Dream Yoga: Remaining Conscious During Sleep

The effects of doing dream yoga after spiritual awakening can be fruitful…and strange.

My late husband lived in a Tibetan Bonpo monastery for months at a time, where he assisted in cataloging and translating their extensive library. He often photocopied teachings he thought I would find interesting, and among these was a short treatise on dream yoga.

Unlike all the other teachings, which included highly complex instructions and commentaries (no doubt made even more convoluted by translation), the dream yoga instructions were so short and simple that it almost seemed that pages were missing. It probably amounted to one or two pages of instruction and notes. One night I decided to take it for a spin. After that night, I never slept again.

Well, not the way I slept before. That night, I remained conscious through every phase of sleep. In deep sleep, there was no manifestation, no movement at all. Then I would slowly emerge into a dream state, and know I was dreaming. The dreamstate would morph and change and eventually dissolve back into deep sleep, and so on. But I was aware of all of it. And at some point, I would wake in the morning, which felt exactly like emerging into another dreamstate. My sleep has ever been this way.

This had some profound effects on me.  First, my capacity to feel time changed. The body and consciousness is set to experience the day as a certain amount of hours and rhythms, which do not include the time you are asleep. My system is now on a fully 24 hour clock and I do not have the experience of sleep oblivion. There is no rest or escape from being conscious. Secondly, being awake is felt to be just another dreamstate, not more or less real than being asleep and dreaming.

Taking pain killers or sleep medication has produced sleep oblivion, but I’ve only done this on a few occasions in the past decade since I first did the dream yoga. I know that consciousness is not bound by the physical brain, but my experience so far is that any chemical alteration to the brain seems to have a significant effect on the clarity of consciousness.

Even though I only did this practice of dream yoga once, the effect seems to be persistent rather than transitory or occasional.

I don’t regret it, but I also didn’t know when I tried it that it would produce a lasting shift of this magnitude. I kind of tried it on a lark. After awakening, your system may be much more sensitive. A single practice of a transformative energy technology can be all it takes to change you for good, whereas before you may have had to practice for months or years.

Beware of larks.