The Experience of Interconnected Wholeness
I enjoyed the experience of resting in my meditative heart this weekend through the practice of Yoga Nidra .
Two excellent things came out of this experience:
1. I found it very restful. Very.
2. And, I realised that the experience is as near to you as your heart is. In other words, it’s available almost any time.
I was fortunate to be able to attend a day-long workshop in North Sydney led by Dr. Richard C. Miller, sponsored by The Yoga Institute. How could I pass up a workshop entitled ‘Discover Your Interconnected Wholeness’? The topic was Yoga Nidra, presented in the unique form that Richard has been developing over many years called iRest.
I’ve been hanging out to meet Richard since the 90’s when I stumbled on his cassette recordings at the old Adyar Bookshop. (You young people can Google ‘cassettes’ and ‘bookstores’ if you are wondering what I’m talking about.)
Richard’s Yoga Nidra recordings were invaluable tools for me when I was suffering from the pains of hip arthritis. I needed meditation badly, and didn’t even know I did until I encountered his recordings.
Richard didn’t waste any time in introducing the 71 attendees to the joys of Yoga Nidra. Within 30 minutes, he was facilitating us dropping in Being. My sceptical self is a bit nervous about describing this phenomenon because I’m not sure I can define it. Suffice it to say we were, I’m guessing for the most part, practising Being.
Remarkably, Richard does this sort of facilitation in the U.S. with special populations: groups of war veterans, homeless people, those with chemical dependencies, youth at risk, as well as with yogis.
If you are unfamiliar with the practice of Yoga Nidra, I can give you my spin on it; it comes from my own experience. Take the best of savasana, that beautiful fragrance of utter relaxation, and then cultivate that state for your personal growth.
How is it done? Through the practice of opening up to thoughts, emotions and physical experiences that you would normally avoid. By letting go of resistance and even welcoming what you have formerly conditioned yourself to shun, you allow yourself to drop into your meditative heart.
Too simple? Well, yes and no. It depends on what sort of resistance you’re facing: the sound a jackhammer in the street or an abusive spouse? A disobedient puppy or a job that you hate?
Richard passed on some great suggestions. He asked us to imagine inviting in the very thing that causes us discomfort, and to do it in the open-hearted way that we might invite a guest into our home. We might then see this guest as a messenger and be curious to find out what message is being delivered. He says in his book on Yoga Nidra:
Sometimes discomfort simply wants to whisper something in your ear and then on it’s way.
Yoga Nidra is a path of welcoming anything and everything that life brings to you.
What I’ve noticed is that in the practice of this ancient art, I receive blessings – a feeling of spaciousness, peace of mind and clarity, for instance. Yoga Nidra is a direct path to discovering or uncovering one’s Being.
The best news is that dropping into the meditative heart isn’t just a happening on your yoga mat or your zafu cushion. You can happen it in the blink of an eye.
As a matter of fact, it’s here for us now.
Richard delivered the goods. By the end of the day, I’d had many profound experiences of connection with others and myself. Quite magical, but simultaneously real.