For the past several months, I have been doing Yoga Nidra meditations to access a deeper calm, still my mind, and simply relax. When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived here in the U.S., I started leaning into the Yoga Nidra guided meditation practice on a daily basis. It has been an incredibly powerful balm for my anxiety and inner unrest.
My dear friend and colleague, holistic psychologist Dr. Caitlin Clarke, is trained in and offers a style of this practice called iRest Yoga Nidra. In this guest blog post, Caitlin has graciously shared the story of how she first connected with iRest Yoga Nidra and the powerful impact it has had on her life. Scroll down for details on Caitlin’s free weekly Facebook Live iRest Yoga Nidra guided meditation offering.
Remembering Our Light with iRest Yoga Nidra
A Guest Blog Post from Dr. Caitlin Clarke, Holistic Psychologist
My older brother passed away when I was 31. It remains to be seen how far the remnants of his death have reverberated into the reaches of my being. Coming across an old photo of an event he attended still sends a searing pain of sorrow through my chest. His image doesn’t even need to be in the photo, just the memory of him being there can be enough to make me steer clear of it to avoid the pain.
Blessedly, within a year of his passing my work sent me to a retreat to be trained in a meditation called iRest Yoga Nidra. iRest is the modern-day version of the ancient meditation practice of Yoga Nidra. Developed and standardized by Clinical Psychologist, Richard Miller, PhD, iRest has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, substance abuse, chronic pain, facilitate healing from trauma, and, most importantly in my opinion, connect us to our true sense of self.
I had been exposed to iRest years before while on internship and remembered the experience being very unlike other contemplative practices. During iRest meditation I often fell out of consciousness, not quite awake or asleep. And when I came out I felt totally refreshed, like I had taken a 3-hour nap over the course of 30 minutes. Anecdotally, many people share this same experience.
The iRest training retreat was a week-long deep-dive into healing on all levels of the body, mind, and spirit.
While the nature of the mind is to act to protect us from pain at all costs, I learned in this training that true healing requires us to fully and courageously move toward pain. Pain itself was an invitation to healing.
I also learned, what I intuitively knew all along, that I was already ok. My internal experiences (thoughts, beliefs, emotions, sensations) related to my brother’s death, as well as those related to other trauma and losses I have gone through in my life, were covering up this knowing. It was my beliefs and habitual urges to avoid the pain that were working to darken the light that was already burning inside of me. The light of wholeness, health, and well-being.
The practice of iRest helps us remember our light.
iRest helps us reconnect to the deep heart-based knowing of our innate inner vibrancy and strength to meet any challenge with curiosity and openness. And this can be applied to the home Purification process when we meet an object that sends our mind spinning away from the pain or fear that arises. Recently, when I came across a pair of earrings my brother had gifted to me years before his passing, I could meet the knot in my stomach and pressure behind my eyes with compassion. And I could acknowledge an even deeper thought… I really didn’t like these earrings! For years I had felt compelled out of something like guilt to keep them. With the dawning of this awareness, and with tears flooding my eyes, a space opened up and I heard his voice… “It’s ok to let them go.”
In the past five years since my training, I have witnessed some of the most profound shifts in myself and within my clients using iRest approaches, especially when we were really stuck. iRest combined with Reiki has become the foundation of my approach for healing and supporting people to live an easeful and authentic life through my work as a Holistic Psychologist. So it was no surprise when the pandemic reached our shores here in the US last month, that I felt a deep resonance to begin offering iRest for the community at large.
Free Weekly iRest Yoga Nidra on Facebook Live
Every Wednesday for the foreseeable future, I will hold space for all of us to gather together to remember our light, to replenish our resilience, and to cultivate healing energy for our world. No need to register. It is completely free and open to all who wish to join me. Simply visit my Facebook page @drcaitlinclarke where I go Live for this 30-minute guided meditation experience every Wednesday at 12:30pm EST.
This is my gift to you. From myself, and my brother. It is a deep honor to share it with you.
Dr. Caitlin Clarke, PhD, is a Holistic Psychologist who helps people live a life that feels authentic, vibrant, and joyful. With certifications in yoga, iRest Yoga Nidra meditation, and Reiki, she blends western psychology and eastern spiritual and healing practices to help her clients reconnect with what matters most. She specializes in working with highly sensitive professionals and fellow healers to find balance and ease and reclaim meaning in their lives.