Dost Meditation was founded by Matthew Ismail, a teacher of meditation and spiritual exploration.
"Dost" (pronounced like "boost") means "friend" in Persian, but in a Sufi context the word means spiritual friend. This is what Rumi found in his friend, Shams i-Tabriz, in whose spiritual ecstasy Rumi found mirrored his own blissful desire to realize his Truth.
If you want to live in your soul,
find a friend like Shams and stay near.
(Rumi, Big Red Book)
Yoga Nidra: Letting Go and Just Being!
The ancient traditions of meditation and mindfulness, of which yoga nidra is a part, seek to bring you to an awareness of who you are when you're not engrossed in your stories about yourself, your memories, physical sensations, beliefs and assumptions.
Meditation ultimately allows you to let go--to let go even of the person who thinks they are meditating! These practices of yoga and mindfulness allow us to settle into that part of ourselves that is calm, free, and easy. Beneath all of the noise and drama of daily life you are perfect just as you are.
Just being. When you're just being, there's nothing to do, nothing to think, nowhere to go, and nothing to gain. Isn't it odd that the most ancient wisdom that we need the most is not to get more, know more, be more, but to let go, let go, let go of it all and just rest in being...
Peeling Away the Layers
The practice of yoga nidra doesn't add something to your life. Yoga nidra peels away layers of social and cultural conditioning and our beliefs about ourselves and the world. The core of who we are is completely untouched by our conditioning, and yoga nidra helps us to rest in that essential core of being and awareness.
It's like finding the heart of an artichoke--pulling away layer after layer of coverings until you realize that, when you come to the heart, it's not an experience of something new, but an easy, joyous, and effortless homecoming.
What's It Like to Practice Yoga Nidra?
People who have come to my yoga nidra classes say that they are both conscious of hearing my voice as I guide them in meditation, but also feel as if they are lightly sleeping or deeply daydreaming. It's not unlike those precious times when we're away from work and home, resting and relaxing on a beach or hiking in a forest, breathing deeply and not trying to solve any problems or find any solutions. Just being.
Relaxed. At ease. Conscious. Settled into the mellow meditative state that was already there before all those layers of identification and conditioning started to cover you up like a pile of leaves.
Yoga nidra is like this. It puts you in touch with that core of being and awareness that helps you to face the challenges of your daily life with ease and equanimity.
Is Yoga Nidra for Me?
People practice yoga nidra for a variety of reasons. For some people yoga nidra is relaxing and restorative and helps them to face life with more ease. For others, they practice because they experience the burnout, stress, anxiety, insomnia, boredom or alienation that are common experiences for many of us.
Yoga nidra allows us to stop the patterned and conditioned unfolding of our lives for a while and just rest in being. It allows us to find our own inherent spaciousness and freedom so that we can face life's challenges with equanimity and sense of ease.
Matthew and Dost Meditation
Mathew Ismail is nothing if not curious. He has four Masters Degrees - ranging from Modern European Intellectual History to Islamic History. He lived in Dubai and Cairo from 1999-2011, and is the author of books, papers and articles on a variety of topics. The unifying thread for all this work has been his search to uncover the joy of a deep self-knowledge and inner peace.
Matthew dove headlong into yoga nidra meditation once he discovered its method of deep relaxation and profound spiritual search.
Matthew loves to write, travel, mountain bike and laugh with his two children. He will also, occasionally, watch a zombie apocalypse movie and have a beer and some Middle Eastern takeout food...
Education and Professional Experience
Meditation Teacher Training
Inner Yoga Mastery Teacher Training with David Harshada Wagner
Harshada describes this training as "Nine months on the soul." The foundation of the course was 30 minutes a day of meditation and monthly meetings with Harshada. We read teachers such as Swami Muktananda and Ram Das and undertook spiritual exercises that took us deep into our contracted identifications and associations. And as our practice took us deeper, we also learned practical matters about teaching Harshada's Living Meditation.
Yoga Nidra Teacher Training with Sagel Urlacher
A 35 hour teacher training program that allows us to deepen our understanding and personal exploration of yoga nidra, a profoundly transformative and holistic healing practice, Program teaches us how to offer safe, effective, and compassionate yoga nidra sessions.
Yoga Teacher Training
200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, with My Vinyasa Practice (in progress)
"Our training covers the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the history and philosophy of yoga and Ayurveda through the lens of Tantra Yoga, dharma and karma, anatomy and physiology, sequencing and cuing, along with chakras, energetics and traditional practices to elevate consciousness."
Parayoga Nidra: A 10-Hour Immersion in Enlightened Sleep, with Rod Stryker (Yoga International)
"The practice of ParaYoga Nidra (Enlightened Sleep®) has five aims: The first is healing for the mind and body. The second is related to cognition, with a primary focus on honing your intellect. Third is transformation at the level of the mind—the rational mind and even beyond—to create lasting impact. Fourth is sankalpa, which means “resolution,” and fifth is spiritual awakening—the ultimate goal of this practice."
Meditation Teaching Experience
Individual Yoga Nidra Meditation Sessions
Work with clients to support them as they explore their experiences of thoughts, emotions, and beliefs about ourselves and the world, while also being connected to a deeper spiritual ground.
Weekly Meditation Class, The Yoga Place, Midland, MI
Teaching a variety of classes and workshops, including sitting meditation, yoga nidra meditation, and spiritual talks.
Weekly Meditation Class, Midland Country Club, Midland, MI
A series of sitting meditation and mindfulness classes for busy executives and business owners.
Meditation Workshops (half-day), The Yoga Cave, Petoskey, MI
Combined sitting meditation and spiritual talks and conversation in half-day workshops.
Weekend Retreat, Song of the Morning Yoga Retreat, Vanderbilt, MI
Worked with a yoga instructor to present a weekend retreat that included seated meditation and yoga instruction.
Other Education and Professional History
B.A. Near Eastern Studies, Hiram College
M.A. Islamic History and Religious Studies, Ohio State University
M.A. Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society, University of Minnesota
M.A. Modern European Intellectual History, The University of Chicago
MLS Library Science, Kent State University
Collections Librarian, The American University in Sharjah (UAE) 2001-2006
Head of Collections, The American University in Cairo (Egypt) 2006-2011
Director of Collection Development, Central Michigan University, 2011--present
Conference Director, The Charleston Conference, Charleston, SC, 2019-present
Author of Wallis Budge: Mummies and Magic in London and Cairo (Glasgow, 2011)
Editor in Chief, The Charleston Briefings Trending Topics for Information Professionals (2016-present)