The folks at Uncharted Waters are no strangers to relaxation. With their state of the art float tanks and staff of friendly massage therapists, there’s virtually no better place in the South Sound to rest, restore, and rejuvenate the mind and body. Sarah Maynard-Murray, Float Chief and Integrative Restoration Institute (IRI) Certified iRest Teacher has yet another option for physical and mental wellbeing, the iRest (Integrative Restoration) Yoga Nidra program.
An iRest series of sessions runs between six and eight weeks, and can be done either in a group or in a personal setting. Each week clients are graciously welcomed at the door and are led to the iRest room filled with pillows, yoga mats, and blankets. Individual sessions are 60 minutes and group sessions are 90 minutes. At the beginning of each session, there will be a brief lecture, followed by a guided iRest meditation practice. Comfy clothing is advised. Included in the price of each series includes an iRest workbook, emailed recordings of each meditation session, and one float session.
Sarah’s journey into the iRest program began with the birth of her first daughter. “[I was] looking for some relief from a bad bout of post-partum depression,” she recalls. “iRest improved my life so much that I continued to practice almost daily through my second pregnancy and now onto my journey as a mother of two lovely ladies. Meditation has definitely made me a better mother. iRest has given me the gift of being able to find a space, a pause, before I respond to a situation. Now when my toddler has a meltdown, I consciously try to name what she is experiencing so she can begin to build her own road map to navigate the terrain of sensations, feelings and emotions.”
But don’t just take Sarah’s word for it. Dr. Richard Miller, founding president of the Integrative Restoration Institute, co-founder of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), and founding editor of the peer reviewed Journal of IAYT, emphasizes the restorative properties the iRest program offers. “iRest is integrative, as it addresses both psychological and physical issues, such as stress, trauma, insomnia and pain in your body and mind,” he says. “It helps you feel yourself as a fully functioning, integrated and healthy human being. And iRest is restorative because it helps you recover your inner resources of joy, peace and well-being which enables you to feel connected to yourself and all of life. The practice of iRest integrates and restores, so that you can experience well-being wherever you are, whomever you’re with, whatever you’re doing and whatever you’re experiencing.”
Dr. Miller began IRI and iRest in 2006 in service and support of the United States military. The Department of Defense conducted research at the Walter Reed Medical Center on the benefits and efficacy of Yoga Nidra (a meditative practice that dates back to 2500 BCE). The study was conducted with soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Following the 2006 study, the Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC) at Walter Reed integrated the iRest protocol into its weekly treatment program for soldiers. iRest programs were subsequently set up at VA facilities in Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina, Washington, DC, Illinois and Tennessee. In June of 2010, iRest was officially endorsed by the US Army Surgeon General and Defense Centers of Excellence as a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
Being a veteran herself, Sarah and team offer a 10% discount on series and personal sessions to all currently servicing military members and veterans. They also occasionally have scholarships for the iRest serious made possible by the Freedom Float Program. However, iRest is not just for veterans. “Just like floating, I feel that everyone can benefit from learning iRest,” she says. Many people who have tried it have noticed decreases in stress and anxiety, decreased insomnia, increased energy levels, a greater sense of peace and well-being, improved interpersonal skills, and a decreased perception of chronic and acute pain.
For Sarah, the success of the iRest program in her life inspired her to pay it forward. “iRest has completely transformed my life,” she says. “[It] has given me permission to feel and not become wrapped up in that experience, because ultimately sensations, emotions and feelings are just temporary. They are part of the human experience. Exhaustion? Feel it. Annoyance? Feel it. Anger? Feel it. Embarrassment? Feel it. Love? Feel it. Happiness? Feel it. Joy? Feel it. Being able to acknowledge and feel while not pushing away uncomfortable emotions has added an unexpected bonus to my life.”
The fall sessions are filling up quickly, so those wishing to register are encouraged to call Uncharted Waters at 253-330-8815 or email Sarah directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Uncharted Waters Float Center is located at 3837 S. 12th Street in Tacoma.