Find Lucidity in Yoga — Even in Sleep
Lucid waking is the art of being present in the moment, of living with mindfulness throughout the day, which is what Yoga is first and foremost about. When you’re lucid during your waking hours, you’re penetrating the illusions and delusions of ordinary life with the searchlight of full awareness.
Lucid dreaming, a special state of consciousness in which you retain a degree of self-awareness while dreaming, is somewhat an extension of lucid waking. While the idea of lucid dreaming may be appealing, consider that, if you’re aware but lacking in understanding or wisdom in the waking state, then you also lack understanding or wisdom in the dream state. So it’s worth first clearing your mind of its inherent misconceptions and biases so you can bring a fresh mind to non-ordinary states of consciousness, including dreaming and deep sleep.
Cultivating lucid dreaming
With dedication, focus, and practice, you can cultivate your ability to bring on lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming can occur spontaneously, but by priming your mind before going to sleep, you increase the likelihood of becoming self-aware in the midst of a dream.
Consider some pointers for programming yourself to dream lucidly:
Become generally more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
Take an interest in your dreams.
Get up a couple hours earlier than usual and go about your regular chores.
Slip back into bed, and think about lucid dreaming and what sort of dream you want to create for about 30 minutes.
Allow yourself at least 2 hours for dreaming before you finally get up.
Induce lucid dreaming by doing the kind of deep relaxation exercise (Yoga Nidra).
Clearly form the intention to dream lucidly.
You may not succeed the first or second time you try, but then again, pleasant surprises may be just a dream away!
Approaching mindfulness in deep sleep
Even deep, dreamless sleep offers great opportunities for breaking into higher levels of consciousness. When you’re able to retain mindful awareness during the dream state, you can extend your awareness to those periods when the mind is devoid of content. The great Yoga masters have reported to be continuously aware throughout the day and the night. They’re never unconscious because they’ve realized the spirit or Self, which is pure consciousness.
Constant awareness may sound exhausting, but consider the deep peacefulness that the Yoga masters are known to achieve. By comparison, the mind is vastly complicated. Thinking, especially when you’re obsessing over something, can be incredibly exhausting.