Jo Stephens Wildyogis yoga nidra


Behind yoga nidra is the idea that there are Koshas, veils or coverings that obscure our view of our true essence. In order to tap into our unconsciousness/true essence, we need to first peel off the layers…

In yoga nidra, there is a setting of your sankalpa, your intention. Your sankalpa is a positive statement of intent. It starts with I AM. It requires a gentle enquiry. A tapping into what is going on for you. A listening that allows you to set your sankalpa to what is important for you in that moment. I found this hard to start with but you get better at it, more in tune with what your body is telling you. Your sankalpa might be, I am calm, safe, loved, free, well,strong etc. This listening and setting of your sankalpa can have a profoundly positive effect on your being, it can stay with you. I often repeat my sankalpa, long after my practice has finished.

Yoga nidra, often referred to as yogic sleep, rocks! It rocks on so many levels. If you haven’t tried it… You are missing out.

I first tried yoga nidra when I was really unwell, Lyme Disease. The symptoms were so debilitating that I went from 6-8 hrs of physical exercise every day to not being able to sit up. I was told meditation would help. To be honest there is not much you can do when you have a headache that lasts for weeks, unrelenting joint pain, a heart that feels like it’s about to burst forth and so little energy that going to the toilet is an epic journey. Iexplored meditation (a lot) and found yoga nidra.

What do I like so much about it? Firstly, it is unexpected. I have many years of meditation experience yet yoga nidra took me by surprise. The different parts to it are like a journey; an internal enquiry. There is an unpeeling which leads you deeper and deeper into relaxation. It is clever too, how it works on different levels of awareness. Senses and sensations, emotions and feelings, imagination and visualisation.

Being so ill made me think hard about lots of things. If I had taken better care of myself, I don’t think I would have become ill. Lyme is only able to take a hold if you already have a compromised immune system. Why didn’t I listen to the tiredness, headaches, constant tummy ache. Why didn’t I do what I advised my friends to do? Rest, nurture myself properly. I always ate well and exercised, I’m a yoga teacher but I failed to give myself time. Time to be, read, rest, meditate. Time for yoga nidra…

Yoga nidra is so accessible. You just need space to lie down. This can be on your bed or you could make a yoga nidra nest. I like to have a heated blanket underneath me, a bolster behind my knees and a cushion for my head. I love a hot water bottle to cuddle and to be covered by a blanket. I have an eye pillow given to me by a dear friend but a scarf would do just as well. You just want to be warm and comfy.

Yoga nidra works really well for those of us with chattering minds, who find it hard to rest and stay still. It is faster paced than other meditation styles I have practiced and you are pretty much led all the way through. This makes it more accessible for many. I suspect it would also be a good entry point into meditation as a result.

Yoga nidra is calming for our nervous system, it reduces anxiety and stress. It improves sleep and mental functioning. It helps us with our relationships and how we process emotions. It boosts the digestive, endocrine & the immune system. It leads to greater contentment and well-being…

Neuroscience tells us that 1 hour of yoga nidra is the equivalent to 4 hrs deep sleep. One of the (many) other symptoms I experienced was insomnia. Some nights I did not sleep at all. Yoga nidra saved me. It meant I could vaguely function.

Do yourself a favour try yoga nidra.

“There is so much going on in this hectic world of ours and so much which causes worry and stress that we have no control over. The session was such a great way to switch off and really concentrate on the good parts of life! Thank you.”
“As someone who has trouble getting their brain to shut down and relax, I usually struggle with meditation and end up running through my mental ‘to-do list’ for the whole time. Not this class though! It’s wonderfully relaxing, with helpful visualizations and body scans.”
“Absolutely beautiful yoga nidra class 🙏 thank you.”
“Magic. Magic. Magic. A thousand petals opening with every sentence she says. Soul work. Mind work. Body in peace. Do it.”
“Love my yoga nidra sessions with Jo. She has a calming, warm and patient voice, when talking you through the exercises. Jo has a vast experience of relaxation exercises, that I’ve started using her exercises in daily life, to reduce stress. Thanks Jo!”