If you have tried yoga nidra, you have most likely heard of Richard Miller, and may even recognize his voice. Richard has practiced, studied, taught and researched yoga nidra for more than forty years. His work brings stress relief, chronic pain relief and better sleep to many people including veterans where there has been exceptionally good results and great proof of the benefits.
Richard is the Founder, Executive Director and President of the Board of Directors of the Integrative Restoration Institute. Richard Miller; Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, author, researcher, yogic scholar and spiritual teacher. Richard Miller has devoted his life and work to integrating the nondual wisdom teachings of Yoga, Tantra, Advaita, Taoism and Buddhism with Western psychology. Among his mentors were Jean Klein, T.K.V. Desikachar and Stephen Chang. Richard is the founding president and CEO of the Integrative Restoration Institute, co-founder of The International Association of Yoga Therapy and founding editor of the professional Journal of IAYT.
Outline of what we discuss in this podcast
Personal history in yoga, yogic path, clinical phycologist. Path to yoga nidra.
- Attended a yoga class in San Francisco in 1970 that included yoga nidra and experienced a profound sense of peace and connectedness. Resolved to better understand his experience.
How does yoga nidra/iRest work scientifically?
- Sleep – Explanation of the science behind the restorative deep rest found in iRest. Sleep research -175 people in a clinical program to assess yoga nidra versus other sleep aids.
- Calms the nervous system.
- Yoga nidra – helps to take negative cyclical thoughts offline (worry, guilt, anxiety) out of the sleep cycle. Thoughts quiet down.
- Pain management
- Interrupt pain signals.
- Meet the pain as a sensation and remove the label. And then work at the level of the sensation.
Yoga nidra = iRest
Richard Miller was asked to re-name yoga nidra because the military was interested in offering yoga nidra but the name had a stigma. Richard created the name Integrative Restoration or iRest.
After subsequent great success and research results, yoga nidra is now part of the name!
10 Tools of iRest – Introduction – Insights about building a practice – Scientific basis
- Affirming your heartfelt mission – What is the deepest intention for your life? Looking back at your life what are the principles that make you feel happy and satisfied (completed the mission).
- Affirming your intention – inner statements to fulfill the heartfelt mission (daily intentions): Better sleep, stress reduction, a better relationship, better communication.
- Forgetting and remembering.
- Welcoming what is.
- Recognizing your “negativity bias.”
- Affirming your inner resource – Insight on how to discover your inner resource as a feeling of constant well-being – how do we put this natural resource in place – Inner resilience against negative experiences – place to go back to & rest deeply – insight on how to understand and use it.
- Find a safe place to fall back, time-out, rest.
- Imagine a time when you felt a sense of ease, peace and well-being. How did it feel? Let the image go and keep the feeling.
- Inner resource – develops value, meaning and purpose as an inate quality that we carry with us. Not hinged on what is going on in life. A resource always there.
- Visualization – Practice in small increments. Activate, take the time to activate and cultivate an inner resource. Eventually, it will stay with you as a real and permanent resource.
- Practicing Bodysensing – you can’t feel your body and think about it at the same time.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation.
- Relaxation response.
- Bodysensing helps people to get out of the “default network” or thinking pattern that may be too negative or unhealthy.
- Practicing Breathsensing
- Sinus arrhythmia – Healthy people the exhale is longer than the inhalation.
- Stress will cause people to go into thinking. Simple breathing and and bodysensing interrupts this pattern.
- Welcoming Opposites of Feelings and Emotions – messengers – feedback
- Focusing and defocusing.
- Welcoming Opposites of Thought – Opposites are two complimentary parts that rise within a field of wholeness. Welcome self-compassion with self-criticism.
- Welcoming opposites and holding both, inviting both improves our ability to handle an extreme of either. Bring in the opposite through memory, feeling or visualization. Back and forth carefully. When we hold one side the mind tends to be too active. When holding both, the mind relaxes and thinks less because the mind is not getting hung up on either extreme.
- Welcoming Joy and Well-Being.
- Experience Being Awareness – Opens you up to experiencing an indestructible sense of well-being and non-separate wholeness with all life. Ultimate inner resource.
- Take perspective and observe changing states and then move to and navigate difficult situations. Importantly with practice the awareness and well-being begin to arise spontaneously.
- Experience Your wholeness – A unique individual connected to the wholeness of life – observe the changing states – being is a felt sense of presence that you are aware of. Being everywhere and nowhere.
- Learn to be welcoming
- Stop judging yourself
- Know everything is a messenger
- Accept what is
- Know that you are always doing your best
- Understand the law of awareness
- Discover your non-separate wholeness
- Practice little and often
Yoga nidra/iRest are Benefiting a variety of groups including: Veterans, people with trauma (human trafficking) and chronic pain, students and homeless people.
Richard Miller’s website is www.irest.us
- Book – The iRest Program for Healing PTSD. A 42 audio meditation practices that accompany the book as a separate offering.
- 6 CD course: The Ease of Being – Just Say Yes : A Personal Retreat with Richard Miller. 26 audio meditation practices are another way to learn.
- 1, 2, and 3 day workshops. Personal Practice immersions
- Training to learn the practice and/or be certified
- Retreats: 4-10 day intensives to learn the depth of these practices on many levels
Richard describes his personal practice – Asana practice for body strength and mobility, pranayama and yoga nidra. Richard explains that his practice has evolved to be with him throughout the day, and he describes a sense of how his yoga practice will come to him as he moves through his daily activities.
Richard Miller talks about the future of yoga
- Doctors are adopting yoga. Practicing yoga with their patients.
- Insurance companies are beginning to recognize yoga as treatment.
- Veterans are now asking for iRest.
- More people will continue to see yoga as adjunctive and in support of our personal religious beliefs and philosophies.