Did you know that iRest Institute has deep roots in military wellness? Our organization first emerged in 2006, when founder Dr. Richard Miller led a study with Walter Reed Army Medical Center on the efficacy of yoga nidra on post-traumatic stress disorder. In the years since, iRest Institute has continued to forge bonds with and support the military community. We are proud to introduce our latest Director of Military Programming, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Kerryn Story.
In 2017, LTC(R) Story was stationed in Sembach Kaserne, Germany, when a colleague introduced her to the transformative power of iRest Yoga Nidra Meditation. Inspired, she began working to host an iRest training for her fellow service members. The event was so successful that, later, when LTC(R) Story was transferred to a base in Oklahoma, she was driven to organize another iRest event for cadre assigned to basic training units. Cadre were working very long hours, from early mornings until late nights. “I couldn’t give them back those hours of missed sleep,” Story recalls, “but I could give them a practice like iRest to make their sleeping hours more restful.”
LTC(R) Story retired from active duty in 2018, soon transitioning into her current position as the iRest Institute Director of Military Programming. With a spouse who is still in active duty service, she remains keenly attuned to the needs of military personnel. Story recently took time to share her perspective on the wellness needs of the military community:
What does iRest offer that makes it distinctive from other wellness programs available to the military?
iRest is simply a nice complement to all of the wellness programs available to our military and veteran community.
How would you like to see iRest military outreach grow?
It would be great to see iRest offered as part of each service’s Resiliency Training Program. It has been shared throughout our military communities in settings such as pre- and post-deployment Yellow Ribbon Events, with cadre assigned to duty in training environments to enhance resiliency and recovery in service members participating in intensive outpatient programs developed to help with stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and PTSD; and with leaders looking for a way to better manage life’s day to day stressors.
What would you recommend to veterans or military who are new to iRest or just getting started on an alternative healing path?
I’d invite them to be open to discovering a new tool that can perhaps help ease the burden on the body from everyday stressors, to witness the healing power of an amazing practice that ultimately helps us achieve true well-being and peace of mind.
What is the greatest challenge of sharing iRest with the military community?
Leaders may highlight time as being the greatest challenge or a limiting factor in sharing the practice of iRest with the military community. There are already so many tasks to accomplish in a work day without enough hours! But, I believe Richard Miller says it best: “practice little and often, day by day, everyday.” A practice can be as short as a few minutes, simply using mindfulness to bring awareness during everyday tasks. For example, prior to opening up email to begin the day in the office, just taking a few minutes to tune into the breath, noticing the breath without trying to change or fix it, air moving in and out of the nostrils, awareness of the body breathing, noticing how this simple practice may give you an entirely new perspective, offering a sense of peace and calm to start the day.
What is the greatest reward?
In a fast-paced military environment, one of the greatest rewards of having a practice like iRest in your toolkit is that it empowers you to confidently respond to situations, instead of reacting to them. No matter how challenging or difficult a circumstance, the tools the practice offers allow us to better deal with our emotions and thoughts in the moment and respond professionally, regardless of what’s going on around us.
- Mindfulness Coach App for Veterans
- Free Weekly Class with Louise Mahoney
- Warriors at Ease
- Exalted Warrior Foundation
- Veterans Alternative
- Veterans Restorative Project
- Veteran's PATH Interview with Dr. Richard Miller
- Yoga International Interview with Richard Miller
Click here to learn more about iRest in the military and how you can integrate iRest into your personal life or professional practice.