everything, just as it is, and rejecting nothing.
What Are the Benefits of Yoga Nidra?
To the outside observer, it might appear that you are just sprawled out on the floor napping, but there is a lot going on deep down inside you that the eye cannot see.
Yoga Nidra is a state of consciousness that is between waking and sleeping where you are aware and alert. In this sleep-like state, you can experience a number of benefits:
- Deeply relax and let go of tension and worries that are stored in the physical body.
- Rebalance the nervous system by turning off your “fight or flight” response and activating the parasympathetic nervous system.
- Reduce fatigue and stress, so you feel more rested and rejuvenated.
- Open up blocked energy or “prana” in your body, which often brings emotions and sensations to the surface. After these sensations subside, your energy flows through you more freely, so you feel lighter, more peaceful and calmer.
- Calm the hyper-busy mind and create a sleep-like mental state that is fertile ground for positive changes to occur.
- Start to break negative thought patterns and habits called “samskaras” and replace them with powerful, positive intentions.
Who Should Practice Yoga Nidra?
Most of us live busy, hectic lives and face chronic stress in our jobs, family life and as we fight rush hour traffic on our commute to work. Yoga Nidra is the perfect anecdote to this rushed, stressful lifestyle that many of us experience each day. Yoga Nidra is beneficial for everyone, especially people who are suffering from depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, addictions, insomnia, anxiety or those who simply want to de-stress. The Yoga Nidra session can be tailored to your specific goals. Most people who practice Yoga Nidra say they feel more open, free and relaxed afterwards. It has a very positive effect on the nervous system and rest of the body.
How Do I Do It?
You simply lie on your back in stillness with your arms and legs extended as you would in “Savasana,” the final resting pose in yoga class. If lying on the floor one can support the head and legs with pillows and use a blanket to be comfortable. As you rest comfortably with your eyes closed, you listen to your guides voice as you tune in to the sensations of your body and breath.
Origins of Yoga Nidra The origins of Yoga Nidra can be traced to various ancient Eastern spiritual teachings including, for example, Vedanta in such texts as the Mandukya and Taittiriya Upanishads, and the teachings of Yoga in texts such as Yogataravali and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Various yogis have revitalized the practice of Yoga Nidra during the past half century, most notably Swami Sivananda and his disciple Satyananda Saraswati, founder of the Bihar School of Yoga, Swami Veda Bharati, a disciple of the late Swami Rama of the Himalayan Institute, and Rammurti S. Mishra (Shi Brahmananda Saraswati), among others.
iRest is a contemporary adaptation of Yoga Nidra. It shares many basic principles and techniques with other forms of Yoga Nidra, but differs in various ways. For example, in many classical variations of Yoga Nidra, you are told what to see, feel, hear, sense, taste, smell, or think while practicing. In contrast, iRest provides techniques to help you inquire into your current, unique experience of seeing, feeling, hearing, sensing, tasting, smelling and thinking.