After a year and a half of practicing iRest, last month I finally found my way to the Level 1 Teacher in training program on the Gold Coast.  Suffice to say the alluring warm beaches and sand was one of the many draw-cards, it was the words of a friend which convinced me to make the journey up north to see what this iRest was all about.

Winding the clock back, 18 months prior, when this same friend handed me Richard Millers book and CD to read… My first reaction was;
“iRest?, like iPhone, iPad, iPod?….. burk!!!”
I immediately kicked at the thought, but also took note of this ‘kick’ – a small inability to be open to other ‘schools of thought’, other methods and techniques for relaxing the body.  Considering my long winding journey through many eastern schools of thought, to suddenly witness my own barriers & prejudices to a name, was an enlightening moment in itself.

So… I started reading the book and using the CD to practice this technique.  For 3 months I found myself doing the 35-45 minute practice twice a day, and like peeling an old onion, I felt old unneeded layers of ‘skin’ & defences beginning to drop away.

Words are never enough to explain felt senses, or experiences but it was as if veils that were skewing my vision of self and others were beginning to lift and my sight was getting clearer by the day.  And by saying this I don’t mean to sound like I had some huge ‘spiritual experience’… But quite the opposite… I began to feel more ‘ME’… more ‘WHOLE’… more ‘FULL’… yet more ‘CLEAR & OPEN’… more human and at the crux of it… more IN MY BODY…. not the ‘walking/talking headed white person’, that the native American aboriginals labelled Columbus et al who seized the Americas.

The course itself was like a 24/7 meditation retreat for me.  Waking early at 5.30/6am I would immediately put a pair of boardies on (or my european short shorts, if the mood took me) and walk across the road to the beach.  Swim in the ‘human washing machine’ that is the ocean, and head back for shower, breakfast and a scenic 30 minute walk, along the beach, to the community centre for the course.  Lunch time I would take the 90 minutes to swim, yet again, then return to continue through to 6pm at the end of the course day.  I would then take my evening swim from 6.30pm to sunset and walk back to my apartment, eat, sit, read and drift off to sleep… Or as the week went on… Lay and do iRest consciously – body sleeping yet my mind aware of the sleeping state, feeling wide awake yet totally at rest.

The practice itself is one of guided meditative relaxation and can be done in whatever position you like; sitting, standing, laying, leaning… At times you will fall asleep, sometimes you will remain totally awake.  Ideally being conscious for the practice is the ideal, however your sub-conscious will still take in and process all that is said.  True understanding comes in the conscious awareness of experiencing the felt sensations and the teachings that they bring to the surface of your consciousness.

This practice has been fully researched and has had so much success, that it is used in the US Army hospitals for return Veterans who are suffering with PTSD, Trauma, depression, substance addiction, relationship & family difficulties due to their ‘tours of duty’.  To hear one returned veteran say he is speaking to his ex-wife for the first time in 15 years and his kids, is testament to the power of the practice and the transformation and healing effects it has on all who practice it.  One very young man (still in his late teens) who served overseas, spoke to camera and said how he wouldn’t be alive, if it weren’t for iRest (he was heading down a path of self-annihilation) due to the horrors of war he experienced.

To use Richard Millers words;

In 5-10 minutes we can introduce everyone to their true nature… that doesn’t need to think, doesn’t need to know anything or do anything, a timeless, infinitely spacious, omnipresent, already perfect space of being.

You find that there is nothing that needs to change, nothing that is needed to fix… It introduces people to their health well-being perfection… Timeless being.

From here, knowing this sense of timeless being, you can then work back & begin to talk about, from a more dis-identified space, things that may need to be fixed, thinking that may be outdated & challenge those deep core beliefs we have about ourselves from our conditioned experiences in life.  Knowing that we can return to this spaciousness, this already perfect space of being, at any time… It is always there… There is nothing we need to do but stop and be…

When you get people to experience being the observer of everything they are feeling & experiencing it can be quite an extraordinary experience… it moves them into this deep sense of well-being… Understanding that they are more than their thoughts, their beliefs, their body.

As mentioned this has all been researched with many case studies and I am now working elements into my classes at the Drug & Alcohol withdrawal units, the teenage prison and will overtime introduce it as an entire practice at the end of the yoga hatha classes I teach.  It is a practice that can obviously be done on it’s own.  And I hope to expand my classes to include this incredible tool & practice to help others for whatever they need the practice for.  It’s applications are vast.  So vast in fact that for me I did the training more for my own benefit.  And still do the practice at least 2 times a day, sometimes in the middle of the night if I wake.

You can read more here on iRest and it’s applications and get in touch if you’d like more information or a session in this amazing practice.

The picture of the Nautilis shell is the shell I pulled from the Gold Coast seabed, on one of my 6am morning swims – It is in perfect condition and as I was told by a couple who ran up to me, as I trudged my way out of the water, aka James Bond in Casino Royale, ‘This is so rare to find a shell in mint condition and a nautilis shell on the Gold Coast?  Even rarer’… Truly blessed and humbled!