Lexa Gillespie

In 2011, the normal energetic feel of my life was a whirlwind of hectic, deranged, non-stop frantic chaos! It felt as though someone had jammed the fast forward button that controlled my life. I had absolutely no clue how to slow down.

Shortly after that feeling engulfed me, I was diagnosed with a stage two malignant tumor in my brain in the right temporal lobe.

Acknowledging that life wasn’t about to slow down for me, I had a beautiful and empowering realization that I needed to renew! I longed to feel loving vibrancy, as well as inner serenity. Even within illness, I knew achieving it was possible.

I immediately began my search for an inner state of calm that could help me get through the catastrophic event I was facing. I had only a small foundation of yoga in my life, and began integrating yoga into my daily routine. I used slowing my breath down to calm my racing mind. And I found the yogic text – the Bhagavad Gita – to be very supportive.

I made it through one round of brain surgery. Then an intense healing period. Questions like, ‘Who am I?’ began to surface and I felt like I was beginning all over again. I set a goal, knowing how I wanted to feel in my body again, and knew that yoga would get me there.

I entered into my yoga teacher training and within it one of our teachers lead us in Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra. As I sat up after the practice I felt an ethereal and light filled sense of myself and knew that I was searching for!
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RJ Lisander

Grateful for the Balance Divine Sleep Offers Me

I was 38 and worried sick that Monday afternoon. The previous Friday, my husband of twelve years had texted to inform me he that he was canceling the three-day weekend that we had been planning. Instead, he was going to travel by himself to an undisclosed location for an indeterminate period of time.

Then, I heard nothing more from him. In the thick silence of the next three days, I went through all the emotions … disbelief, worry, grief, anger, bargaining with a God I did not pray to, grief, anger, bargaining, disbelief, and then more worry.

At 4:01 pm that Monday afternoon, I heard his car in the driveway. These emotions gripped me all at once and I froze. The door opened, and the first words he said were – I want a divorce.

Those four simple words threw me so off balance. I thought our marriage was solid enough to weather any storm. And our love, forever. I entered into what I can only describe as a disembodied state.

In the year that followed, I went through the motions of living…read more

 

 

 

Mary Beth Ogulewicz

Now I Experience The World From The Deep Reservoir Of Calm Stillness And Self-Love Within

“There is a place inside you that is not broken or wounded”   — Brahmani Liebman

“Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of god. It’s always there. Its always in you.”   — Maya Angelou

Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra changed my ability to relate to myself, my fears and anxiety, and therein my life.  Becoming a Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra guide allowed me impact others on a much deeper level.  It shifted the focus of my teaching from guiding a yoga practice to doing healing work.

Formerly my life was characterized by stress and tension. Diversion, distraction, and alternating between pleasure seeking and avoiding pain were my coping mechanisms for stress.  Late night binge TV watching, anxiety and sleeplessness were my couch companions. It is hard to remember you are a spiritual being when you are stuffing microwave popcorn in your mouth watching Sex & the City at 3 a.m., all because you are too anxious to rest.  These distractions eventually failed to stay the anxiety.  My ability to protect myself from the strain of my life disintegrated.  The acuteness of my stress caused me to try Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra.

What did I discover?  When I offered myself kindness and understanding, the fear and worry that drove the endless anxiety were mollified.  With Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra I learned an incredibly powerful tool for living.  I learned to relate directly with how things were without needing to change the experience or resist it.

