Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
INSIGHTS: Shifting Pandemic Patterns and Creating New Ways of Being, John Vosler Explains
Category:
Mind

What do you find when you explore your mind? This unprecedented past year and all its challenges took our thoughts to uncharted territory. Anxiety was reported to be at an all-time high, and new, once fringe, stressors emerged to ask us all to look for ways to change and just...feel better.

But it’s more than that. Mindfulness and well-being practices shot to the forefront of lifestyle changes, and experts believe this shift is poised to help more of us than ever before.

John Vosler, longtime energetic body worker, yoga nidra guide, and meditation coach, chatted with Esalen’s Christine Chen about the mind’s role in advance of his upcoming workshop at Esalen, Yoga Nidra: Rest, Restore, and Rewrite Your Life, May 24-28. 


Christine Chen: How do we clear our minds and shift patterns from the pandemic for a fresh new outlook on life?

John Vosler: In Yoga Nidra we drop beneath the mind and are able to create new and different relationships with the thoughts that arise within it. We begin to see that we are not controlled by the thoughts in our mind. We can be in a relationship with them as they are envoys that can be supportive and that allow us to make different choices. Not falling into old patterns but creating new ways of being.

CC: What types of patterns formed (in general) during the pandemic?

JV: Many of us were left alone and many felt stress. When we feel stress we tend to go to our medicating agents to help us feel better or take away the discomfort that we have. In both cases what we’re moving away from is feeling the experience, being with the feelings and emotions and by medicating, suppressing denial through social media, food, drugs, and even over-thinking, we’re moving further from feeling and being. Which causes even more stress. Yoga Nidra helps us with this dysfunctional relationship with sensation and feelings, allowing us to experience the sensation, and the energy of emotion and feeling. Making it functional and allowing us the experience, to the degree that we’re able, to be with the sensations and feelings just as they are.

CC: Can you help us understand Yoga Nidra a little more?

JV: Yoga means union and nidra means sleep — not unconscious sleep, but being conscious, awake, and aware while the body sleeps. A guided practice that uses body breath and awareness techniques to drop into deeper brain wave states, it’s a non-doing practice that uses the biological process of sleep to allow the body to heal, and helps with emotional integration and anxiety.

CC: Where does it take you in the body and mind?

JV: It doesn’t take you into the body and mind per se; you begin to recognize that the body and mind arise within you. 😉

CC: It is “sleep” - but it’s not… can you help us understand the difference?

JV: Again, it is sleep but not of the unconscious type you experience when you go to bed at night. In Yoga Nidra you are conscious and there’s a trace of awareness as the body restores itself in deep sleep.

CC: How is it facilitated? How can we feel safe in that practice?

JV: We begin by creating an inner resource or a safe place — a sensory experience that you create within yourself, a place where you feel safe and secure whether you’re in yoga nidra or in life. The practice can be done lying down, seated in a chair, or resting on our side. The beautiful thing about the practice is you can’t do it wrong.

CC: What are the habitual patterns it may address?

JV: It could be patterns of thinking and doing that keep you from being present to the moment. It could be habits, behaviors, tendencies, compulsions — the whole continuum all the way to addiction. Yoga Nidra can help you to begin to unpack these habits to see which ones are informing your experience and which ones are limiting your experience. By dis-identifying from patterns we could begin to create new ways of thinking and new ways of being. Making informed habits that support us. Creating intentions that will help you in life.

CC: How can Nidra and this workshop in particular address those?

JV: We will do a lot of resting, reflecting and Yoga Nidra. We then can start to unpack those thoughts and habits that are holding us back and start to create new intentions and habits that will inform our lives.

CC: What’s helped you during the pandemic and as we emerge?

JV: Gratitude. Being grateful every day for the opportunity to experience being. My practice, my meditation practice, my movement practice, and yoga nidra. Being able to see these so-called obstacles as opportunities. And being of service to my neighbors, family, and friends.

CC: Where do you see this practice going now that so many are interested in mindfulness, yoga, and well-being practices, in general?

JV: I believe that Yoga Nidra is the tool of our time. It’s one of the most transformational practices available to everyone — all ages, all people. It’s a non-doing practice — a practice of subtraction that allows everyone to awaken to their true nature.

Learn more about John Vosler.

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?


John's workshop, Yoga Nidra Retreat: Rest, Restore, and Rewrite Your Life, takes place at Esalen May 24-28, 2021.

Register Now

About

Christine Chen

Christine Chen is a two-time Emmy winning journalist, best-selling author, California native, and senior teacher of yoga and Ayurveda.

INSIGHTS: Shifting Pandemic Patterns and Creating New Ways of Being, John Vosler Explains

About

Christine Chen

Christine Chen is a two-time Emmy winning journalist, best-selling author, California native, and senior teacher of yoga and Ayurveda.

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Category:
Mind

What do you find when you explore your mind? This unprecedented past year and all its challenges took our thoughts to uncharted territory. Anxiety was reported to be at an all-time high, and new, once fringe, stressors emerged to ask us all to look for ways to change and just...feel better.

