Join Mary Richards for a month-long immersion dedicated to slowing down and inviting our attention inward. This course will take us on a pratyahara journey by way of tried-and-true yoga practices to cultivate bodily and sensory awareness and reflection.
You might be surprised at how the sciences — and integrative practices like yoga — related to health and disease are evolving. As our understanding of the relationships between nerves, muscles, fascia, organs, and perception expands, we are empowered to tailor asana, pranayama, yoga nidra, and restorative yoga toward healing and wellness.
We all feel how spending time in beautiful places, real, remembered or imagined, improves our sense of wellbeing. Many of us have also experienced similar contentment on our yoga mats. We’ve also felt relief from physical pain and dysfunction, emotional hurt, social disconnection, and spiritual confusion. Research is increasingly affirming our lived experience with yoga to effectively self-manage conditions such as chronic pain, and to improve our senses of vitality, safety, and integration.
A yoga and science nerd with 30 years experience on the mat, this is where Mary comes in. With Lizzie as our guide, Mary will teach 4, 2-hour live classes using different yoga techniques for quieting the nervous system, facilitating comfortable movement, and connecting to attention and awareness. She will also share some of the research that correlate these practices with more satisfying health outcomes.
In addition to the live sessions, this course includes video tutorials of prop configurations for pranayama and restorative asana, audio recordings of yoga nidra and pranayama practices, and PDFs of the practice series shared during each of the live webinars.
Week 1: “Brain to Body, Body to Brain: Our Nerves on the Mat”
We will get the lay of land during our first session together. We will conduct an overview of major brain structures and nerves relating to somatosensory processing as well as discuss different levels of communication between the nervous system and body. Mary will share a brief review of evidence-informed yoga practices for chronic pain, anxiety, and exhaustion. Then, we will practice an asana series that applies powerful organizing principles of the neuromuscular system to create feelings of brain-body balance.
Week 2: “From Angels to Vagabonds: The Vagus Nerve’s Role in Our Perception”
We will take a grand tour of the polyvagal theory and biological functions of our nervous system. During this live webinar, we will examine how the vagus nerve, along with other structures and mechanisms, create a wide spectrum of feelings that prompt the body’s systems to turn up, turn down, and even turn off various responses. Research shows that somatic movement and breathing practices can help repattern the nervous system and restore balance. After our discussion, Mary will lead us through an asana and movement series to connect to our inner body’s wisdom. Then, we will practice 3 short, accessible pranayama to quiet anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain.
Week 3: “Rest and Repose: Restorative Yoga as Therapy”
Most of us know without a shadow of doubt that we feel better when we sleep consistently and rest regularly. Rather than relying on exhaustion-induced naps or passive diversions often mistaken for rest, we can use specific sequences of restorative yoga poses to create niches for our nervous systems to get in sync and slow down. Metaphorically and neurobiologically, restorative asana serve as a mirror that reflects how we see ourselves and others. During this session, we will practice a restorative asana series, with a gentle movement interlude, to calm a racing mind and relieve mental fog and fatigue.
Week 4: “Concentrate and Integrate: Yoga Nidra for Body, Heart, Mind, and Spirit”
Yoga Nidra is frequently described as “yogic sleep.” However, when we engage with this time-honored, science-supported practice, we are definitely not sleeping in the typical sense of the word. In fact, we are stimulating various brain wave patterns conducive to deep physical and emotional restoration and psychic repair. During this final webinar together, Mary will lead us into a 20-minute body sensing practice, followed by a 40-minute full yoga nidra protocol. We will take time before each practice to get situated comfortably. The more props you have available, the more comfort you will be able to create. Please make sure you’ve got your favorite socks and an eye cover.
When does my course access expire?
One year. We want you to feel spacious with time, so your enrollment in Deep Rest includes one full year to access to the online course materials. Our "live support" phase, however, ended on February 1st, 2021.
What is the course schedule?
This is a self-paced online course. As soon as you enroll you'll have access to all of the video/audio/PDF material.
How long does it take to complete the course?
You can expect to devote around 20 hours to completing the course material. Some students work through week by week - completing in a month. And some students move more slowly. Both are absolutely ok.
Do I need any additional materials?
You will want to have the following props: 1 sticky mat, 1 bolster, 1 eye cover, 2 blocks, and 5 firm blankets.
Can I receive Yoga Alliance credit?
Yes. At the end of the course you will receive a certificate of completion for 20 non-contact hours. After that, you can submit for continuing education credit from Yoga Alliance or equivalent organization.
What if I'm not good with computers? Or on Facebook?
No worries, this course is designed to be as easy to navigate as possible. Plus we are always here to help with technical questions via email. There is no Facebook group for this course.
What is the refund policy?
We want you to be 100% delighted with your learning experience. If for any reason, you're disappointed after the first week of the course, we will be happy to issue a full refund.