Before I entered into the world of yoga and yoga nidra, I did not have the tools in life to deal with so many things. Sleep was difficult and inconsistent. I was agitated and moody and did not know how to tolerate the consequences of being myself from day to day. I was scattered in my thoughts. I had always struggled with feeling chaotic, insecure and ungrounded. I was searching and not finding.
In May of 2010, instead of walking across the stage to receive my graduation degree from UNCA, I flew to Kripalu to attend Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidra Teacher Training with Jennifer! It was how I honored my rite of passage from student life into my professional life. That was almost three years ago, and that’s when everything changed for me… from the training itself to beginning a deep and consistent yoga nidra practice that I have since maintained.
People mistakenly think yoga is only for particular people -bendy, stretchy, young, or even wealthy. Everyone can do Yoga Nidra and I’ve seen how it helps everyone who I facilitate. I have a degree in American Sign Language and primarily work with Deaf-Blind people and have adapted yoga and Yoga Nidra to lead experiences in a tactile and/or descriptive way.
I have taught Yoga Nidra to nurses who wanted to learn ‘integrative’ practices for health and relaxation (and they loved it!). I have lead Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidra with veterans, and also with people who are in prison. When I am asked to do any project that involves speaking with groups, I always find a way to introduce it. Then people know that there is something out there, a possibility for healing that they can participate.
Recently my Dad had open heart surgery. My family are not yogis or people even interested in yoga, but they were open to ways of relaxing. I guided us right there in the waiting room with subtlety. It was stressful and there was a lot of commotion… we were surrounded by other families who were anticipating the news of their loved ones also going through heart surgery.
And so things go, Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidra has been a catalyst for great changes… I was a closet smoker. I loved smoking! Friends have since told me that they thought I would never quit because I enjoyed it so much. Even when I was an Intern living at Kripalu and was nutritionally and physically healthy, I was still smoking. I actually had intentions when I moved to Kripalu to quit smoking. I was there for almost a year and I never quit. A few years later I got pneumonia and practiced Yoga Nidra intensively. I never smoked again!
The affirmation I repeated in my yoga nidra practice was “My lungs are healthy, my body is strong.” It was the opposite of trying to quit… I was not trying to quit, I was allowing myself a chance to heal. My body and my mind changed permanently. I have at times wanted to smoke, but my body reacts violently against it. A profound change in my life.
My body assumed a state of truth about what is good and right for me. My body decided to regulate itself and now I am able to listen. Even my diet changed easily and naturally. Without trying, I have lost 25 pounds that have stayed off (which debunks the myth that people who quit smoking gain weight!). When I am tired or restless or feeling emotionally or physically stuck, I do Yoga Nidra and drop into myself, and become my ‘beingness’ again.