But it’s more than that. Mindfulness and well-being practices shot to the forefront of lifestyle changes, and experts believe this shift is poised to help more of us than ever before.

John Vosler, longtime energetic body worker, yoga nidra guide, and meditation coach, chatted with Esalen’s Christine Chen about the mind’s role in advance of his upcoming workshop at Esalen, Yoga Nidra: Rest, Restore, and Rewrite Your Life, May 24-28. 


Christine Chen: How do we clear our minds and shift patterns from the pandemic for a fresh new outlook on life?

John Vosler: In Yoga Nidra we drop beneath the mind and are able to create new and different relationships with the thoughts that arise within it. We begin to see that we are not controlled by the thoughts in our mind. We can be in a relationship with them as they are envoys that can be supportive and that allow us to make different choices. Not falling into old patterns but creating new ways of being.

CC: What types of patterns formed (in general) during the pandemic?

JV: Many of us were left alone and many felt stress. When we feel stress we tend to go to our medicating agents to help us feel better or take away the discomfort that we have. In both cases what we’re moving away from is feeling the experience, being with the feelings and emotions and by medicating, suppressing denial through social media, food, drugs, and even over-thinking, we’re moving further from feeling and being. Which causes even more stress. Yoga Nidra helps us with this dysfunctional relationship with sensation and feelings, allowing us to experience the sensation, and the energy of emotion and feeling. Making it functional and allowing us the experience, to the degree that we’re able, to be with the sensations and feelings just as they are.

CC: Can you help us understand Yoga Nidra a little more?

JV: Yoga means union and nidra means sleep — not unconscious sleep, but being conscious, awake, and aware while the body sleeps. A guided practice that uses body breath and awareness techniques to drop into deeper brain wave states, it’s a non-doing practice that uses the biological process of sleep to allow the body to heal, and helps with emotional integration and anxiety.

CC: Where does it take you in the body and mind?

JV: It doesn’t take you into the body and mind per se; you begin to recognize that the body and mind arise within you. 😉

CC: It is “sleep” - but it’s not… can you help us understand the difference?

JV: Again, it is sleep but not of the unconscious type you experience when you go to bed at night. In Yoga Nidra you are conscious and there’s a trace of awareness as the body restores itself in deep sleep.

CC: How is it facilitated? How can we feel safe in that practice?

JV: We begin by creating an inner resource or a safe place — a sensory experience that you create within yourself, a place where you feel safe and secure whether you’re in yoga nidra or in life. The practice can be done lying down, seated in a chair, or resting on our side. The beautiful thing about the practice is you can’t do it wrong.

CC: What are the habitual patterns it may address?

JV: It could be patterns of thinking and doing that keep you from being present to the moment. It could be habits, behaviors, tendencies, compulsions — the whole continuum all the way to addiction. Yoga Nidra can help you to begin to unpack these habits to see which ones are informing your experience and which ones are limiting your experience. By dis-identifying from patterns we could begin to create new ways of thinking and new ways of being. Making informed habits that support us. Creating intentions that will help you in life.

CC: How can Nidra and this workshop in particular address those?

JV: We will do a lot of resting, reflecting and Yoga Nidra. We then can start to unpack those thoughts and habits that are holding us back and start to create new intentions and habits that will inform our lives.

CC: What’s helped you during the pandemic and as we emerge?

JV: Gratitude. Being grateful every day for the opportunity to experience being. My practice, my meditation practice, my movement practice, and yoga nidra. Being able to see these so-called obstacles as opportunities. And being of service to my neighbors, family, and friends.

CC: Where do you see this practice going now that so many are interested in mindfulness, yoga, and well-being practices, in general?

JV: I believe that Yoga Nidra is the tool of our time. It’s one of the most transformational practices available to everyone — all ages, all people. It’s a non-doing practice — a practice of subtraction that allows everyone to awaken to their true nature.

Learn more about John Vosler.

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?


John's workshop, Yoga Nidra Retreat: Rest, Restore, and Rewrite Your Life, takes place at Esalen May 24-28, 2021.

Register Now

About

Christine Chen

Christine Chen is a two-time Emmy winning journalist, best-selling author, California native, and senior teacher of yoga and Ayurveda.

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
INSIGHTS: Shifting Pandemic Patterns and Creating New Ways of Being, John Vosler Explains
Category:
Mind

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John's workshop, Yoga Nidra Retreat: Rest, Restore, and Rewrite Your Life, takes place at Esalen May 24-28, 2021.

Register Now

About

Christine Chen

Christine Chen is a two-time Emmy winning journalist, best-selling author, California native, and senior teacher of yoga and Ayurveda.

INSIGHTS: Shifting Pandemic Patterns and Creating New Ways of Being, John Vosler Explains

About

Christine Chen

Christine Chen is a two-time Emmy winning journalist, best-selling author, California native, and senior teacher of yoga and Ayurveda.

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