Out of the many, varied benefits of lucid dreaming, you probably never thought that athletic ability would be one of them. Well, it turns out that if done properly, lucid dreaming could actually be a huge help in developing and increasing physical prowess in your waking life.
Let’s take a look at this unique application of the lucid dreaming experience. We all know that this phenomenon has countless benefits when it comes to concentration, self-development, consciousness, and mental or emotional healing. Is it really possible – or even probable – that it could help you become a better runner or gymnast? Signs and research point to a resounding “yes”.
If you think about it, mastering the art of lucid dreaming itself is a lot like mastering a sport. It takes pretty large amount of focus, drive, and most importantly perhaps, practice. Without discipline and almost daily dedication to improving your skills, very few people would actually be able to become successful lucid dreamers.
Aside from the fact that there are countless traits you need if you want to become a great athlete or lucid dreamer, there are some other aspects of the practice that can help enhance your talents in the sporting world.
Tholeys’ theory about lucid dreaming
A German sports psychologist called Paul Tholey wrote about the idea that athletes can go into a sort of virtual training session via their lucid dreams. These kinds of simulation-like experiences can in turn help them hone their skills and even attempt moves or positions that they wouldn’t have the courage to in real life. This can greatly help in improving a number of different aspects of an athlete’s skill level.
First off, it can give them the confidence that they may lack in real life when it comes to their abilities in a given sport. Secondly, it can help create neural pathways in the brain that can even lead to the creation of new muscle memory.
Tholey argues that lucid dreaming is also incredibly helpful for athletes because while you dream, you are able to use all five of your senses, which means that the dreaming experience can truly become a sort of real-life training simulation. This means that the same parts of the brain that the athletes would use to practice their skills during their waking life are also being activated during the lucid dream.
There are seven main points to Tholey’s theory:
- 1. Lucid dreaming can help an athlete master and improve sensory-motor skills that they have already developed in their waking life.
- 2. But wait, entirely NEW sensory-motor skills can be learned during the lucid dream, too!
- 3. The lucid dream allows for many attempts and failures, without actually bringing any physical damage or strain on the dreamer. This means that sensory-motor skills can be practiced practically without end.
- 4. An athlete’s flexibility reactions can improve during the lucid dream as they can experiment with their bodies in ways that they can’t in everyday life.
- 5. Lucid dreaming requires a good amount of mental discipline, which in turn is key to developing and perfecting sensory-motor skills.
- 6. Lucid dreaming can help in organizing the phenomenal field with regard to performing athletic movements. This means that you can perform sports moves with greater accuracy and confidence.
- 7. Lucid dreaming helps the subject grow psychologically and gain greater knowledge of themselves. This, in turn, leads to greater confidence in life in general including increased success and motivation in athletic performance.
If you’ve ever watched the film The Matrix, then you may remember the part where Neo enters a martial arts simulation and practices his moves with Master Kung Fu. Here’s a short clip to refresh your memory:
While this is a fictional scene and not exactly an example of lucid dreaming, it definitely comes close to the concept of using lucid dreams to help athletes perform better. This is exactly the kind of “practice” that Tholey suggested in his work. Just to add, Tholey is known to be a very successful athletic coach, and it wouldn’t be too surprising if his secret lies in this alternative method of training. Maybe one day the practice will be more widespread and even normal among athletes.
A recent study in the Journal of Sports Sciences actually gives solid evidence that lucid dreaming does in fact have a positive effect on athletic performance. The fact that dreams can provide an incredible sense of accuracy and intensity seems to play a huge role in the effectiveness of the study’s participants. The study also showed that lucid dreaming sports training is a great way for injured athletes to continue their practice routines, and that it gave all participants an effective way by which they could train their minds to reach optimal levels when game-day came around.
There’s no doubt that lucid dreaming has numerous positive effects on the mind and self-knowledge of the dreamer. Who knew that it could be applied to things like sports? Maybe the same ideas and practices that athletes use to perfect their skills with lucid dreaming could also be put to good use by musicians, artists, or any one who’s trying to improve their abilities in a given field.
To get started with lucid dreaming, I’d suggest you go through our beginners guide or just read some articles on the site like the basics of lucid dreaming or how to lucid dream FAST if you’re a bit less patient!