The 10 Step iRest Protocol
iRest is a contemporary form of meditative self-inquiry that has been adapted from the ancient practice of Yoga Nidra into a 10 step framework which is simple to learn and easy to practice.
Listed below are the 10 steps of iRest which are techniques for systematically investigating the nature of reality, who you are, or who you take yourself to be. They can help you meet and greet each moment of your life with a sense of equanimity and balance, no matter what challenges you face.
It's best to learn iRest by practicing it. You can either use an audio recording, attend an iRest event or find a local class. The best approach is to practice iRest, little and often.
The iRest Protocol is designed to be highly flexible, so it can be adapted by each person or teacher. The 10 steps can be used together, as part of a complete iRest practice, or they can be practiced in shorter sections. It's important to include the first 3 steps of the protocol in every iRest session. The first 5 steps are ideal and usually sufficient for beginners, while the remaining steps can be added on as you become more experienced.
The 10 steps of iRest
1) Connect to Your Heartfelt Desire. Bring to mind your heart's deepest desire - something that you want more than anything else in life that instills a sense of value, purpose, and meaning. Consider how does life want to live through you? Perhaps it is a desire for health, compassion, well-being, or awakening. Feel this heartfelt desire with your entire body while imagining and experiencing it in this moment as if it were true.
2) Set an Intention. Reflect on your intention for your practice today. It might be to relax and rest, or to inquire into a particular sensation, emotion, or belief. Or, you may reflect on intentions that will support living your heartfelt desire in everyday life. Whatever your intention, welcome and affirm it with your entire body and mind.
3) Find Your Inner Resource. Bring attention to your Inner Resource, a safe haven within your body where you experience a feeling of security, calm and well-being. How and where do you feel this in the body? If helpful, you may imagine a special place, person, or experience that helps you feel secure, at ease, and a sense of well-being. Feel into your Inner Resource at any time during your practice or in daily life even when you feel overwhelmed by an emotion, thought, or life circumstance and wish to feel secure and at ease.
4) Feel Your Body. Gradually move attention through your body while welcoming the various sensations that arise.
5) Become Aware of Your Breath. Sense the body breathing. Observe the natural flow of air in the nostrils, throat, and rib cage as well as the rise and fall of the abdomen with each breath. Feel each breath as flowing energy coursing throughout your entire body.
6) Welcome Your Emotions. Without judging or trying to change anything, welcome sensations and emotions that are present in your body and mind. Also notice opposite feelings and emotions. Sense both opposites simultaneously. Welcome everything just as it is.
7) Witness Your Thoughts. Notice and welcome thoughts, memories, and images that are present in your mind. Without judging or trying to change them, observe any thought, memory, or images and notice corresponding sensations in your body. Welcome your experience just as it is.
8) Experience Joy. Welcome sensations of joy, well-being, or bliss emanating from your heart or belly and spreading throughout your body and into the space around you. With every exhalation, experience sensations of warmth, joy, and well-being radiating throughout your body.
9) Find Lasting Peace. Set aside thinking and dissolve into Awareness, awake and conscious of the Self.
10) Reflect on Your Practice. As you complete your practice, reflect on the journey you've just taken. Recognize the feeling of peace that is always present. Integrate this into your everyday life, in both pleasant and difficult moments.