iRest: Integrative Restoration Yoga Nidra for Deep Relaxation

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Path to peace In a time of increasing chaos, the guided journeys back from the abyss shared in this series of lectures provides just what is needed to regain or sustain our fragile mental health. Interestingly the closer we get to, and the longer we stay on the event horizon of societies black holes, the harder it becomes to follow a path back into the light. But for those willing to stay the course, peace will find its way back in.
Date published: 2020-08-22
Rated 1 out of 5 by from i rest yoga nidra It is a little early to write a review. I haven't even received the course yet.
Date published: 2020-08-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This course changed my life. I started the course in January 2019, and have used the practice sessions pretty much daily ever since. I've meditated most of my life, but what I found in iRest Yoga Nidra is a deeper understanding of trauma and recovery, and finding a place of safety and peace within myself. This has enhanced my personal journey and helped me in my treatment of PTS due to child abuse. One anecdote from the class I greatly appreciated is Professor Birkholm's description of teaching a class to a group of veterans. One shouted at her, "I'm not relaxed!' In that, she relates how she realizes that the objective is to come to the practice as we are, and not to force it. It wasn't until she related that story that I realized I'd been using my meditation practice to try and "be" relaxed, rather than "be with myself as I am;" as a consequence, I *wasn't* relaxed. It wasn't until I started practicing iRest Yoga Nidra that I've been able to truly relax and sleep better. I'm still learning a lot from the course even today, more than 18 months later. I have recommended it to my friends and to students in my artist's way clusters. This is truly one of my favorite courses on The Great Courses.
Date published: 2020-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellant Great instructor and very informative. I started using Yoga Nidra in my daily life and it's amazing.
Date published: 2020-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Find peace in these troubled times I found this course to be very informative and helpful. Today’s worries about Coronavirus have caused many of us to feel anxious or depressed. This course shows clearly how we can feel better, and have a more positive outlook on life, with greater compassion for ourselves and others. In addition to detailed descriptions of how to practice iRest, it deals with our values and heartfelt desires. Chapters deal with practical benefits - improving sleep, dealing with pain, physical or psychological. Molly is very clear in her message. I have watched these lectures through several times. Thank you for this wonderful, helpful course!
Date published: 2020-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well Worth the Time My wife uses iRest in her counseling practice and I use it as well. But listening to the development and full range of applications provided much greater insight. Molly has a wonderful presence and enthusiasm that makes listening and watching joyful. Understanding the roots and science behind iRest has been enriching.
Date published: 2020-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellent course Very interesting and helpful. It has improved my sleep and overall emotional health. Different from other meditation courses.
Date published: 2019-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very helpful in life I purchased this course almost a year ago, and have been working on it since. There is no doubt, that meditation is a very good and useful tool to improve one’s life. However, I struggle with it. Hence I will separate the review in two parts. First, I want to consider the fairly objective facts. The course has 24 lectures, which is the right amount for an introduction (2 lessons), to cover the ten steps of the Yoga Nidra process in a theoretical lesson and then a practice (16 lessons), focusing on the use of iRest for particular situations (4 lessons), and to wrap up the course (2 lessons). It is well structured and each lesson has the right length. Molly Birkholm is obviously very experienced in the matter and that shows in a presentation very well done with hardly any slip of tongue. While I have heard guided meditations with voices that I have found more soothing and liked better than hers, I still think that her voice is well suited and pleasant. The only thing I did not like during the practice sessions was that she kept giving examples for an Inner Resource, even in later practices. I can understand the help to find one at the beginning, but it became annoying after a while, especially when examples were given that I do not associate with a place of calm and comfort at all. The ten steps of Yoga Nidra make sense. One goes from finding a suitable setting for the meditation, where one feels comfortable, into setting an intention and a heartfelt desire, and on to explore oneself step by step from the outer layer (the body, the breath) to the inner layers (feelings, emotions, beliefs), trying eventually to find a state of peace that is separate and non-changing and unaffected by the rest. Now to my more subjective part of the review. My biggest problem with meditation attempts is that the state of physical relaxation easily makes me fall asleep, and thus I am not practicing as often as would be necessary to achieve best results. I am quite certain that when I bought the course, the description of it was different and raised the hope that this kind of meditation could even work when one falls asleep. The issue is clarified in lecture 2 of the course: "While there can still be some benefits when falling asleep, wakefulness is necessary to work with challenging emotions or to explore deep states of meditation." Thus I have not achieved the benefits that the course promises quite yet. However, the course gave me enough understand and help to deal with difficult situations better than before. For example, anger management is difficult for me at times. Through the course I learnt to experience opposites, and when I get angry I try to remember the lectures and the exploration of the opposite (in this case peace), and that oftentimes brings me back into balance. I also lost my dad not long ago, and Yoga Nidra helped me to accept the grieving process I was going through. Another aspect I like is that one sets an intention for each session, and reaching a state of peace is a well worth goal, even if I often fall asleep before I mentally get there. So overall, it is a course that I would recommend and find very helpful in life, even if I have not been able to fully implement it in my own daily life.
Date published: 2019-09-30
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iRest: Integrative Restoration Yoga Nidra for Deep Relaxation
Course Trailer
Introducing iRest Yoga Nidra
1: Introducing iRest Yoga Nidra

