YogaHub’s Interview with Jennifer Reis on Yoga Nidra

Francesca Silva
1. What made you choose to focus your practice on Yoga Nidra?

The dean of yoga at Kripalu Center invited me to teach a Yoga Nidra workshop as part of our curriculum. I began intensive practice and study of Yoga Nidra and soon realized that it’s the practice that everyone needs right now. Not only are there incredible health benefits because your body comes into its healing state, but it is a serious path of awakening. Students began asking me “Where is your Yoga Nidra CD? I would like yours”. So I recorded Guided Relaxation: Yoga Nidra.

[post-img]2. Can you take us through your journey from student to teacher?

I meditated as a child, not realizing it had a name. I remember distinctly the moment – I was eight years old – when I understood I was doing something, and it seemed no one else was. I did not want to seem strange, so I practiced only when I was alone, even though it seemed so natural a thing to do. I would let my eyes flow and trace around objects, shape and shadow – something like mandala meditation – and become very present and calm.[tip-fact]

In high school, we were taught how to draw by letting our eyes do the very same thing I had been doing my whole life, only now we were moving a pencil on paper at the speed that our eyes moved on the object. I loved it; I studied art, practicing and exhibiting in Canada and Massachusetts.

I also loved going to yoga classes and in 1996 I decided that I wanted to know more. I did yoga teacher training at Kripalu because spending a month doing yoga seemed like a good way to deepen my practice, although I had no intention of teaching. After the training, I sat for a 10-day meditation retreat in silence. Then I returned to Toronto, taught one class to try it out – and suddenly had 13 classes offered to me! I realized how much I loved sharing what I love to do with others, and at the same time I would get to spend more time in that space. What a blessing!

3. How many years have you been teaching?

14 years.

4. Please share with us the principles and benefits of Yoga Nidra.

Yoga Nidra is a guided journey through each level of being called the koshas: physical, energetic, mental/emotional, witness/intuitive and bliss layers. Beyond these layers lie our true Self. Yoga Nidra is a peaceful and easy way to have a visceral experience of each kosha and true Self so that we identify less with our body, emotions and thoughts, and live life more from an authentic place of witness and true Self. Yoga Nidra brings us into the relaxation response mode where our body heals itself. This practice is very restful, restorative and has the potential for incredible transformation in our lives.[b-quote]

Benefits of Yoga Nidra:

  • inner peace;
  • stress prevention;
  • health and wellness;
  • illness prevention;
  • improved sleep at night;
  • lowers high blood pressure and cholesterol;
  • brings us into state where body heals and repairs itself;
  • ability to live life more fully;
  • develop facility to experience deeper Self.

5. At this moment in your life, what is your vision and passion with regard to Yoga Nidra?

I continue to practice Yoga Nidra, live life fully and authentically and, through that, bring my experiences into guiding Yoga Nidra. I lead Yoga and Deep Relaxation retreats, and Yoga Nidra Teacher Training: Melt Them into Puddles, at Kripalu, yoga studios, and as part of yoga teacher trainings, to bring this powerful practice out to our larger community who are so in need of turning inward to rest and heal. Yoga Nidra is very appealing to many more people than most forms of yoga since all that is required is to lie down and listen.

6. How do you incorporate practice of Yoga Nidra into your own life?

It is a practice I enjoy daily. Additionally, while I lead Yoga Nidra several times a week, I am doing the practice – I also create intention, flow through feeling body parts in the scan, and so on. I have had the most amazing experiences, with healing images and symbols coming to me at that time. I feel so open – an open vessel really – and I sit back and watch miracles pass through the room and me. These miracles are always surrounding us here, but it is wonderful to be able to be in the state to consciously witness them.

7. Would consider teaching the first Virtual Yoga Nidra Workshop with YogaHub?

I think I already have during the conference, and would love to do another. It is a form of yoga that lends itself to Virtual space.

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