I stopped giving power to my past, my old script, and returned power to me and the present moment, the only moment I could truly experience.  Divine Sleep practice taught me that how to deeply rest and tap into the power of my calm presence…read more

 

 

 

Sherrie Howard

Yoga and Divine Sleep Helped Me Transition My Career and Step Onto a Path of Love and Healing

 

Before I practiced Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra I didn’t have a way to completely relax or let everything go.  I often did not have an awareness of myself or know what I was feeling.  I was simply rushing around in my extremely busy life.  I was tense, anxious, and I carried a lot of tightness in my body.  I did not always feel confident about myself.
Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra allows me to completely relax and let go of everything!  I practice when I’m super busy and I need to take time to stop and relax.  I put on Jennifer’s CD and float!  When I have trouble sleeping, it’s a powerful tool that’s very useful for me.
Now I know what it’s like to have ‘self-care’ in my life and what it’s like to really be able to take time for me.  I know when my cup is filling up too much, and at the same time, I know when my cup is empty and needs refilling.  Practicing yoga and yoga nidra regularly now, I am so much more aware of my body, and I’m less tense.  When I get tense now, I’m aware of it, and I can make the choice to let it go, which feels empowering.  Now I can process my feelings, and respond in a way that’s appropriate.  I know where to put my trust.  I feel I can handle life challenges better because …read more



Kristy Vizzone

I Found that Place Inside that’s Calm

Before I regularly practiced Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra I was caught up rushing a lot and not taking a minute to breathe and be present and to just be ‘me’. I’m a ‘worrier’ and at times have negative thoughts and self-doubt rushing through my head.

Just before I first took my first class with Jennifer at Kripalu Center, my husband and three children and I were caught in Hurricane Sandy. We live by the beach and our house was demolished! We had to evacuate and didn’t know what we were coming back to. For a few weeks we were roaming all over the place – and I was all over the place with the kids – not knowing where we were going to end up or where we were going to live.

Insomnia cannot even describe what I was going through – I could not sleep AT ALL. I had anxiety attacks and panic attacks. I felt like I was waiting for something bad to happen – the other shoe to fall.

In this state, I came to Kripalu and took Jennifer’s workshop, and after arising from Divine Sleep I felt that ‘what just happened?’ It was like a miracle – I came out feeling this wonderful sense that ‘everything is going to be okay’! I felt like ‘the universe has me, is taking care of me, and everything is okay’. I said ‘what did she just do to me?’…read more



Lisa Danahy

Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra Gave Me A Safe Space To Get To Know Me — And I Really Like Me!

Previously I sought a lot of sources outside myself in my search for balance.  I imagined that the key to becoming calm and balanced was in physical exercise.  I had been raising two growing kids, changed my career, and was trying to find my way as a yoga instructor and educator, but I had not found the tools to truly connect with myself in a positive way.

The last twenty years of my life have been spent managing a preschool and raising my kids.  When my youngest one went off to college, I decided to make a big change!  My intention was to take the yoga tools that I had to help kids and adults find calm, connect with themselves, and also to provide parents and teachers tools to teach the kids themselves.  Personally, I also wanted to do more yoga, knowing that there was a special and powerful side of yoga that I had been hesitant to explore, and had yet to find.

When I found yoga nidra, I found a compassionate practice that gave me…read more


Khloe Alice Lin

Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra Has Been My Saving Grace

Before I practiced yoga nidra, I very anxious.  It’s really hard for me sometimes to relax and to trust myself.  I always want the guidance from other – whether it’s a friend, an older person, a wiser person, a guru, a therapist – an ‘authority’.  “I don’t really trust myself.  I don’t know what to do.  I want advice from other people,” but after practicing Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra, I realized that “This body, and my wisdom, are all right here.  It’s inside.  It’s always been here, within me!”

My constitution is vata – meaning air and ether elements.  So it’s really hard for me to be still and stay still unless I’m completely floored by exhaustion.  When I practice Divine Sleep, the most amazing thing is I don’t have to do anything!  I just lie down and let my mind relax – then my body relaxes, and this opens into trusting my inner voice, trusting the guide, and trusting the loving heart of the universe.  It works instantly – and it’s fun…read more
 

 

Heidi Beke-Harrigan

Reconnecting to My True Self

About a year before I attended Jennifer’s Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra Teacher Training I went through a breast cancer scare, which was a real wake up call about my health and my life. My children were about to leave for college, my work was a stressful mess, and I was trying to be a million things to a million different people. Worry had taken over my life! No wonder my body was trying to get my attention in desperate ways.