One of the most important principles in iRest is that of welcoming: inviting you to explore whatever arises as a part of your human experience. Begin your journey with a look at how stress affects the body, the roots of yoga nidra, and the 10 steps of iRest you’ll practice throughout the course.

38 min
iRest Foundations: Philosophy and Practice
2: iRest Foundations: Philosophy and Practice

Take a closer look at the foundations of iRest from philosophical and practical perspectives. What texts and teachings form the basis of yoga nidra? How do you set up the right practice space? What time of day is the best time to practice iRest? Is it OK to fall asleep during your practice?

33 min
Creating an Inner Resource
3: Creating an Inner Resource

Your Inner Resource is a haven of peace and serenity—a felt sense of well-being deeply rooted inside your body. In this lecture, Ms. Birkholm shows you how to cultivate and connect with your Inner Resource, which is one of the most essential parts of your iRest practice.

33 min
iRest Practice: Inner Resource
4: iRest Practice: Inner Resource

Start tapping into your personal Inner Resource. Join several other students as Ms. Birkholm guides you through a helpful session designed to help you develop an internal experience of well-being that can help you transition from the anxieties of your outside life to the calm of your meditation practice.

39 min
The Power of Intention and Heartfelt Desire
5: The Power of Intention and Heartfelt Desire

Two tools you can use to live as your best self (however you define that) are intention and heartfelt desire. Explore these second and third steps of iRest Yoga Nidra as a way to move closer to reconnecting with your true self and living the life you want most.

33 min
iRest Practice: Intention
6: iRest Practice: Intention

Explore your intention and heartfelt desire in this extended iRest practice session. By identifying them at the start of the practice, putting them away, and returning to them again at the conclusion of your practice, you’ll perhaps experience these two aspects of iRest Yoga Nidra in entirely different ways.

33 min
Learning to Listen to Your Body
7: Learning to Listen to Your Body

Learn how to think of your body as a symphony of sensations and signals. After a brief overview of the different layers of consciousness in iRest, focus on the first: the physical body. Benefits of attuning yourself to your body include heightened sensory awareness and pointers into your true nature.

33 min
iRest Practice: Body Sensing
8: iRest Practice: Body Sensing

Practice allowing yourself to receive the different messages your body’s trying to send you. As a way to help you explore your body more deeply (and to gauge some of its benefits), this iRest practice session invites you to continually tense and relax your body (physically or mentally).

31 min
Exploring the Power of the Breath
9: Exploring the Power of the Breath

Ms. Birkholm reveals what your breath can tell you about your health and peace of mind. Start by learning the yogic and scientific perspectives on breathing. Then, turn to breathing exercise techniques you can incorporate into your iRest practice, including breath counting, Ferris wheel breath, and alternate nostril breathing.

33 min
iRest Practice: Breath Sensing
10: iRest Practice: Breath Sensing

The focus of this practice session is on a deep meditation using the principles of breath sensing you learned in the previous lecture. Join several other students and see some of the ways sensing and controlling your breath can influence your physical and mental experience during your practice.

35 min
Feelings and Emotions as Messengers
11: Feelings and Emotions as Messengers

Another step of the iRest protocol is thinking of your feelings and emotions as “messengers” that tell you how your body and mind are experiencing the world. Learn to differentiate between feelings and emotions, examine the entire spectrum of emotions, and learn to work with opposite emotions.

30 min
iRest Practice: Feelings and Emotions
12: iRest Practice: Feelings and Emotions

Put the previous lecture’s principles, strategies, and insights to use in a helpful meditative experience led by Ms. Birkholm. Welcome different emotions and feelings into your body—whichever ones happen to arise during your iRest Yoga Nidra practice—as if they were simply visitors in your home.

34 min
Finding Deeper Wisdom in Your Beliefs
13: Finding Deeper Wisdom in Your Beliefs

In this lecture, Ms. Birkholm shares proactive tools for what you can do when you feel limited by your thoughts. You’ll encounter the fundamentals of cognition, the Laws of Opposites and Awareness, and the five kanchukas (or thoughts) that can be found at the root of all human suffering.

31 min
iRest Practice: Beliefs
14: iRest Practice: Beliefs

Get better acquainted with some of the beliefs you have as a way to become more aware and accepting of your whole experience. Through this helpful iRest practice session, you’ll explore ways to use your thoughts and beliefs to direct you toward creating the life you want to lead.

