The altar is in my heart.
The sun and the moon are my gurus.
I trust the earth to support me.
Each time I close my eyes, I enter 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 beloveds’ breath as they fall asleep,
and I synchronize my breath to the flow of love.
I place a blessing in the pause between the breaths.
I hold the power to create a new reality with every thought.
I honor silence as a blessing.
I explore who I am and who I am not in the mirror of relationship.
I question my beliefs with curiosity and courage.
I honor my ancestors.
I lay down all self-doubt with compassion and forgiveness.
I remember the light of my soul as I enter the dream state.
I recall the beauty of truth as I transition from sleep to waking.
I know the vibration of truth.
I remember that nothing is mundane.
I honor the power of the transition as a portal to transformation
Everything is an offering. My life is a sacred ritual.
DURING MY MORE THAN twenty years of teaching, the obstacle that people have consistently shared as standing in the way of their practice is time. When I first began practicing yoga over twenty-five years ago, I had plenty of time to practice. Back then, the workday ended the moment you left the office, most people didn’t have cell phones, and no one dared to call you at dinnertime because they knew it was family time.
For most of us today, that scenario seems like a dream. In fact, just 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 are sleeping with our phones—in our hands, in our beds, or at least within reach on our nightstands. We have created lives where our attention focuses on the external, gathering data and information, seeking validation through “likes,” and succumbing to intense FOMO (fear of missing out) that makes it hard to turn off the devices that link us to the outside world 24/7. This existence leaves very little room for exploration of our internal landscape, devotion to practice, spiritual study, the things that bring us joy or relaxation just for the sake of our own sanity and well-being.
It was vital for me to present Radiant Rest in a way that incorporates practice for the householders. The chapters are meant to inspire you to reframe what your devoted practice looks like and to give you tools to carry on a practice no matter what life events present themselves.
I wrote the poem, above, to remind myself that I have space and I have time, no matter how fast life is moving and how many things there are to do. I can always find moments during the day that connect me to my practice if I elevate my view of everyday life as not separate from my spiritual practice. If the poem resonates with you, you might consider printing it out and placing it on your altar (you’ll 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. Many times we look at spiritual teachers or “gurus” and think they are living “high up 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 seemingly uncaring about the problems faced by those of us living a spiritual yet very worldly life. Having discernment about the teachers we choose and cultivating a relationship with our inner wisdom has never been more important.
If we can reframe how we see practice and use the myriad opportunities that daily life gives us to do that practice, we won’t need 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 we can experience the quality of radiance in our daily lives.
Try seeing your practice as a twenty-four-hour cycle. Each breath, mantra, pose, mudra, or contemplation you are able to thread into your day makes up your Householder’s Flow. Your twenty-four-hour practice can flow through all the states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. Let it become the fabric that supports you as you take care of family, commute to work, prepare for a meeting, do classes online, bathe your children, and prepare for a night’s sleep.
If you really want to have a dedicated practice, it’s as simple as making the choice, then figuring out how that choice can fit your life. Let go of any comparison to what you think “practice” should be like and tune in to how you want it to feel. Be honest about what is possible for you.
The practice of yoga nidra attunes us to the transitions between the waking, dreaming, and deep sleep states. The transitions are where the power and the magic lie; each one is a little space of the void. There are many transitions throughout the day. If we can begin to be aware of these transitions, we can use them to stay more awake and present to our practice and to the little nidra moments every day.
As householders, we can turn every sunrise, every breath, every pause between the breath into a sacred portal into practice. The most potent portals are the moments when you are about to fall asleep and awaken. Just by using the simple 3- to 5-minute practices I’ve included in the practice chapters as a start and end to your day, you will create a twenty-four-hour flow of practice that can begin to give your waking life a new color—one of presence and grace. You may find your relationship to time and practice beginning to shift, and my hope is that you will then be able to incorporate the longer deep relaxation practices too.
From Radiant Rest: Yoga Nidra for Deep Relaxation and Awakened Clarity by Tracee Stanley © 2021 by Tracee Stanley. Reprinted in arrangement 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 salve for the world and began to incorporate it into her life as a way to balance the chaos of her career as a Hollywood film producer.
Tracee is a lineaged teacher with twenty years of study and practice in the Himalayan Tradition, Tantra, and Sri Vidya. As a householder, she also understands the demands of life as an entrepreneur, wife, and stepmom, and it is with this lens that she shares her understanding of time-tested practices. Her effortless way of sharing ancient teachings in accessible ways has reached thousands as she travels across the world, teaching and sharing with the intention that everyone experiences their birthright of deep rest and awakening to their innate power and wisdom.