Dream yoga, also known as lucid dreaming, is a Tibetan Buddhism meditation practice that allows a dreamer to control and alter his dreams as they occur. The practice of dream yoga incorporates meditation techniques for focus and concentration and takes time and practice to master. It has been used to eliminate or manage nightmares, calm a person’s fears and phobias, decrease depression and increase self-esteem.
Tibetan Buddhist monks began practicing the philosophy of dream yoga more than 1,000 years ago. They originally used this method as a way to increase spirituality, receive transmissions and visit different worlds. Additionally, the monks used this practice to meet other people through their dreams, fly and shape shift. Attaining conscious awareness while dreaming is the ultimate goal. A person is not required to be a Buddhist or a monk to practice dream yoga.
Lucid dreaming is a common form of dream yoga that is an option for anyone who makes the commitment to learn the technique. By maintaining consciousness during sleep, dreams can be altered as they occur, giving the dreamer complete control over what happens. The dreamer can prevent nightmares by changing the outcome of the dream. As long as he remains conscious throughout the dream, he can decide what happens and how it happens.
During this state of conscious awareness, dreamers are able to overcome fears and increase self-esteem by working through their issues in their dreams as they sleep. A person who has a severe phobia can confront the object of his fear safely in such a dream. By practicing different responses in the dream, the person can learn to deal with his fears during waking hours, as well. The dreamer can build confidence, work through depression and deal with other issues that he has been unable to work out while awake. Many people claim to feel more emotionally balanced with regular, lucid dreaming.
Before practicing dream yoga, a dreamer should already have an understanding and mastery of basic meditation techniques, particularly in regard to focus and concentration. When spontaneously waking up from a dream, the dreamer should focus on the details of the dream, making note of the sights, smells, sounds, emotions and other aspects of the dream. The dreamer should then envision himself in the dream and tell himself repeatedly that it was only a dream.
This should continue until sleep occurs. Once the method is mastered, it will be possible to control what happens in the dream. To master the method, the dreamer must be committed to learning and to practicing the techniques involved.