Turning dreams into yoga practice

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Did you ever wonder why we dream? Why is it important not to reduce our sleep time? How can we  benefit from sleeping? How can Dream Yoga help us?

«Life and dreams are leaves of one and the same book.» Arthur Schopenhauer

Everybody has dreams. Sometimes they are vivid and sometimes we can’t even remember them. And it does not depend on body fitness level, views on life, hobbies or how well trained our mind is. However, some people believe that real life «happens» only while we are awake. Dream yoga will teach us how to change our attitude towards the state of sleep so that we use this time meaningfully.

Should we reduce our sleep time?

Those who believe that time spent asleep is not effective, start to reduce their sleep time, sometimes bringing the amount of sleep to critically low values. Thus, a person can be very tired when they are awake. Over time, chronic lack of sleep begins to adversely affect both mental and physical conditions: concentration decreases, memory deteriorates, apathy and lethargy, irritability and tension are observed. Hence, it is crucial to realize the importance of sleep, stop reducing its time, so as not to exhaust either the physical body or the psyche.

The importance of regularly being in three states of consciousness

If we want to spend time productively in our sleep, as Dream yoga teaches us, first of all, we need to understand what states of consciousness a person can experience. The theory of Yoga tells us that a person has three groups of bodies: the gross — our physical body, the subtle — our thoughts and emotions, and the subtlest — the causal.

Being awake relates to our gross body. The sleep state in which our subconscious mind actively displays various plots, pictures, memories, or, conversely, projections of the future, is called dreaming and engages the subtle body. The third state is a deep sleep that happens completely without dreams. This state relates to the causal level. From yoga point of view, all three states of consciousness — namely being awake, dreaming and deep sleep — are equally important for a harmonious life.

If any of the components is ignored, then we will see behavioral disorders. For example, if we remove the deep sleep phase, we will accumulate a chronic lack of sleep and fatigue and will become irritated and inattentive.

All three facets to perceive the Universe create a complete picture of reality in human life. Therefore, from yoga point of view, if we lack something in the waking state, we can catch up in the state of sleep with dreams and in deep sleep, that is sleep at the causal level, sleep without dreams.

Is it possible to spend time effectively while sleeping?

Yoga tells us that the source and the root cause of life is the Absolute. Through its Will, the Absolute manifested itself and divided into countless Higher Selves, but still remained one. Our Higher Selves are part of the Absolute. The One Absolute, and, accordingly, our Higher Selves are in a state of omnipotence, omniscience, eternal Bliss, not bounded by space and time, above the concept of separation into awake or asleep. For them, everything is one, the reality is one.

However, an ordinary person, as a rule, perceives the world in a very narrow range, due to the presence of filters of our previous experience and ignorance. It is important to remember that the Universe always speaks to us, and dreams are one of the channels through which we receive information and experience.

Dream Yoga works with our subtle and causal bodies, which we come to control only after having worked through our gross physical body. If the physical body is strong and healthy, it will not distract us from practicing with more subtle bodies. The next step is to train to control our dreams, to be aware of ourselves in dreams as in normal wakefulness.

A person can achieve a state of awareness even in a dream. This will allow to see and live life in a more multifaceted and holistic way. In our dreams, we may face our fears or, conversely, hidden desires. Later, after analyzing such dreams in the waking state, we can understand the causes of fears and dispose of them. We may also find out that there are wishes and desires, which we could not even think of.

As we know, all our wishes must be realized, otherwise, there will be distortions in our life, at times very fearful.

To develop self-awareness in a dream, Dream yoga recommends to constantly analyze our dreams in order to understand their meaning. To make sure we don’t miss any detail, it is recommended to always have at hand a pen and a notebook or a voice recorder. Also, throughout the day, the following questions should be periodically analyzed: «Who am I, where am I, what is happening at the moment, what am I doing and what is my condition right now?» At that point, we will be able to realize in a dream that we are sleeping and will be able, by controlling ourselves in the dream, to get tangible benefits.

Dream yoga  opens for us the door to a vast and unknown world in which the sleep state is no less important than being awake. It also teaches us to be equally aware in all states of human consciousness. Thanks to this, we can see a holistic picture of reality and come closer to an understanding of our true nature, as well as to realize our inner potential.

Be aware even in your dreams!

Authors: Vika Simhi
Photo from IOYU archive/ Author of the picture: Nastya Nrayani
Editors: Maria Gayatri, Alla Ravi, Eva Rati, Olga Belous, Evgenia Agni
Chief editor: Marina Mirra
Project curator: Kerigona
Translators: Nat Satcitananda, Teya Sweet, Alexander Vijaya

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Открытый Йога Журнал — проект Открытой йоги. Проект существует с 2015 года. Из трёх человек, стоящих у его истоков, команда значительно выросла и теперь в ней трудятся уже более 30 человек, не считая многочисленных авторов. Статьи написаны студентами и вольными слушателями Открытой Йоги. В них затронуты темы, изучаемые в МОЙУ, и раскрыты они максимально простым языком с жизненными примерами, цитатами великих личностей и определениями из различных областей деятельности. Журнал непрерывно расширяется. Если Вы хотите поделиться Бхавой и своими открытиями в йоге, а также если у вас есть предложения и любые вопросы, пишите по адресу: OpenYogaJournal@gmail.com