Meryl Best Lowell - Yoga Nidra Facilitator, Author, & Breast Cancer Survivor
Meryl Best Lowell
Meryl Best Lowell is a certified advanced level Yoga Nidra facilitator through the Amrit Yoga Institute, and the author of the new children’s book “The Dolphin’s Secret: A Meditational Journey for Children.”
Meryl has been exploring and practicing different forms of meditation since 2004, and believes that Yoga Nidra makes meditation and deep relaxation accessible to everyone. She was hiking on a mountain in Arizona when she was inspired to write a series of children’s books, which incorporate the mindfulness techniques of Yoga Nidra to give children a direct experience of meditation. Her first book, The Dolphin’s Secret: A Meditational Journey for Children features Meri, a mermaid, and her friend Aloha, a dolphin.
In 2005 Meryl was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer, and it was then that she started listening to guided meditations and exploring different types of meditation to cope with the diagnosis and the treatments. She was later introduced to Yoga Nidra, and loved it so much that she decided to become a facilitator. Meryl has also completed the 200-hour yoga teacher training program with Eric Walrabenstein, founder of Yoga Pura and a nationally-recognized expert in the application of mind-body technology for healing and empowerment.
Meryl has always wanted to contribute to the well-being of people and the practice of Yoga Nidra has provided her with an opportunity to accomplish that. I’m so excited for you all to learn more about Meryl, what she’s creating with her new children’s books, connect, and follow along!
I'd love it if you'd introduce yourself, what you do, and what you're working on.
I just released my first book at the beginning of March, so for the past couple of months I have been doing some book-related events and writing bylines on topics related to the book. I really enjoy being around young children and it has been fun visiting classrooms and doing some yoga poses with the kids, followed by a reading of the book, so they have a direct experience of the effect of the mindfulness techniques on their body and mind. I have another book in the works but I haven’t had time lately to focus on that.
How did you get started?
In 2005, I was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. I started listening to guided meditations and exploring different types of meditation to cope with the diagnosis and the treatments. I found both useful and when I was later introduced to Yoga Nidra, I loved it so much that I decided to become a facilitator.
Last spring, I was in a yoga teacher training/life mastery program. I was constantly thinking about the concepts and distinctions we were learning and trying to incorporate more of them into my life. I had already been trained at the Amrit Yoga Institute as a Yoga Nidra facilitator a couple of years prior and have listened to more than a thousand hours of Yoga Nidra recordings. One day while I was hiking, I started thinking about incorporating Yoga Nidra into a children’s book, so they would be introduced to mindfulness techniques early.
What inspired the work that you're doing?
Yoga Nidra has enhanced the quality of my life. I listen to at least one Yoga Nidra, and often two each day. When I do a Yoga Nidra practice in the afternoon, it’s like pressing a reset button. I emerge feeling calm and yet energized. I wanted to share the benefits with others, and especially teach kids some of the distinctions and mindfulness tools that are part of Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra helps make people become more resilient and I feel that is very important.
What is your biggest passion? Do you feel like you're living your passion and purpose?
I totally feel that I am living my passion and purpose! I have always wanted to contribute to the well-being of people and I feel that Yoga Nidra has provided me with a vehicle to accomplish that. I am so grateful to the Amrit Yoga Institute, Yogi Amrit Desai, and Kamini Desai for sharing the teachings and encouraging those of us who have been trained as facilitators to share them as well. Publishing my book and promoting it allows me to introduce more people to Yoga Nidra. My mission is to inspire and encourage as many people as possible to incorporate mindfulness techniques in their lives so they can experience more peace.
What is your joy blueprint? What lights you up, brings you joy, and makes you feel the most alive?
I love being in nature. I feel happiest when I am outdoors, either hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking, bicycling, or rock climbing. I also feel calm and happy when I am facilitating Yoga Nidra, because in order to effectively facilitate a session, I need to experience it myself. My dog also makes me laugh and smile every day. I feel most alive when I am living “on purpose” and in alignment with my values. I love expanding my “circle of serenity”, or increasing my capacity to be with discomfort or fear, rather than allowing them to stop me. I have been afraid of heights and still feel very uncomfortable at times when I am up high. But the mindfulness tools I have learned in Yoga and Yoga Nidra empower me to experience the fear, calm myself down, and do activities such as rock climbing and to try paragliding and skydiving.
How do you live intentionally? Are there tools/resources/practices that you rely on to help you stay mindful and grounded?
Once a year I do an exercise called, The Passion Test, which helps clarify my top five passions at any given time, and/or My Ideal Life exercise which has me write down responses to “my (health, relationship with partner, relationship with my family, relationship with my friends, financial situation) is ideal when…..Once I have these nailed down, all I have to do is live in alignment with them. As I said earlier, I do one or two Yoga Nidra practices per day and I get outside in nature almost every day. If I feel tension in my body, I will do some type of breathing practice. I would like to be more disciplined in my practice of asanas, but that is a work in progress.
What would your younger self think about what you're doing now?
My younger self was less self-confident and prone to anxiety and depression. Younger self would be very happy at the progress I have made and that I am living my passions!
Do you have a go-to mantra or affirmation?
I have a few that I use. When I feel overwhelmed, I find it very helpful to say “Thy will be done” or “I surrender”. I will literally take a sigh of relief after saying them. I’ve found one of the intentions I learned at Amrit, “I do my best and then I let go” to be helpful when I find myself attached to results. And I have always been a fan of Bob Marley’s “Love the life you live. Live the life you love.”
What is your biggest dream?
I think my biggest dream is to live a fully expressed life and to embody the teachings of Yoga Nidra. I often want to pinch myself because I am so happy. In many ways, I feel like I am living my dream. I live in a place I love, I am in a happy, committed relationship, I have good relationships with my family and friends, I get to do “work” that I love, and I have time to travel and enjoy the outdoors. One of my challenges is public speaking, so I want to improve my skills in order to more effectively share about Yoga Nidra and encourage more people to try it (or whatever form of meditation that works for them).
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