When you’re feeling off balance in life, it’s all too easy to look for solutions in the obvious places. Feeling anxious and having trouble winding down? Maybe a glass of wine. Low energy or poor focus? Another coffee.
Or if you’re on a slightly healthier path, you might ask “am I eating right?”, or “do I need to get more steps in?”, or “do I need to practice more gratitude?”
One critical area we often overlook is our ability to rest. When it comes to health, rest is just as important as regular exercise, a balanced diet, even sleep.
If you’re thinking that you need to lose weight, drink less or get more exercise this New Year, rest is the one thing that will make it all far easier, by improving your vitality and boosting your resilience.
Join Mary Richards and Lizzie Lasater 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.
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.
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.
Learn the Science
Mary Richards is not just a certified yoga therapist with 30 years experience on the mat, she is a hardcore science nerd. Every week of the course, she will share some of the insightful research that correlates these practices with more satisfying health outcomes, and somehow manages to make it fun!
Do the Practice
With Lizzie as our guide, Mary will teach weekly 2-hour live classes (four Thursdays in January 2022: the 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th) using different yoga techniques for quieting the nervous system, facilitating comfortable movement, and connecting to attention and awareness.
Explore the Nuances
In addition to the live webinar sessions, this course includes video tutorials of prop configurations for pranayama and restorative asana, audio recordings of yoga nidra and pranayama practices, and PDFs cheat sheets of the somatic practice series.
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.
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 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.