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jen yoga beach
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?’

I bought Jennifer’s CD and brought it home to my husband ‘the skeptic’, and told him to just listen to it. We listened to it and it put us both to sleep and when we woke up in the morning we felt renewed! We were playing it when we fell asleep and it changed my life! It’s an amazing practice.

After that, I attended Jennifer’s Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra teacher training and I learned that ‘worry’ is actually often false and self-created. Those rushing thoughts use to take up all of my attention and steal my energy because I got so caught up in the spin of it. Now I am able to see that much of it was false and merely the mind racing. Divine Sleep helps me to be more centered and to be in control of the craziness in my mind to bring me back to into the present.

Our house was knocked down. It was a good lesson in non-attachment. I learned that I do not need ‘stuff’ even though we lost lots of photographs, furniture, clothing and more. Now I see I don’t really need those things anyway. My family and I were in tact – we were fine – and that’s what mattered! We found a house in town to rent and now we are here just living in the present. I do not want to think what we are doing next but right now everyone is settled and it is okay.

At the time we were frantic. But now afterward, it feels very freeing, it was a good change of perspective. I feel like we were supposed to go through it to get to the other side and learn and discover through the process. Now I truly appreciate every day. This practice has helped me to realize that I need to do things that I have been envisioning NOW and not wait for the future. So I started a website that I had been thinking about for a while – a directory for various causes like helping animals, human rights, and other categories.

Divine Sleep brings me into a whole other level of ‘being present’ that I found my regular yoga practice did not take me to. Now I’m able to be life’s stressful situations and come back to my whole self, knowing that my reservoirs run so much deeper. And yoga nidra has taught me to get control of my self-doubting mind and negative thoughts and worrying, and be able to come back into the present and out of the worried state.

The teacher training was absolutely amazing. I loved it! I felt like I was like floating each day. I got to really explore myself and I found what was blocking me from doing some of the things I wanted to do. I noticed a lot of the self-doubt, and when I really picked it apart, I was able to see beyond my fears. I had been afraid of failing, and also afraid of succeeding. It can be difficult because the mind can trick us into believing fears are real.

The whole way Jennifer’s training was set up was really effective. The way she built on each level helped me completely understand Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra. She made the information very accessible and better than the yoga nidra book. And just as Jennifer says – all you have to do is lay down and listen and you get it! I think everyone needs to do this.

Now I feel confident, balanced and calmer in my center so that I can offer that to other people. I have a sense of stability now and guess what? It’s working wonders on my kids. I lead them in Divine Sleep and within two minutes into the body scan, they are out like a light and sleep for the whole night.

It is wonderful to wake up before everyone else so that I can practice with one of Jennifer’s CD’s. With three kids, I do not have a lot of time but with fifteen minutes of Divine Sleep starting my day, I feel grounded and it sets the pace for the day. Then when the chaos hits – getting the kids ready for school – my older son has anxiety issues so he is sometimes not a ‘joy’ when he first wakes up – I am able to stay calm because I have already centered myself. I found that place inside that’s calm. I am able to stay centered.

My kids who are five, seven and nine years old, and amazing yoga nidra has changed their lives too. For my oldest, it’s giving him tools to be able to regulate anxiety on his own – empowering! He’ll ask me ‘What was that breathing thing again? Will you breathe with me?’ And my two younger ones love it and ask ‘Mommy, can you read that to me again?’

That is why Divine Sleep is so great because I feel it making me a better mother for my kids. I am able to remain calm and not be chaos and they truly benefit from my practice.