Yoga nidra together with a regular yoga posture practice changed all that. It didn’t happen overnight — at first there was so much to wade through. Gradually my yoga nidra practice gave me space to not only reconnect with my true Self, but to be able to process and explore feelings and reactions, as well as develop compassion toward myself.

That was a huge inner transition for me! I had been brought up to believe…read more

 

Ana Shreck

To Truly Let Go Peacefully

Ana Schreck

I recently completed Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra
teacher training with Jennifer. Yoga nidra is an essential part of my life and  the changes in my life are profound. I am more comfortable and allowing of  myself. I surrender into a place of beautifully being, rather than needing to  do so much.

Before discovering yoga nidra, I was a  “go-getter” and perfectionist.  I easily wound up before bedtime and had difficult  sleeping, with resistance of even getting into bed. Going to bed somehow felt  like giving up because I felt like I was not accomplishing anything.  I fought  sleep because it felt like weakness rather than a sweet surrender.  I did not understand that “letting go” could be
a desirable, beneficial experience to balance and ground me.  I previously practiced
hot power yoga and fought sleep, even if I was tired rather than honouring
myself. I constantly added fuel to my already fiery self by making lists and
multitasking to keep going, going, going! I could not concentrate or sit still,
finding ways to distract myself and get out of the moment of my own experience.
I became addicted to distraction. I wanted to be anywhere but with myself…read more

 

Waller McInnis

I Celebrate That I Feel Grounded in Myself

Waller McInnis

Waller had been through many upheavals including being her father’s care-giver. She found the practice of Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra tremendously assisted in integrating  her emotions and reactions, allowing her to feel her true light again as a smiling, radiant being! She is an inspiration for healing through Self-Love and self care.

I’ve struggled with depression since I was a little kid, as well as an eating disorder that I almost died from just about five years ago. Thinking I was ‘in recovery’, while I had been malnourished for many years. Following breaking down a few years ago, I put on more weight than I was comfortable with and felt not like myself. I had been living from a place of doing and taking care of others.

I was not conscious of a compulsive need to help others and keep my body in shape to keep up with my best. It was an endless cycle of isolation and shame. Then, at the same time, I had to take care of my dad who was going through a psychotic breakdown which transpired into dementia. Nothing I had done in the past – intense workouts, yoga or meditation – worked for grounding because the grief from my dad’s situation was causing me to not be able to work very much or sleep.

I took respite in other people. I felt that ‘If I’m not alone, I’m okay’, and ‘If I am helping enough people then that means I am okay’. And when overwhelm came to a head from tending to others through teaching yoga or taking care of my dad, I realized that I was really not okay because I didn’t feel like I had enough inner resources to sustain myself. At that point, I had to quit working and just work on myself.

The resource which has the most profound effect on me is Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra with Jennifer. I have been practicing her CD’s for two years now. I practice every day and even two or three times if I can. More than anything Divine Sleep has allowed me to heal and integrate large and small life traumas and become centered daily. I studied to become a Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra teacher with Jennifer and lead it in all my classes…read more

 

 

Lorraine Evans

Finding Clear Mind

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Lorraine came from Montreal to attend Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra Teacher Training in Boston.  She was very quiet and thoughtful with the presence of a Buddha – or Buddhess!  I was not surprised to find out that she was a meditator.  Not only did Divine Sleep help her meditation practice deepen, give her more options of meditations to practice, but helped her to get grounded, confident, and clear in her mind and actions!  Originally from England, she has a beautiful accent – imagine being guided in Divine Sleep with an English accent?  Beautiful!  Here is her story. 

My life was pretty good.  I’d been doing meditation which was helping me live life in a way that was generally happy each day – but not always.  I use to give myself a headache from having two inner parts of me saying, ‘why don’t you do this’ or ‘why don’t you do that’ like a tennis match.  And these two opposite parts were always trying to work out what I should do in life…

Should I take this job?  Should I keep working on writing this book I’ve been working on the past few years?  Or lay it to rest?  I would let my thoughts get far too carried away without actually listening to what I actually wanted to do, from a place of feeling or intuition.  It made me an indecisive person.  I’d been doing so many different things in my life and not really following anything through with any one thing.