35 min
Discovering Uncaused Joy
15: Discovering Uncaused Joy

In this lecture, learn ways you can live in a joyous equanimity that exists independent of objects. Through methods including the “three blessings” (writing down three things that went well and why) and “day’s reviews” (reflecting on unfinished events), better realize the ever-present joy in your life.

35 min
iRest Practice: Joyful Well-Being
16: iRest Practice: Joyful Well-Being

How can you better open yourself up to experience peace? It starts with this iRest Yoga Nidra practice session designed to help you cultivate joy. Join Ms. Birkholm and several other students as you, together, tap into the power of the anandamaya kosha stage of iRest.

34 min
Cultivating Awareness
17: Cultivating Awareness

Turn to the goal of iRest practice: cultivating awareness. Feel into the “I-thought” the same way you do your breathing. Take a closer look at the continuum of awareness, which stretches from your perception of the self as separate to pure awareness, in which all sense of self dissolves.

34 min
iRest Practice: Awareness and Peace
18: iRest Practice: Awareness and Peace

In this illuminating iRest practice session, you and several other students will take time to explore what it’s like to move into witnessing awareness and come closer to fully embodying enlightenment and deep connection in your life. How far along the continuum of awareness can you move?

41 min
Using iRest for Sleep
19: Using iRest for Sleep

Focus on something Ms. Birkholm takes extremely seriously: sleep. First, get tips on turning your bedroom into a sanctuary for sleep. Then, learn two important techniques to help you get a restful night’s sleep, and cap it with a brief practice session designed to help you fall asleep.

33 min
Using iRest for Pain Relief
20: Using iRest for Pain Relief

Walk through the 10 steps of the iRest protocol as they pertain to dealing with chronic pain, whether it’s physical (a car accident) or emotional (the loss of a job). Ms. Birkholm shows that, in order to manage pain, you need to approach it from multiple angles.

35 min
Using iRest for Stress Management
21: Using iRest for Stress Management

The key to overcoming anxiety, as you’ll learn here, is by becoming a source of connection, strength, and resiliency. And this is where iRest plays a critical role. To give you a taste of this, Ms. Birkholm includes a short iRest practice session designed to help you tackle stress.

36 min
Using iRest for Healing Trauma
22: Using iRest for Healing Trauma

Move beyond life’s ordinary stressors to look at how iRest can help heal major trauma in your life. Start by going over the basics of how trauma affects the body and mind. Then, examine how you can use iRest principles to integrate your experiences and counteract their traumatic effects.

38 min
The Science behind iRest Yoga Nidra
23: The Science behind iRest Yoga Nidra

What about iRest Yoga Nidra makes it effective? It’s all rooted in the scientific research that supports the practice of iRest and illustrates how and why meditation is so healing. Take a closer look at how the five components of mindfulness—including intention and disidentification—work together.

37 min
iRest Yoga Nidra for Everyday Life
24: iRest Yoga Nidra for Everyday Life

Conclude the course with a lecture on the tenth step of iRest, during which you come back to life in deep connection with a deep sense of peace. Enjoy a lasting feeling of empowerment at how iRest can help you become the fullest expression of your true self.

42 min
Molly Birkholm

Think of yoga nidra as a filing system for your mind that guides you through an experience of your body; breath; and any feelings, emotions, or beliefs that may be present. It then gently leads you into deeper states of mindful awareness and stillness.

ALMA MATER

iRest Institute

INSTITUTION

iRest Institute

About Molly Birkholm

Molly Birkholm is a trauma specialist and iRest® trainer affiliated with the iRest Institute; a cofounder of Warriors at Ease; and the CEO of Molly Birkholm, Inc. As a yoga and meditation teacher and trainer, professional speaker, consultant, and writer, she inspires others to create meaningful life changes using research-based yoga and mindfulness meditation techniques. A featured teacher for Yoga International and the host of a year-long, online course called Women’s Empowerment Initiative, Ms. Birkholm has spent extended time living in ashrams and monasteries in India and Bhutan, where she studied yoga, meditation, Sanskrit, and Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. In addition to her training in iRest® Yoga Nidra, Ms. Birkholm has also completed the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre Advanced Teachers’ Training Course. As a cofounder of Warriors at Ease, Ms. Birkholm helped pioneer evidence-based, trauma-sensitive yoga and meditation programs for people with post-traumatic stress disorder in the military and other communities affected by trauma. She has conducted innovative clinical research with the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense, and her stress management and trauma treatment programs are shared with leaders and top organizations around the world, including the U.S. Department of Defense, McKinsey & Company, JPMorgan Chase, and the Young Presidents’ Organization.

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