iRest Yoga Nidra
During Yoga Nidra, you learn to pay close attending to the naturally arising phenomena of your body and mind. You neither invent nor deny anything. Yoga Nidra is not a strategy for self improvement. Listening and welcoming are your tools, and Yoga Nidra is your process of learning how to listen and welcome all that you are and all that life is - without intention for anything to be other than it is.
- Richard Miller
Integrative Restoration (iRest), or iRest Yoga Nidra is a modern-day secular adaptation of the ancient meditative practice of Yoga Nidra. Nidra is a Sanskrit (ancient Indian language) word meaning sleep hence, Yoga Nidra is often called "Yogic Sleep”. iRest was developed by Richard Miller, PhD. Richard is an a yogic scholar, researcher and Clinical Psychologist, who has combined traditional yogic practice with Western psychology and neuroscience. In addition to founding the iRest Institute (based in America) Richard was also the co-founder of The International Association of Yoga Therapy. Given Richard's experience as a Clinical Psychologist, iRest is a trauma-sensitive, evidence-based therapeutic practice.
iRest can be considered a form of mindfulness meditation that has been researched and shown to effectively reduce symptoms of PTSD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain and substance use issues, whilst increasing awareness, resilience and wellbeing. iRest is not psychotherapy, we do not set goals, talk or even mentally work through our problems. iRest is a process of self-inquiry that focuses on our physical, psychological and spiritual health and wellbeing, in a secular manner that respects a person’s age, culture, religious and philosophical orientation, occupation, physical and mental health.
iRest can be supportive as an addition to psychotherapy as it supports nervous system regulation and deep relaxation.
iRest can be practiced in a lying down, seated or standing position, with your eyes open or closed. During an iRest practice you are guided through various depths of self-inquiry. You have the opportunity to practice “being with” and being at ease whilst observing and welcoming physical sensations, breath, feelings, thoughts, images and memories that naturally arise.
iRest is often described in terms of a 10-step guided process. These non-linear steps are as follows:
1. Exploring your Intentions, including what you’d like to get out of the practice.
2. Exploring your Heartfelt Desire, including what gives you a sense of value, purpose and meaning to your life.
3. Exploring your Inner Resource, including what helps you feel safe and secure. You can return to this Inner Resource if you begin to feel unsettled during the practice.
4. Learning Body Sensing, welcoming the physical sensations felt in the body.
5. Learning Breath Sensing, welcoming the more subtle movements of breath and energy.
6. Learning Feeling and Emotion Sensing, welcoming feelings for example, heaviness and its opposite (lightness) and experiencing emotions for example, sadness and its opposite (happiness).
7. Learning Cognition Sensing, welcoming thoughts, beliefs, images, memories and their opposite.
8. Experiencing Joy, realising your innate wellbeing and inherent freedom from suffering.
9. Witnessing Awareness, stepping back into witnessing presence and the interconnectedness of all life.
10. Integration into Life, returning to the waking state and integrating integrative restoration into daily life.
This process may sound intimidating at first, but as you learn how to welcome all that is, you may discover first-hand an experience of profound joy and wellbeing which can develop into an inner reservoir of resilience and self-knowledge that supports your daily life.
I am a certified Level 2 iRest Yoga Nidra Teacher (60 hours, 2021-22). I have experience in teaching including iRest courses at Yoga Dojo, a public Pain Management Unit and Breathe Psychology; I am currently researching the benefit of iRest Yoga Nidra in persistent pain care through my role as a Clinical Psychologist, in collaboration with the Deakin University School of Psychology. I am delighted to now offer three week iRest courses to the public at the Mindful Movement Hub.
To learn more about my iRest courses, and to check when the next one will be held, visit my Courses & Workshops page.
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