My family lives in England and I used to just not enjoy going there.  I went to a few therapy sessions a couple years ago and we focused on working through childhood things.  It did not help me find many answers to my issues.

I took the Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra Teacher Training with Jennifer in Boston last year and it was life changing! …read more

 

Alison DeNicola

Finding My Voice

Alison DeNicola2 Years ago I was very caught up in the world of vigorous yoga, and working out – ‘relaxation by exhaustion’. I did not allow myself to have that space to travel inward and to see what was going on. I did weekend trainings for my Yoga Teacher Training when my children were small because that’s all the time I could take out of a busy schedule.  But I did not begin teaching yoga – I couldn’t find my voice – my teaching voice. I was a very avid student and had been practicing a long time, attended and completed other related professional trainings, but it wasn’t until I came to Jennifer’s Yoga and Deep Relaxation Retreat: the Gift of Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra with my mother, that things began to click. I found my path! I’ll never forget when my Mom came out of one of the Divine Sleep journeys and said, “I was an eagle, and I was flying over Jerusalem!” It was so real and vivid for her, and such a powerful experience. We had a profound experience during the retreat together. In the midst of mother-daughter bonding, I was reaching these deep places of rest and relaxation I had never experienced. It really touched me, and so much happened within me in those two days. Our group became a harmonious community throughout the weekend. I left that workshop and the following year had huge transformations in store. My husband lost his job, and our lives completely changed. I did a hypnosis certification and I thought ‘what I really need to do is the Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra Teacher Training!’ It’s similar work, but I longed for the yoga nidra way to go deep inside and transform. Finding My Words and My Voice I came back to Kripalu and did the training with Jennifer….read more

 

Emma Fletcher

I’ve Been Given A Great Gift…The Gift Of Myself

Emma Fletcher crop Under a significant amount of stress during the past couple of years, I was in a space where I knew something had to change.  Fear, in its all-pervasive forms, was sticking to me like crazy glue and I needed to find a way to dissolve its hold. My physical body had begun to pay the price, with a plethora of symptoms appearing with no seeming resolution despite my best efforts. My mental and emotional bodies were wrung out and despite having a whole lot of intellectual knowledge on how to counteract it, I was just not able to find the “off” switch to unwind.  I was living in a perpetual state of anxiety, at a crossroads in many areas of my life and decision-making felt impossible. With no direction and no clear road ahead, at times I felt like a prisoner with nowhere to go. So I took the deep dive inward to locate the cause of my discomfort and used my life experiences as a mirror. In the reflection I watched as deep-seated core beliefs emerged from the dark recesses of my mind. Important to know, but what to do now?  I caught a glimpse of the Kripalu Calendar and looked through it. The description of the Yoga and Deep Relaxation Retreat: the Gift of Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra, declaring that I would ‘experience deeper levels of inner freedom than I could possibly imagine’ was exactly what I was looking for!  The timing was perfect…it started in less than a week….read more

 

Mary Lou Minard

  I always knew the importance of resting at the end of yoga class in savasana and how it could help integrate the poses and bring peace and the calm ability to flow through life. But I had no idea of the profound effects of Divine Sleep yoga nidra. After practicing with Jennifer I have more energy and sleep better. I look forward to practicing her CD’s and do not feel guilty about resting. I am looking forward to attending Jennifer’s Yoga Nidra Teacher training and to be able to share it with my yoga students. I have been teaching yoga for twenty years and now teach seven classes per week, read, exercise and see my honey on the weekends. I was laid off from my corporate job ten years ago and had saved money so it turned out to be a blessing because now I can teach yoga and do the things I want to explore.  I handle life and its bumps so much better because of yoga.  I am receiving the many physical, mental and emotional benefits of yoga nidra.  I thankfully live a pretty stress-free life!…  read more

