top of page

Slowing Down and Releasing

Deb's Yoga Nidra Story

I was doing an intensive yoga teacher training where all of the required contact hours happened over the course of a week, and the rest of the work was self-study to complete the training.

We were in the Outer Banks in North Carolina, and our days were long. Most of us were up before sunrise, around 4:45 am and we finished classes around 9 pm.

black and white image of people lying on the floor on yoga mats

One evening, our last class before dinner began. The instructors started passing out blankets, two per student.

Following the instructions, we each set up a blanket for our heads and we pulled the other over our bodies as we rested on our mats. I closed my eyes and the lights dimmed as I listened to the instructor share some basics of Yoga Nidra.

I wondered if I was even going to relax given all that was happening in my life (the list felt long at the time). Practicing with an open mind to this new yoga style to me, I apparently drifted away. I remember hearing a snore, and I was mortified as I was absolutely certain it was me. Despite that mortification, I somehow was able to drop right back in, and returned to awareness as the practice came to a close.

Moving slowly, I let the other students clean up and head downstairs for dinner. However, I knew that the line was long for food and I was still in some ways experiencing the effects of the practice.

black and white photo of a woman standing in the ocean

I walked out of the house to the beach, and then out into the ocean about knee deep or less, looking out over the dim twilight sky and ocean.

Then I simply cried.

When the release of emotion was complete, I returned to the house and entered after washing the sand off my feet.

As I entered the space again and got in line for dinner surrounded by my fellow students, volunteers, and teachers, one of the teachers came up and put her arm around me and quietly asked if I was okay. I answered that I was, and she smiled and we moved on.

But I knew that I not only did I want to offer Yoga Nidra, but I had to.

I was not the only stressed out DC person who needed to learn how to relax. And while not everyone was going to cry, all of us around the world need to learn how to slow down, be present, and learn how to relax.

(I later asked if I was the one who snored…I was not. Whew! Ha!)

I have taught Yoga Nidra since then and practice it as well.

I get asked if I can relax while I teach. I do not actually relax, as I am holding space and offering the practice to you, but like the students in my class, I slow down and become more present.

Deb Koolbeck, smiling, wearing a black shirt standing with red rocks behind her.

And that's something we all need.

With Gratitude,



Deb Koolbeck is a Yoga Teacher, registered with Yoga Alliance at E-RYT 200. She is also a Reiki Master Practitioner.

Join Deb's monthly Yoga Nidra class, included in your membership or you can pay the drop-in fee.

Recent Posts

See All


Get more content,
right in your inbox.

bottom of page