Kirsten Guest first came to iRest to manage unexpected chaos in her own life. Twenty years later, she's not only teaching iRest, but serves as the organization's Director of Certification, helping potential trainers get the tools they need to share the iRest mission. Learn what drives Kirsten to spread the ease and bliss of this powerful practice.
What brought you to iRest?
I was drawn to a retreat with Richard Miller entitled "Retreat into Stillness". I was absorbed in the chaos of life and this sounded like a wonderful break. Although I had been a student of yoga for many years, I had never learned much about meditation. I was curious, but a complete newbie.
The practices, although unfamiliar, were intriguing. The instructions for BreathSensing, BodySensing, and Yoga Nidra were interesting, but I didn't feel like I was getting it.
I left the retreat feeling a little bit more at ease with myself and a little less critical and judgmental. This was very appealing. If I could feel this different after one weekend, I wanted more.
What then led you to begin teaching other teachers?
I can't help but share these practices with others. I was already teaching yoga and naturally began to incorporate the iRest teachings and practices into my classes. Now the classes I teach have iRest infused into every step of the practice: asana, breath, and meditation. There is nothing like sitting in the silence at the end of class in those several minutes when the room is filled with resting, peaceful bodies, knowing that I had some role in this.
What do you feel are some of the benefits of becoming certified as an iRest teacher (as opposed to simply building a personal practice)?
As Director of Certification, I find that by far the most frequent comment I receive from students is how much their personal iRest practice is affected by the Certification process. Often people enter Certification to improve their knowledge and confidence in using iRest with groups and individuals. The Certification assignments require you to dive deeply into the practice as well as share iRest with others. Certification is really the third level of training, but unlike in the first two levels, you have one-on-one time with your supervisor, reading and reviewing assignments together, which offers access to a wealth of knowledge and many years of experience. Your personal experience with iRest will grow in ways you didn't imagine.
Who is your own greatest teacher?
Although I learned the content of iRest from Richard, my greatest teacher was my curiosity! I heard the instructions of the practices and brought my own curiosity to them, trying on concepts with my mind and body, finding my own insights, understandings and experiences. As I shared these teachings with my students, my experiments taught me more and more about what works and doesn't work for myself and for others. Now I can't help incorporating iRest into my classes.
What’s the greatest single lesson you try to impart to your students?
The iRest tool that I use most often is Inner Resource. This single, simple step of iRest can give people access to an experience of peace, comfort, and ease that they never knew they could feel. And this is something that is already inside them! This can be transformative in a very short period of time. Such an effective, useful tool!
What’s the single greatest lesson your students have taught you?
Humility. As a new yoga teacher, we have so many tools that we think can help our students find a sense of ease, or relief from pain, or comfort. Time and time again, I have been humbled by the insights, understanding, and experiences that come from my students in ways that I never expected could happen.
What's your favorite part of your job?
I have the best job ever! Every day that I head off to teach a class, even when I don't feel like it, I sit at the end of a session with a room full of resting bodies, and a quiet stillness that always leaves me in a state of awe, wonder, and reverence at the power of these practices.
Over the years, I have witnessed over and over again how the practice of iRest helps people find relief. After 30 minutes of iRest, the most common report I hear as someone slowly comes out of their meditation is that they are amazed how they feel. Reports such as "I never thought I could feel this good", questions like "What just happened?" Reports of amazement and awe as they stand up and seemingly float out of the room after a practice.
I see lives changed over and over again. Reports of how iRest helped someone get through a challenging time with an illness or injury, the loss of a loved one, a traumatic event, or just the day-to-day challenges of life.
iRest works. Lives are changed. The world needs more of this, and I am lucky to be one of the teachers who can share this with others.