St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church


St. Bart's Blog

Benefits of Yoga Nidra

Posted by Jim Oakes on

Yoga Nidra provides tools to help you relax deeply, release stress, and increase resiliency while cultivating a sense of inner resourcefulness to support meeting everyday sensations, emotions, thoughts, and joys. iRest©, or Integrative Restoration, is a comprehensive meditation practice based on Yoga Nidra and was developed by Dr. Richard Miller, author, yogic scholar, researcher and clinical psychologist, who combined traditional yogic practice with Western psychology and neuroscience. It is practiced and taught by thousands of people worldwide in a wide range of settings, including health centers, schools, community centers, yoga studios, correctional facilities and military hospitals.

Based on current studies with iRest in the military, the Defense Centers of Excellence has approved iRest as a Complementary and Alternative Medicine warranting continuing research for its use in the treatment of PTSD. In addition, the U.S. Army Surgeon General has listed Yoga Nidra (based on research with iRest) as a Tier 1 approach for addressing Pain Management in Military Care. iRest has been shown to be effective in scientific trials for conditions including chronic pain, sleep problems, depression and anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When practiced regularly - little and often - iRest enables you to meet each moment of your life with unshakable peace and wellbeing, no matter how challenging or difficult your situation.

iRest is a guided meditation that can be done either seated or lying on a mat and is perfect for beginners to meditation as well as advanced practitioners who may be looking for a way through periods of feeling stuck or lost in their current meditation practice. The iRest protocol allows each student to focus on areas that are specific to their interests and situation, supporting them to experience rest and relaxation for the body and mind. iRest is simple to learn and easy to practice. It can be practiced by anyone, regardless of physical ability or experience with meditation. Once learned, iRest becomes a set of tools for life.

Yoga Nidra Preparation Recommendations:

  • Find a comfortable, quiet place where you can be peaceful for up to an hour- you can practice in a chair, in bed, on a yoga mat with props to support you and a blanket to keep you warm
  • Dress in comfortable clothes and set-up your space with any other atmospheric elements that support your practice
  • That’s it, aside from coming to your practice with and open-hearted curiosity!

St. Bartholomew’s parishioner Jim Oakes is offering a series of free weekly Yoga Nidra practices via Zoom on Fridays at 5 p.m. This 40-minute guided meditation supports uncovering the peace of mind which is always present amidst life's changing circumstances, and is especially grounding during these times of physical distancing. Each session includes some time to chat, share your questions and perspectives, followed by a guided meditation practice and a closing opportunity to talk or to continue to stay in your practice and log off. These practices are free to all and you are invited to extend the invitation to your wider community. No meditation experience is necessary and ALL ARE WELCOME!