Victoria Mower

  I have struggled with anxiety and depression all my life.  It all began with childhood  trauma and by my mid-twenties,  anxiety attacks became a regular occurrence for me.  I could feel when it was coming on and I would just become  more and more tense, with shallow breathing and my heart racing.  It would feel like I was going to die and then I would become very frightened which led to even greater anxiety. It was a vicious cycle.  My doctor would come to my house and give me an injection of anti-anxiety medication to calm me down. In my earlier years I anestheticized myself with drugs and alcohol. Later, I began to try other healthier things such as Biofeedback, mindfulness training, bodywork, TM and many different therapies and therapists. There was not much I did not try in an attempt to manage my anxiety and depression. I learned a lot about myself, the source of the problem, and managed to make profound changes in my life to continue to be productive. I sure do wish I would have known about Yoga Nidra then…  read more

Sue Keane

Listening to Her Highest Self   I have never seen transformation like Sue’s this July after only two days of Yoga and Deep Relaxation Retreat.  When she arrived, Sue seemed somewhat skeptical, but more than that she appeared to be drawn tight inside herself, with a look on her face like she had just seen something terrible.  On our second full day together in retreat, Sue’s demeanor had completely changed.   I literally did not recognize this person before me, smiling from her inner light, radiant, and completely at ease.  Who was this new student I wondered?  Finally I recognized who she was.  I was delighted for her!  I truly wish I had a before and after photo of Sue. I wanted to know more about Sue and her life.  She shared with the group that she suffered from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).  Not only is Sue a veteran of the US Military  Operation Desert Storm and a Police Officer with promotions to Sergeant and Detective Sergeant with the Port Authority of NY/NJ, but she was also a first responder at the World Trade Center on 9/11. It was not until 2010 that,  struggling to cope with the effects of PTSD, she decided to take a leave of absence, and dedicated her life to healing herself.  When someone makes the focus of their life their own healing, I always get choked up.  There is nothing more powerful and sacred than listening to our highest self and responding.  There is no more tender a relationship than that.  I hope you enjoy Sue’s story… read more

Ellen Faye

After a recent yoga class at Kriplau, Ellen came to me with tears in her eyes to thank me for the powerful effects and changes she has witnessed in herself with three years of practicing Yoga Nidra. She also had unfortunate news to share – she had just suffered a concussion. She told me Yoga Nidra is her ‘go to tool’ and she practiced it every day after the concussion to bring her into her body’s own healing mode. Here is Ellen’s story: Before I practiced Yoga Nidra, I found it really difficult to control or manage my stress. I had no tool to calm and settle myself that would work consistently. I am a ‘type A’: running businesses, raising kids, and volunteering. Professionally, I am an organizer. I help others to get their lives into order by removing clutter from their lives so they can focus on what gives satisfaction. Most of this is emotional clutter or ‘should’ clutter: ‘I should be this way’ ‘I should do that’. So I was immediately drawn to Yoga Nidra since it is a practice of non-doing and non-pushing – but with just a tiny bit of structure…  read more

Rowan Lischerelli

The Magic Wand of Yoga Nidra Before I entered into the world of yoga and Yoga Nidra I did not have the tools in life to deal with so many things. Sleep was difficult and inconsistent. I was agitated and moody and did not know how to tolerate the consequences of being myself from day to day. I was scattered in my thoughts. I had always struggled with feeling chaotic, insecure and ungrounded. I was searching and not finding. In May of 2010, instead of walking across the stage to receive my graduation degree from UNCA, I flew to Kripalu to attend Yoga Nidra Teacher Training with Jennifer! It was how I honored my rite of passage from student life into my professional life. That was almost three years ago, and that’s when everything changed for me… from the training itself to beginning a deep and consistent Yoga Nidra practice that I have since maintained… read more 

 

