Book Review: Dream Yoga
Illuminating Your Life Through Lucid Dreaming and the Tibetan Yogas of Sleep
By Andrew Holecek
Dream Yoga is a book that makes big promises: According to author Andrew Holecek, if we become sufficiently skilled at lucid dreaming (being aware that we are dreaming), we will eventually find our lucidity muscles at work while we are awake. This can bring about the “awakened state” that Buddhists and other spiritual aspirants strive for: apperception of the dreamlike, illusory nature of what we normally call waking life.
Unlike most other books on the subject, Dream Yoga advocates lucid dreaming not for its own sake, but as a spiritual practice. “With dream yoga, instead of using your mind as an entertainment center, you turn it into a laboratory,” Holecek writes. “You experiment with dream meditations and study your mind using the medium of dreams.”
The main body of the book progresses from the gross to the subtle. After giving a nuts-and-bolts explanation of the five stages of sleep, Holecek offers Western and Eastern techniques for lucid dream induction, with the latter rooted primarily in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Also included are mindfulness exercises, meditations, visualizations, dream yoga exercises, dreamless sleep induction methods, bardo yoga practices (in which one uses the dream state to practice dying), and methods of cutting through the illusion of form during waking life (“Look at the experience of yesterday from the perspective of today. When you were living it, yesterday felt so solid and real. But from the perspective of today, it seems like a dream, doesn’t it?”)
While it will require time and patience to test the efficacy of these practices in bringing about The Great Awakening, the earnestness with which Holecek writes about their benefits, as well as the detail with which he describes them, suggests that it may be worth the effort.