When we think about yoga, the first things that come to mind are usually the physical exercises of stretching, bending and twisting.
For those who have delved deeper into yoga, you may also consider the 4 paths of yoga: Karma (path of action and associated with ethics), Bhakti (path of devotion and love), Raja (the eight step path, which includes the physical asanas we most commonly associate with yoga) and Gyana (the philosophical path of study and learning.) What then, would a yoga of dreaming mean?
To understand this concept, we can consider what the term yoga actually means. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word “yurj” meaning “to yoke” or “join together.” It may refer to any system of exercises and disciplines for achieving liberation of self from its non-eternal elements or states, or a system to unify the self with the Supreme Being or ultimate principle.
Dream yoga then, may be explained as using exercises and disciplines around dreaming to achieve liberation from self and unification with the Supreme Being. Dream yoga can also help to “join together” our various states of consciousness. We tend to think of dreams as being separate and distinct from waking life, and of sleep as being the opposite of awake. But Tantric teaching reminds us that opposites are an illusion.
Just as we strive for mindfulness while awake, so we can apply ourselves to remain conscious in our dreams. Tibetan dream yoga is a process that aims to achieve the extraordinary goal of constant mindfulness, whether awake, asleep or anywhere in between.
Dream yoga requires a dedicated approach to remain aware of changes of consciousness, of acting mindfully and not habitually or unconsciously when awake, of knowing when you fall asleep and being aware when you are dreaming. This manifests as lucid dreaming during early stages of practice, but Dream Yoga is much more than that. By maintaining awareness when moving from waking to sleep, Tibetan dream yogis believe that they can strengthen their minds and prepare for the ultimate sleep and loss of awareness – death.
If one is able to remain conscious when dying, one can escape the cycle of death and rebirth, and to understand the truth of being. In this way, yogis aim to achieve the ultimate oneness, or unity with the whole.
Tibetan dream yoga requires dedication and commitment, but there are some practices you can start to use immediately to help achieve lucidity and begin the path to unified consciousness.
•One of the first practices is to recognize that everything in life is a dream. This weakens your attachment to things, and dissolves perceptions of separation. Each morning when you wake, remind yourself you are awake in a dream. The aim is that eventually, when you are sleep you will also remember you are awake in a dream.
•Strengthen your mindfulness by reflecting at the end of each day as you go to sleep that all that happened during the day was also a dream
•Set your intention as you fall asleep to have lucid dream, to remind yourself that you will remember you are dreaming
•As you go to sleep, men should lie on their right side and women on the left
•When going to sleep, bring your awareness to the brow chakra, visualizing it as a ball of white light and merge with it. This can help enhance awareness while dreaming
•Be sure to complement your dreaming practice with meditation and other mindfulness practices to enhance your overall awareness
To learn more about Tibetan Dream Yoga and other sacred aspects to dreaming, please visit The Dream Well. Sacred Dream Initiation is a fully online course that explores Tibetan Dream Yoga, Shamanic dreaming and much more..
Amy Campion is an experienced writer, coach and trainer. She works globally with people using dreams, intuition and imagination to help enhance their consciousness and achieve Self-fulfillment.
Website: The Dream Well