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jen yoga beach
Cheryl McBride
Perfect No Longer Matters

I spent many years of my life striving for perfection. I wanted the perfect house with the pristine yard, perfect car, perfect outfits, and the perfect job. I exhausted myself with making all things perfect. Everything was neat and orderly – there was a place for everything – and everything was in its place. My ‘A-type’ personality fed into that desire for perfection.

I struggled for years to rest into greater ease and joy and drop the need to be perfect in all things. I questioned my purpose and passion in life. I often wondered if I would ever find what it seemed like others had and seemed to be missing for me. One day would I be living my dream with a fulfilling purpose and career?

I muscled my way through life, striving for the perfect outcome. I didn’t have a sense of grace or ease. I thought that was just what I was supposed to do in life, and I was never taught any differently. I also had a ‘false sense’ of control. It allowed me to believe I had control over all situations in my life.

Until one day, about nine years ago, when my husband and I received devastating news that he had been diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. All of my time and attention were suddenly focused on him and his illness to do everything possible to restore his health. Sadly, after a year-long battle with cancer, he passed away.

When that happened, I fell into a very dark place. However, life doesn’t stop. I am a mom, and I had a job and responsibilities: taking care of my children, our house, paying bills, and I needed to show up, even though all I wanted to do was run and hide!

While I was trying to establish my ‘new normal’ in my life, another unimaginable event occurred. Hurricane Sandy ravaged our home on the Jersey shore. We were rendered homeless! Wow! That abruptly put things into perspective, creating a new lens and view of my life.

Having things perfect no longer mattered! I realized that I certainly could not use my old habitual way of muscling my way through this level of devastation and loss. I truly learned that my sense of control was absolutely a myth.

Knowing that I needed support and guidance, I sought counseling. My counselor suggested that I find an outlet because I did not have mental clarity. I was in a constant state of ‘fight or flight’ and not sleeping well.

This is when I discovered the beautiful practice of yoga and meditation. It allowed me to get outside of my head – and into my body. My very first class started a beautiful journey for me, and one that I am still following to this day. Originally, I had begun to practice yoga for the physicality of it, but then something happened… I began to notice internal shifts: a greater sense of happiness, a calmer mind, connection, and internal peace – all the things I had been searching for.

I didn’t know much about yoga, and I became like a sponge, wanting to soak it all up and learn as much as I could. I attended all types of classes and workshops. I loved it! Meditation became a staple in my daily life. I became a certified yoga teacher in 2015. And this year, I began a Mindfulness/Meditation Teacher training. During training, we practiced yoga nidra and I was intrigued and wanted to know more. I tried a few classes, and because it’s a form of meditation, it was natural to study it more in depth.

I researched online and I was excited to find Jennifer’s Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidra Teacher Training! As luck had it, my local yoga studio was hosting her. The minute I saw it, I signed up – I was in!

Only a few months later, I stepped into my very welcoming studio, with like-minded and soulful individuals. I felt totally at home and my heart was lit up! I loved every bit of the training.

During meditation studies, I had learned a bit about the five koshas, but Jennifer dove deeper into the concepts, and made the picture clear for me, allowing me to understand why Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidra is such a transformational practice. I also understand why I felt so connected to this practice. I find it transforms me. It allows me to peel away the layers to get to my whole self – my true self – and my heart’s true deep desires. I feel healed.

Now, I find that I enjoy practicing yoga nidra as much as I love teaching it. I love creating a beautiful space for my students to fully embrace this practice. In one of my recent classes, a student came up to me afterwards and hugged me. She shared how relaxed she became while I was leading the Divine Sleep. She told me she couldn’t believe it, because it was difficult for her to calm her mind-chatter as she had a constant ‘to do’ list going through her mind. She thanked me for guiding her. It touched my heart knowing that I was able to pass along this transformational healing and relaxation.

I have several of Jennifer’s CD’s and practice regularly. It always intrigues me that somewhere in the body scan that I unconsciously float away. The practice is so nurturing and lovely.

I can honestly say it was a true gift to have been taught by Jennifer! She is a gifted teacher, and her love of the practice shines through her care. I am happy to play a small part in the ripple effect of making the world a happier, gentler place through the teaching of Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidra.

What I have recently discovered is that I am already living my purpose and passion! And that they’ve been here all along for years. I just needed to become still enough to connect with my inner-self to confirm that I am exactly where I am supposed to be now, in this moment. I know now that my heart is the happiest when I connect with others through the practices of meditation and yoga.