Katie Hoffman
I am the most important student!

Before I started practicing Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidra I was running on empty. I was a very tired “Mom and Yoga Teacher” who was giving, giving, giving, and rarely was I refilling. I was searching for a quiet, gentle practice I could do daily to re-fill.

Becoming a yoga teacher was never in my plan. I worked for many years in arts and fashion and discovered yoga in the late 90’s while working in NYC. My yoga practice began purely as a physical one that I would do in my apartment in the early morning hours using various DVD’s. I practiced this way for many years – just doing the poses – but not practicing anything that was quiet or reflective.

When my family and I decided to move to the Chicago area, I was excited to explore the yoga studios and communities around my new home. My children were two and four years of age and that made me anxious to begin a more regular yoga practice again. I was the student who claimed I would “never teach” because I loved being the student so much! Teaching yoga never really crossed my mind.

Shortly after our move, I met a teacher I connected with, and felt encouraged to begin a yoga teacher training with the idea that it would expand my knowledge of yoga. However, in the teacher training, there was a huge shift for me, and I realized that I Ioved it all so much that I wanted to, and needed to share it with others and thus, I became a yoga teacher!

The first year of teaching yoga I put everything into designing and teaching well-rounded classes. I would come early to chat with my students and leave late when they wanted to hang around the studio after to talk. I taught classes at 6:30 AM and then again at 6:30 PM, in between staying home with my two young children, and teaching classes on the weekends as well. I would fill my schedule to get as much experience teaching as I could. Physically, I was still practicing on my own but mentally I knew I needed something more. What I was really searching for was a quiet, gentle, inner practice.

I eventually I trained in Yoga Therapy and began teaching a wide variety of populations from young children to seniors. While attending a Yoga Therapy conference, I had my first taste of yoga nidra. And it was so profound that exactly one year later I arrived at Kripalu Center for Jennifer’s Yoga and Deep Relaxation Retreat! With Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidra I felt I finally found the quiet, inner practice I needed and had been searching for.

I loved how Jennifer bases Divine Sleep® on the five koshas (the levels of being) as gateways within oneself to go deeper within to bring more awareness to my whole being. I realized the piece I was missing in meditation was the complete whole-being awareness that Divine Sleep® offers.

At the beginning of the retreat it took me two days to settle in, mainly because I was thinking about my summer “to do” list and the kids, who were in Cape Cod with their Dad – are they sleeping okay: are they putting on their sunblock… all the things I worry about as a mother. Our twice daily Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidras eventually quieted my mind, and I let go into a place of drop down and re-set. I really got that yoga nidra was something I not only wanted to do daily because I felt so good, but that I also need to do it.

Now, Divine Sleep® is essential for me as daily maintenance. As a yoga teacher, I need to have something I can do to quiet my mind so I can be present for my students. I know now that I cannot keep giving out energy without filling myself first. My daily yoga nidra practice has also allowed me to be more available for my family.

Now I’m able to be in three roles in one day – as the student practicing yoga nidra, and as the teacher and mother. Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidra simply reminded me of what I always knew – I am the most important student!