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iRest®, a Yoga Jackpot!

Despite having more than 800 hours of yoga teacher training, I have struggled to find my voice as a teacher to authentically share the ancient teachings that have taught me so much about navigating the ups, downs and in-betweens of life. I love learning and looking at where these teachings intersect and overlap in related and seemingly unrelated content. Most striking to me is the way the ancient yogic teachings align with contemporary psychology and neuroscience. Meditation does change the brain! Yoga does change the body! Together they can help decrease chronic pain and anxiety and improve sleep and overall health and wellbeing. I get excited about this.

But the question remained, how do I want to teach this? Then I attended both iRest® Level 1 and 2 training. If you’re not familiar with iRest, it is, in a nutshell, an evidence-based, trauma-sensitive guided meditation practice that combines traditional Eastern yogic philosophy with contemporary psychology and neuroscience to bring a sense of peace, joy and equanimity to body, mind and spirit. DING! DING! I hit the jackpot of trainings!

iRest, short for Integrative Restoration, is integrative as it heals the various unresolved issues and traumas that are present in the body and mind, and restorative as it enables you to recognize your innate peace of mind that is always present amidst all changing circumstances of life.

Over the past few decades, numerous studies have been done on the efficacy of iRest, and the following results have been reported:

  • Reduced depression, fear and anxiety

  • Greater ability to relax and enjoy life

  • Reduced insomnia and levels of stress

  • Improved interpersonal relations

  • Reduced chronic and acute pain

  • Increased inner peace and well-being

In today’s fast-paced, electronic, hustle-it culture the majority of our population is dealing with chronic stress and not sleeping well. This can leave you feeling depleted and disconnected from yourself, nature and others. While you may strive to eat healthy and exercise, this too can create stress if it’s seen as another item on your to-do list. And for many, the idea of meditating sounds crazy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I can’t sit still. I can’t meditate. My mind never stops!”

Here’s where iRest comes in. If you can relate to the above statement, I invite you to give iRest a try. It can be done sitting or lying down, and there is no way to do it wrong. If you missed that, let me repeat it… There is no way to do it wrong.

To illustrate the power of the practice, a couple weeks ago I shared a practice with my beginner yoga students at MSU (it’s a one-credit class). Here’s what one of the students had to say,

“Meditation has been one of the areas in yoga in which I have struggled due to my inconsistency and inability to remain in one position. However, this all changed with Turi’s introduction to iRest. I have since begun to incorporate iRest into my weekly routine by doing it on my highest stress days. I have noticed that with the addition of iRest my concentration increases, as well as my sleep, which has been incredible for my overall stress levels.

I took this course in order to give myself a break in a hectic semester schedule, but I gained so much more than I ever expected. Overall, I truly believe this class has monumentally furthered my practice as well as introduced me to new education and techniques I can use to better myself.“

And another student expressed the following:

“As the semester progressed, everything in my life became more and more stressful. I had to try my best to stay calm and in control of the classes causing me to drown. My weeks started to blur together, the only thing I would look forward to or even remember was the yoga. My body needed it. During one class we went through a guided meditation. I laid down and listened to the instructor’s voice. Her words guided my mind even though I can’t remember a single word. All I can remember is trying to stifle my tears that I didn’t realize were in me. By the end of class, I was able to cry and my whole body felt so much more free. Whatever had been blocked within me had been cleared. I was at peace. I left class that day with a new appreciation for yoga. It opened an eye that was only lazily awake to how disconnected I am from my body on a daily basis.

I always thought that yoga was hokey and a way for soccer moms to get out of the house, but I think I am starting to see that a tradition that has survived thousands of years might have a little more to it than I was led to believe.”

If you want to give it a try, join me for a taste during Soulful Sunday: Gentle Yoga, Mantra and iRest Yoga Nidra, Dec 1 and 15, or this iRest Mini-Series, Dec 4, 11 and 18. If you like it, we’ll start weekly classes in the new year as well as private sessions. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me. I look forward to sharing my jackpot winnings with you!

With love and gratitude,


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