The altar is in my heart.
The sun and the moon are my gurus.
I trust that the earth will support me.
Every time I close my eyes I step into the void.
My heart is the portal to my sacred cave.
I whisper the names of the divine as I prepare my meals.
I notice the flow of my beloved’s breath when they fall asleep.
And I synchronize my breath with the flow of love.
I put a blessing in the pause between breaths.
I have the power to create a new reality with every thought.
I honor the silence as a blessing.
I explore who I am and who I am not in the mirror of the relationship.
I question my beliefs with curiosity and courage.
I honor my ancestors.
I put down all self-doubts with compassion and forgiveness.
I remember the light of my soul when I entered the dream state.
I remember the beauty of truth as I move from sleep to wake.
I know the vibration of truth.
I remember that nothing is worldly.
I honor the power of transition as a portal to transformation
Everything is an offer. My life is a sacred ritual.
– Tracee Stanley
DURING MY MORE THAN twenty years of teaching, the obstacle that people have consistently shared as an obstacle to their practice is time. When I started practicing yoga over 25 years ago, I had a lot of time to practice. Back then, the work day ended with leaving the office, most people didn’t have cell phones, and no one dared call you for dinner because they knew it was family time.
For most of us today, this scenario seems like a dream. In fact, trying to get people to put their phones down during a meal can seem like a chore. According to a recent survey, 71 percent of us sleep with our phones – in our hands, in our beds, or at least within easy reach on our bedside tables. We have created lives where our attention is turned on the outside, collecting data and information, seeking validation through “likes”, and succumbing to an intense FOMO (fear of missing out) that makes it difficult to turn off the devices that affect us Connect with the outside world 24/7. This existence leaves very little room for exploring our inner landscape, devotion to practice, spiritual study, the things that bring us joy or relaxation for the sake of our own health and wellbeing.
For me it was important to present Radiant Rest in such a way that the practice for the households is taken into account. The aim of the chapters is to inspire you to redefine the look of your devotional practice and to give you tools to continue a practice no matter what life events may arise.
I wrote the poem above to remind myself that no matter how fast life moves and how many things there are, I have space and time. I can always find moments during the day that connect me to my practice when I raise my view of everyday life as not separate from my spiritual practice. If you like the poem, you can print it out and place it on your altar (learn how to create one in Chapter 5 of Radiant Rest) as a reminder that you already have everything you need to practice . Because you do. Often we look at spiritual teachers or “gurus” and think that they live “high on the mountain”, untouched by the world. This is problematic because the world will change while they are up there in the clouds and we may then be left with teachers who are out of touch or who don’t seem to care about the problems those of us face who lead a spiritual but very worldly life. It has never been more important to understand and relate to our inner wisdom about the teachers we choose.
If we can redefine the way we view practicing and take advantage of the myriad of opportunities daily life offers us to perform this exercise, we will not have to long for a cave or an ashram. Life becomes our practice and we can take refuge at the altars of our hearts. Our practice reminds us that life is sacred and that we can experience the quality of radiance in our daily life.
Try to think of your practice as a 24 hour cycle. Every breath, mantra, pose, mudra, or contemplation that you can incorporate into your day makes up your homeowner’s flow. Your 24 hour exercise can flow through all states of consciousness: waking, dreaming and deep sleep. Let it become a material to aid you as you take care of your family, commute to work, prepare for a meeting, take classes online, bathe your children, and prepare for a good night’s sleep.
If you really want a dedicated practice, it is as simple as making a choice and then figuring out how that choice can fit your life. Let go of any comparison of what you think “practice” should look like and vote on how you want it to feel. Be honest with what is possible for you.
The practice of Yoga Nidra aligns us with the transitions between waking, dreaming and deep sleep states. Power and magic lie in the transitions; Each is a small space of emptiness. There are many transitions throughout the day. If we can begin to become aware of these transitions, we can use them to stay more alert and present each day to our practice and the little nidra moments.
As homeowners, we can put into practice every sunrise, every breath, every pause between breaths into a sacred portal. The strongest portals are the moments when you fall asleep and wake up. Using the simple 3 to 5 minute exercises that I included in the exercise chapters as the start and end of your day will create a 24 hour practice flow that can give your waking life a chance of new color – one of presence and grace. Your relationship may begin to shift with time and practice, and I hope you can then incorporate the longer deep relaxation practices as well.
Out of radiant calm: Yoga Nidra for deep relaxation and awakened clarity by Tracee Stanley © 2021 by Tracee Stanley. Reprinted in consultation with Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO.
Photo by Anastasia Chomlack
Tracee Stanley was introduced to the practice of Yoga Nidra in 2001. She immediately recognized it as a healing ointment for the world and began to incorporate it into her life to try to make up for the chaos of her career as a Hollywood film producer.
Tracee is a line teacher with twenty years of study and practice in the Himalayan tradition, Tantra and Sri Vidya. As a housekeeper, she also understands the demands of being an entrepreneur, wife, and stepmother, and it is through this lens that she shares her understanding of best practice. Her effortless way of sharing ancient teachings in an accessible manner has reached thousands as she travels, teaches, and shares the world with the intent that everyone experience their birthright of deep calm and awaken to their innate strength and wisdom.
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