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The Full Story

About iRest® meditation

iRest is a meditation practice based on the ancient tradition of Yoga Nidra and adapted to suit the conditions of modern life. When practised regularly - little and often - iRest enables you to meet each moment of your life with unshakable peace and well-being, no matter how challenging or difficult your situation.

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iRest has its roots in the ancient practice of yogic sleep and is referred to in many ancient texts.

Dr. Richard Miller, the creator of the format of yoga nidra called iRest, is a spiritual teacher, author, yogic scholar, researcher and clinical psychologist who combined traditional yogic practice with Western psychology and neuroscience. It is practised and taught by thousands of people worldwide in various settings, including health centres, schools, community centres, yoga studios, correctional facilities and within military and veteran communities.

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 is 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 practised by anyone, regardless of physical ability or experience with meditation. Once learned, iRest becomes a set of tools for life.

Origins of Yoga Nidra

The origins of Yoga Nidra can be traced to various ancient Eastern spiritual teachings, including 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 practising. In contrast, iRest provides techniques to help you inquire about your current, unique experience of seeing, feeling, hearing, sensing, tasting, smelling, and thinking. 

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The 10 steps of iRest


1) Connect to Your Heartfelt Desire. Bring to mind your heart's deepest desire - something that you want more than anything else in life that instills a sense of value, purpose, and meaning.  Consider how does life want to live through you? Perhaps it is a desire for health, compassion, well-being, or awakening. Feel this heartfelt desire with your entire body while imagining and experiencing it in this moment as if it were true.

2) Set an Intention. Reflect on your intention for your practice today. It might be to relax and rest, or to inquire into a particular sensation, emotion, or belief. Or, you may reflect on intentions that will support living your heartfelt desire in everyday life. Whatever your intention, welcome and affirm it with your entire body and mind.

3) Find Your Inner Resource. Bring attention to your Inner Resource, a safe haven within your body where you experience  a feeling of security, calm and well-being. How and where do you feel this in the body? If helpful, you may imagine a special place, person, or experience that helps you feel secure, at ease, and a sense of well-being.  Feel into your Inner Resource at any time during your practice or in daily life even when you feel overwhelmed by an emotion, thought, or life circumstance and wish to feel secure and at ease.

4)  Feel Your Body. Gradually  move attention through your body while welcoming the various sensations that arise.

5) Become Aware of Your Breath. Sense the body breathing. Observe the natural flow of air in the nostrils, throat, and rib cage as well as the rise and fall of the abdomen with each breath. Feel each breath as flowing energy coursing throughout your entire body.

6) Welcome Your Emotions. Without judging or trying to change anything, welcome sensations and emotions that are present in your body and mind. Also notice opposite  feelings and emotions. Sense both opposites simultaneously. Welcome everything just as it is.

7) Witness Your Thoughts. Notice and welcome thoughts, memories, and images that are present in your mind. Without judging or trying to change them, observe  any thought, memory, or images and notice corresponding sensations in your body. Welcome your experience just as it is.

8) Experience Joy. Welcome sensations of joy, well-being, or bliss emanating from your heart or belly and spreading throughout your body and into the space around you. With every exhalation, experience sensations of warmth, joy, and well-being radiating throughout your body.

9) Find Lasting Peace. Set aside thinking and dissolve into Awareness, awake and conscious of the Self.

10) Reflect on Your Practice. As you complete your practice, reflect on the journey you've just taken.  Recognize the feeling of peace that is always present. Integrate this into your everyday life, in both pleasant and difficult moments.

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