A decade ago, lucid dreaming came to Dave Costen Jr. with such clarity and purpose, he felt he had to use it to change his life for the better. Now the software consultant turned full-time meditation and yoga practitioner teaches lucid dreaming and dream yoga workshops at Soham Yoga in Royal Palm Beach. Lucid dreaming is defined as a dream in which the dreamer is aware that he or she is dreaming. The practice can have therapeutic benefits, allowing the dreamer to conquer fears, for example, in a safe environment. Dream yoga is an extension of lucid dreaming with, as Costen notes, the higher purpose of self-discovery. Here, he dives into what lucid dreams are and how to harness their power.
PBI: Can you explain lucid dreaming and dream yoga?
Costen: Lucid dreaming and dream yoga are both practices where you enter your dreamworld consciously. This is not just a vivid dream that you can recall with great detail. It is where you, quite literally, take the controls of the dream, manifest things, go anywhere, and soon realize you are only limited by your own imagination. Think of it as a nighttime meditation practice. The difference between lucid dreaming and dream yoga appears when you have deeper questions when practicing these techniques. Lucid dreaming can be thought of as recreational, and dream yoga begins to answer deeper questions regarding your life’s meaning, purpose, and destiny.
How do you help people implement these practices in their lives?
A meditation, pranayama (breathing), and yoga practice most often leads to lucid dreaming as one develops more awareness into how their own mind is working. So, when I teach breathing, I ask students how often they notice their breath throughout the day. Is it a deep, quality breath that activates the diaphragm or is it short and shallow? As you learn to properly breathe, you begin to take these techniques with you throughout the day to use when you need them the most.
Now, how often do you ask yourself throughout the day if you are dreaming? Imagine knowing how to test this reality versus the dreamworld, and consciously prime yourself to ask, “Am I dreaming right now?” As you practice these “reality checks,” you are priming your subconscious mind to perform the same reality check while sleeping and actively dreaming.
Lucid dreaming leads to lucid living. As you cultivate the mind to be present with the people in your life, this leads to spending quality time with each other. But sometimes we need some tools to get out of our own way. Yoga, meditation, pranayama, and lucid dreaming are these tools.
What are some of the self-help benefits of these practices?
Unlocking your creativity and discovering your hidden talents. Practicing anything by creating new neural pathways (neuroplasticity). Removing self-imposed subconscious obstacles that are keeping you from growing, boosting creativity, and improving performance in sports and at work.