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Alison DeNicola
Finding My Voice

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. During the Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra Training I found Jennifer’s words allowed me to find my words. It resonated with me the way she expresses herself, as well as her connection to nature and the elements. Being with Jennifer really helped me to find my own voice. My voice began to feel natural to me! It didn’t feel like the funny vocabulary from my old yoga training or the old men sort of language of the hypnosis world, which had never felt natural to me.

So much about what Jennifer was doing, and the generosity of what she shared, all of her creative ability helped me to be creative in my own way. Now I’m able to weave in myself so that it feels authentic and natural for me. From that point, I have just continued on and on, establishing my teaching voice for not only yoga nidra but in all of my yoga classes. I found it natural to teach class, when previously I was in denial of being the ‘yoga teacher’ because so many people were teaching and I had been questioning if that path was for me.

Candlelight Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra: My Premier!

I began by leading candlelight Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra at my friend’s yoga studio. It was something like my big coming out, my big premier! I felt nervous — then I realized everyone’s eyes were closed – there was nothing to be nervous about. It’s not like teaching a class to thirty people that everybody is watching your every move! So I found my comfort zone, and that allowed me to settle in and be the guardian of that space, creating a safe and healing space for my students. I began to find my place as a teacher. I’ve been teaching for three years in her studio.

Catalyst For My Evolution

Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra has been a beautiful practice in my life that gave me a ground to explore and to incorporate my passions into the practice. For an earth inspired journey I bring my drum, and drum through parts of it. If I have small groups I can use sacred objects in the group or set up and alter with all those things. From there it kept multiplying and expanding and now I’ve led just about every kind of journey, and some of them I have no idea how I even came to it. I started to do angelic journeys and I thought — how am I doing this? I got this intuitive message, ‘Don’t worry we’re going to show you what to do and you just go and do it!’ So I went with it and people just showed up! Many people show up for an opportunity to connect with the angels and I realized people are in need of healing. Jennifer was the catalyst for my evolution! People love nature! I lead a Divine Sleep journey with ‘your power animal’. People feel a deep connection to animals as well as nature.

Divine Sleep helped me to find and create the work that I’m offering to the world. Ultimately I love being a student, I’m always seeking- what’s the next thing to learn? I feel very dedicated to this practice and how it will unfold for me and my students.

My Self-Care Practice is Divine Sleep

Divine Sleep has been my method of relaxation – to give myself the gift of practicing when I needed to rest, or needed to come back to myself. And that process allowed me to shed things. I didn’t even know what the stuff was, that had been clogging me up, but it just needed to go. When I need self-care, this is the practice for me.

Divine Sleep has tremendously increased my ability to visualize and see my inner symbols. This practice has opened up my mind to what is possible. Yoga nidra helped me let go of who I thought I was and move into a bigger, larger, more expanded version of myself- my authentic self. And that has meant the world to me. My life is so much fuller now with clear direction. My intuition has evolved.

Five Element Yoga Teacher Training

I jumped at the chance to do Jennifer’s Five Element Yoga Teacher Training and it was really by far the most fun training I have taken! We still talk about it today, my friend Bonnie and I who were there together, we had the best time with that training. A great training, there was always this abundant space to practice everything, and to really explore all the elemental aspects. It was a genuinely fun group people. We had so much fun together, and learned and experienced so much, and I came back from that and I was ready to go!

Five Element Yoga gave me the last piece to solidify what I was doing. And I went right to it. I came home and I started to teach Five Element Yoga right away – dove right in! I felt prepared. And the great thing is, I’m still learning from the practice. I’ve worked it into my life and into my classes. My students now live it and they really love it, and I feel grateful to have these tools.

I just started with Earth Element and began to work with an elemental theme every month, and weave that theme into everything I do and lead. Exploring Earth for the whole month allowed me to truly sink in and feel it. I led it in Divine Sleep journeys, in yoga teachings, private energy healing work. I fully learned it inside and out. That gave me the framework and I have to say Jennifer’s text, her manual, is just so amazing and thorough. Even down to the poetry and mudras, and I pull it out for inspiration for what I’ll use that day. It’s a well-rounded manual and I’ve taken it and really used it.