Matthew D. Lyons
Finally Relaxed for Real!

I have always been a pretty calm person. Well, at least on the surface. Much like ducks who appear to be gracefully gliding across the water while their feet paddle furiously under the surface, I have moved through most of my life full of self-doubt. As well as suffering from ‘Imposter Syndrome’, meaning I felt like I was play-acting most of my life. And a good dose of body/weight shame thrown in for good measure.

I was introduced to yoga nidra several years ago and immediately fell in love with the restorative and rejuvenating nature of the practice. The practice allowed me to turn inward. I loved that it guided me to set positive intentions. Additionally, while self-described as a relatively calm person, I never realized how much my mind didn’t turn off! And also challenging I found pure stillness. I attended classes pretty regularly and I found yoga nidra changed me!

After encouragement from my wife and son, I signed up for a 200-hour yoga teacher training. My intent going into the training program was solely to deepen my own yoga practice for me. I really hadn’t given much thought to teaching.

During the training I had to give a presentation and my chosen topic was yoga nidra since it was somewhat familiar to me. Luckily, yoga nidra class takes place the first Friday of every month, so I attended – hoping it would be a nice tune-up for my presentation the following day. As my wife often says, “there are no mistakes in the Universe”. The class turned out to be quite impactful on my life.

Nearly everyone in the yoga nidra class spoke about being incredibly stressed out and full of angst when asked to introduce themselves and why they were there. When it was my turn, I shared that I was relaxed and that I was doing a presentation on yoga nidra the next day as part of my teacher training.

The class was fantastic! While I usually am in a bit of a haze after yoga nidra, what struck me was how peaceful and calm everyone was at the end of class. Every person who mentioned being stressed out now looked peaceful and rested. I left that evening inspired and feeling incredibly grateful! And after experiencing the transformational shift of both energy and emotion in myself and others I realized what a gift yoga nidra truly is.

Initially, I had signed up for yoga teacher training to deepen my own yoga practice, and was not so interested in teaching. But now, on my drive home from this yoga nidra class, I realized, ‘I wanted to teach!’ I too wanted to offer the gift of rest, stillness, and positive intention-setting to others.

I completed my yoga teacher training, along with an additional 100-hour Yin Yoga training and began to teach! For a while I led yoga nidra from a book written by Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Though I was able to lead classes confidently, I wanted to dig deeper for myself and my students.

Looking around, locally and online, it didn’t take long for me to find Jennifer’s Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra Teacher Training. Jennifer’s style appealed to me because of the inclusion of the five kosha levels of being. Added to that, it was not difficult to feel Jennifer’s energy and light shine right through her website! There was a training session available in the Washington, DC area, but I opted to travel to Kripalu to be in a more residential-retreat setting away from home so I could really focus and go deep.

Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra Teacher Training was indeed the gift I was searching for! From the very first meeting until the closing ceremony, Jennifer shared her wealth of knowledge, empowering us with the tools we needed to successfully lead classes and workshops. Jennifer’s sincerity, and her amazing assistants, along with the community of students in the training, lifted me in ways I didn’t expect. Each training session; each conversation; and every interaction fueled my desire to bring even more authenticity and commitment to my teaching and what I offer to the world.

Now I lead a monthly Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidra class and plan to hold longer workshops in the future. I continue to grow and learn and really feel that the deep experiences I have learning translate onto the mat when I practice yoga and yoga nidra for myself. It is through this continued work inward that I am learning to bring authentic, lasting peace and calm under my own surface. I am confident my equilibrium will translate into an even greater gifts I can provide to the world.

Yoga helped me to go inward and to grow, change, and to live more authentically. It helped me realize that I no longer wanted to work as a government affairs attorney. After 26 years in this field, I could no longer continue toiling away at something I didn’t love. With long, supportive talks with my wife, I decided to leave my job last spring! I have no regrets and I’m feeling very free.

My son is 23 years old and I am so proud that he is just starting out on his professional life. One thing I hope he gains from my life choices – deciding in my fifties to follow my heart – is that he too will have the confidence to follow his heart. And to know that I will always support him following his passions and dreams.

I have consciously decided to keep my teaching schedule light for now as I continue to evolve into what’s next. I lead Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidra once a month, as well as two weekly Yin Yoga classes at Yoga Heights in Washington, D.C. Come join me!