Sometimes life’s messages are foggy and require some effort to uncover. Other times, they’re like flashing neon lights and arrows guiding you down a path. Reading Aaron’s email about the opportunity to rent space at College Hill Yoga was a shining neon light moment for me.
Having taught iRest® meditation in my day job as a clinical social worker at the VA for 1.5 years, I had been yearning to share the practice with friends, family, and the community as a whole. This was my moment to dive in. I coordinated with Aaron and taught my first two classes on March 17th and 24th.
iRest (short for Integrative Restoration) is a form of yoga nidra adapted by Richard Miller that is based on ancient yogic teachings and designed to bring the healing benefits and yogic and meditative practices to a wide variety of people. It moves through 10 different stages that allow space for welcoming sensations, emotions, and thoughts without judgment, helping us to create space to respond, rather than react, to circumstances in our lives.
I have witnessed the benefits of iRest in both my personal practice and the Veterans I teach: greater insight and awareness of self; decreased stress, depression, or anxiety; improved sleep and ability to navigate stressful situations or interactions. Additionally, it is a trauma sensitive practice, engaging participants in grounding in their own Inner Resource. Like a committed yoga practice, iRest can be a truly transformative practice.
One of the steps of iRest is affirming one’s Heartfelt Desire. For me, this means that I have set the intention to live each moment with compassion and to be of service. I chose for the money raised from these classes to go to the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, which is our statewide coalition whose mission is to advocate for comprehensive responses and rape crisis services for survivors, and to empower communities to prevent sexual violence. I’ve served on the Board of Directors for OAESV and couldn’t choose a better cause to support. Thanks to the generosity of class attendees, we raised $305 that will go directly toward supporting every day work to reduce sexual violence & increase support for survivors!
Through each step of planning and teaching, I witnessed a gratitude that filled my entire body. I’m not entirely sure what my next steps in teaching are, but I am grateful I was open to life’s messengers and could welcome in all the sensations, emotions, and thoughts that it brought, and I’m especially thankful to Aaron for opening the doors to his studio.