Practicing Dream Yoga
| March 25, 2009
What Is Dream Yoga
Simply stated, Dream Yoga is the effort to awaken your consciousness in the dream state. It consists of certain practices to control your Pranas (vital energies) through the sheer force of conscious intent. Of these two, controlling your Pranas (vital energies) is considered more important. To attain this faculty, you will first have to learn to hold the clear light of sleep and, when you awaken, be able to direct your Pranas (vital energies) into the Sushumna Nadi (central channel) running through the center of your spine. Just as in Kundalini Yoga, the attempt here, too, is to carry your vital energies up the central channel.
Dream Yoga is derived from the tradition of the Tibetan Naropa, Tilopa, Milarepa and Marpa schools, even though another tradition called Niguma is said to include Dream Yoga in its syllabus. While a lot of people know that the word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root “yujir yoge,” meaning to yoke, to unite, or to put together, very few people know that the Latin root of the word religion is “religio” which also means to bind together. Both seek the same thing; the union of individual consciousness with Cosmic Consciousness, its source. But, this can only happen when the individual consciousness is fully awakened and cleansed of all impurities.
Tibetan Buddhism has maintained the Yogic tradition of Tilopa, for several centuries. It consists of a series of teachings of which Dream Yoga happens to be an intricate crucial and inseparable part. The Yogic tradition of Tilopa in general and Dream Yoga, in particular, has been taught and practiced by all Dalai Lamas for generations. In fact, even certain great teachers like Milarepa and Tsongkhapa are named in the line of Dream Yoga masters. A lot of this is contained in Tibetan scriptures dating back to ancient times.
Dream Yoga aims to harness the power of our dream state and make use of it to awaken our consciousness. It postulates that if you practice Yoga –with greater focus on the mental and emotional aspects – regularly and devotedly, you start dreaming about you start dreaming about them even while asleep. Similarly, if you practice Maya (illusory body) Yoga you start dreaming about it, too. There is a great resemblance between Dream Yoga and Maya (illusory body) Yoga. The more you consider the world and your body as illusory, the more dreams you tend to have. We start considering them as dreams, rather than mistake them for real. There is, in fact, much you can achieve in dreams that you are unable to achieve while awake.