Susan Abbattista

It was sheer joy to meet Susan last summer when she attended my retreat at Kripalu. She is completely down to earth, focused on her practice and discovering herself, and so bone tickling-ly funny! She had us all in stitches every time she shared with us what was going on for her. It is wonderful in her writing here to discover more about her journey and history. I appreciate humor and opportunities to laugh together are precious. Thank you Susan for helping us all to take our ‘processes’ not quite so seriously and with joy and lightness. “A child of the sixties, I grew up in a house where there was always a lot of noise and static. It seemed like there was always some drama going on, in the family or out in the world. And in our house, deep in the suburbs of Long Island, the TV news was always blaring in the background, fueling the anxiety. Nationally, we had Vietnam and Watergate. Closer to home: Fires, guns, and missing children. My mother was a constant worrier. No matter what I was doing – bike riding, going to the beach, or later, heading off to college – her words to me were always the same: “Be very careful.” So I’ve always had this low-level anxiety that just around the corner, something terrible was about to happen… read more

 

Bobbi Greenberg

Yoga Nidra: A blessing in my life. Bobbi was instrumental in bringing Yoga Nidra Teacher Training to an amazing yoga community in Ontario this past year. It was joyous to be invited and to meet a new community. Bobbi approached me with tears of release after one powerful yoga nidra journey. She said to me “I finally got what I wished for– I finally stayed awake the entire yoga nidra.” I knew something big within her was finally integrating, she was feeling it now, and she would feel so clear and fresh soon after. I wanted to share her story with you to help us understand just how powerful Divine Sleep yoga nidra can be. Before my daily yoga nidra practice I was living a busy chaotic life, scattered all over the place, Most of all I did not sleep well and that affected every aspect of my life. Being a type ‘A’ personality and being at a certain age when sleep is not always a sure thing, a friend gave me Jennifer’s CD, and it could not have come at a better time…read more

 

 

Verne D’Angelo

It is said that ‘When the student is ready, the teacher shows up’, and Verne added: ‘regardless of age!’ When Verne turned 60, and she thought of being 65 one day, she wondered what will she do then? Something in her said she had to become a yoga teacher. Verne is a breast cancer survivor and began practicing yoga after having surgery. What an inspiration! She let her light shine and did her yoga teacher training for her 61st birthday! “Teaching yoga is the perfect thing! I am so grateful for this opportunity and for my teachers. I was able to attend Jennifer’s Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra teacher training in Ontario, Canada. I had been leading yoga nidra, but fumbling my way through the dark to some degree, and Jennifer’s training helped me to learn the depth of this powerful practice and also to feel confident in my delivery of it…read more

 

Dave Gerlits

Dave and I first met when I gave him a bodywork session at Kripalu in Healing Arts. Dave then signed up for the newsletter and has incorporated it into his life ever since. He is so kind, open, relaxed and sincere, and when I met his wife, Bobbi, she was the same. I wondered how they lived their lives to embody these beautiful qualities, and asked Dave if he would share a little with us. And isn’t it about time we had a man in the Spotlight? “In 1977 I graduated college and began to practice Transcendental Meditation — seated meditation on a sound or word. I had a strong practice and meditation gave my mind a way to relax tension and anxiety. But I still could feel it in my throat, chest and diaphragm. And when I hold tension in my body,it also affecting me mentally and psychologically. At that time in my life, I was less confident and more fearful. I joined the Navy to see the world and then saw it through a periscope! In the Navy I studied nuclear power. I always had a desire to cultivate both sides of myself — the mystical and the scientific…         read more

 

Tanya Mossman

I was in a pretty good place with myself having been involved with 12 Step program for addiction for the last seven years. However I was feeling somewhat imbalanced and undisciplined. I also did not feel a vital connection to the world and myself. Then I attended one Yoga Nidra session with Jennifer and my life changed! I knew instantly that this was for me. A light went on and said “follow me- this is it”! 12 Step has been so powerful for me, and Yoga Nidra became my next step. Yoga Nidra has brought me to a deeper level of healing and living life fully. My world was much smaller and Jennifer opened me up to a much bigger space…    read more