For years, I suffered emotional and physical pain in silence. My life had been challenging and I have felt deep pain and sadness which I had carried with me. As a child, I observed my father suffer from mental and physical illness. My teen years were turbulent, and I was forced to move away from my hometown during my junior year, leaving me feeling lost and completely alone.
Vulnerable and trusting, I met and married a man who became my tormentor. We had three children that I constantly protected as best I could from his verbal and physical abuse. I suffered a debilitating injury during the birth of my third child, and had to end my career as public school teacher. It was at that point, my now ex-husband truly became a tyrant and I finally escaped the cycle of abuse. Fast forward to now: in this past year, I have lost both my best friend who was 49, and my sweet loving mother, as well as my home in a fire!
Even throughout my yoga teacher training, yoga therapy and other courses, I always had difficulty letting go completely and truly meditating or going within. When Jennifer came to Plymouth MA, I anticipated a valuable meditation workshop like others but really I enrolled because it was required in my training. When I said this, Jennifer simply smiled as if she had a delicious secret to share! And she most certainly did share, enlighten, and lead me to change my inner thought pattern and now I am able to fully let go!
Awakening slowly, I began to notice my feet feel cold, then warm, then back to cold. I ‘scan’ of both sides of my body. Then feel the crown of my head, becoming aware of the sound of the wind, the feel the winter chill, and the heaviness of my limbs. I was practicing my ‘homework’. Opening my eyes I had a view of the white snow swirling outside the window, this final day of bliss in Jennifer’s Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra teacher training – my heart’s longing was unfolding!
I could visualize the day to come: my living room alive with the energy, wisdom, and universal oneness of a community coming together with the same intention I had on this special day. We had to move the training to my rental home due to the storm Juno which cause incredible flooding, power outages and heaps of snow! The moment arrived—a day that will not be forgotten within this community of yoga teachers. Forever, I will cherish hearing the group repeating to me as I lay in savasana: “Bonni is healed. Her pain of the past is over.” It still resonates true! We all evolved that day to a higher form of the self with a growing sense of knowing all is possible if we speak, live and reside in our heart’s longing in the now.
It was through Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra that I was able to finally reach inside and begin to release the pain I had so long been carrying. Even during the first practice, I found I was able to truly relax and enter the magical healing place between sleep and awake. There were no thoughts, no distractions, and no inner distractions, as I fully entered into healing awakening.
I cried like a baby when I became fully awake, and it felt like I had left behind some painful blocks. After the yoga nidra we drew with crayons to integrate the experience. It was amazing to draw! My hand was alive and on a journey of its own, discovering colors, symbols, and insights into my own inner truth, surrendering and letting go.
Now, each time I practice Divine Sleep and enter into my heart’s longing, it becomes real, and I heal a bit more — my heart feeling happier and lighter. I see now that I had everything I needed to heal all along already within me! My sleep is sound now and I give myself permission to feel joy! Yoga nidra has initiated the process of soothing and healing myself as the lost child, and as the abused woman, as well as the events of this past year.
Now I lead Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra in my yoga classes. My students tell me that they feel deeply relaxed like never before and that state continues even after leaving class. I can really feel how in our groups I am helping to help foster an awareness of the mind, body, heart, and soul connection for my students.
Each day is a gift. Everything leads to the highest good and I know this as an inner truth and healing from within. It’s my firm belief that yoga and yogic-minded thinking with incredible teachers such as Jennifer Reis can and is making this world a blissful and peaceful place for all.
As a 20 year master level teacher in public schools, I am impressed with Jennifer’s teaching style, sequencing of information, clear, concise instructions, and comfort level with questions. She uses a perfect blend of demonstration and guided hands-on practice. Her ease of response to teachable moments is effortless. We will never forget the class held at my house during a snowstorm with Jennifer. I was in awe of her radiant beauty, my own growth, and the oneness and the sense of peace I can now share with others.