Dream Yoga 101: How Your Dreams Heal, Balance, and Transform

Competencies and Learning Objectives

  1. What is a “dream yoga?”
  2. What is Integral Deep Listening Dream Yoga?
  3. Why we need a dream yoga
  4. What is IDL Interviewing of Dreams?
  5. What are the purposes of Interviewing dream characters?
  6. Practice Interviewing Yourself and Others and Being Interviewed

What is a “Dream Yoga?”

Dream yoga is a practice originating from Tibetan Buddhism that focuses on using the dream state as a means of spiritual development and enlightenment. It is a form of lucid dreaming, where practitioners aim to maintain awareness and consciousness while dreaming.

In dream yoga, practitioners train themselves to recognize when they are dreaming, allowing them to consciously navigate and manipulate their dreams. By doing so, they can explore the nature of reality, transcend limitations, and cultivate wisdom and compassion.

Dream yoga often involves techniques such as meditation, visualization, and awareness practices to develop the ability to remain lucid during dreams. Through these practices, practitioners seek to gain insights into the nature of the mind, consciousness, and existence, ultimately leading to spiritual awakening.

What is Integral Deep Listening Dream Yoga?

Integral Deep Listening asks, “Who is this self that wakes up in our dreams and recognizes that it is dreaming?” Is it not our waking identity, the one that has been scripted from birth by family, society, and culture? What stops that lucid self from perceiving the dream based on the assumptions and experiences upon which its waking identity is built? Is our waking sense of who we are automatically enlightened because we wake up and become lucid in a dream? Isn’t it much more likely that we will continue to act in the dream based on our waking assumptions, goals, priorities, and motivations, but in the understanding that we are doing so in a self-created reality?

If that is the case, then clearly waking up in our dreams is less important than waking up in our waking life. By that, IDL means to move from a prepersonal and personal identity to a transpersonal one that has sorted through its scripting, moved out of drama and emotional reactivity, recognized its cognitive delusions and distortions, and developed life balance and inner peace. It is the cultivation of a sense of who we are that has learned to get out of its own way, to listen, in a deep and integral way, and then to act authentically, in service to others.

Why We Need a Dream Yoga

IDL is about learning to heal, balance and transform our waking lives, to “wake up” in our mundane, everyday lives, and then to take that lucid waking identity into all dreams, lucid and non-lucid. What this looks like in our dream life is that we do not get sucked into dream dramas, we do not take things personally, and we ask questions of dream characters and our dream experiences whether or not we are aware that we are dreaming. That is because these sorts of relationships with our experience, in any and all states, is more important than whether or not we decide a state is illusory.

Therefore, IDL Dream Yoga is integrative of waking and dreaming, inner and outer, self and others. It builds the foundations of a moral life through practicing respect, reciprocity, trustworthiness, and empathy toward all others, real and imaginary, without differentiation.  The way that it does so is through interviewing dream characters and elements and then applying what has been learned to reduce toxic scripting, drama, and delusional thinking, to bring balance into our goal setting, generate assertiveness, and effective problem solving, and to teach effective meditation, pranayama and life intention.

What is IDL Interviewing of Dreams?

Integral Deep Listening uses a questioning protocol to interview the elements in your dreams, the monsters, cars, clouds, giraffes, toilets, fires, gods, and deceased relatives.

What are the Purposes of Interviewing Dreams Characters?

Because they are parts of the dream, they are in a better position to know why they are in the dream than you are. They are more likely to know why they are in your dream than any dream dictionary, dream expert, or dream group. In addition, because they are at least partially created by your own consciousness, they are more likely to be privy to your thoughts, feelings, hopes, and fears than your closest confident, psychics, or gurus. As a result, it makes sense to take their perspectives on why you had your dream and how it relates to  your life, where you are going, and who you are, into account.

In addition, your dream characters have the advantage of being neither alive, keeping a physical body fed and healthy, or maintaining your worldview and relationships with others. As a consequence, their perspectives are relatively free of your scripting, drama, and delusions. While each has its own baggage – none are omniscient – you will find that on the average, the dream characters that you interview are more lucid than you are, because they are more objective. As a result, by becoming them and identifying with their perspectives, you slowly incorporate their degree of lucidity, increasing your wakefulness not only in your waking life but in all states.

Because your dream characters are relatively unconditioned by all the factors that circumscribe your waking life and by the assumptions that filter and limit your waking problem solving, they can reframe your waking life issues in ways that are creative, relevant, and realistic. Isn’t that the kind of support and advice that you need more of in your life?

Another way that IDL Dream Yoga differs from other forms of Dream Yoga and dream interpretation is that it does not assume that dream characters are, on the one hand, self-aspects, “parts,” or sub-personalities, or, on the other hand, realities existing in another dimension, like totem animals or divine/demonic beings. At the same time, IDL Dream Yoga does not rule out either of these extremes of absolute subjectivity and absolute objectivity. Instead, it drops such assumptions and lets each interviewed dream character express its own degree of autonomy as well as some degree of subordination to this or that conception of self or Self.

Multiple characters from the same dream or life issue can be interviewed at the same time with IDL interviewing. This is called “Dream Sociometry, and is both a powerful research tool and a way to speed the development of empathy and objectivity, through the near simultaneous interviewing of multiple perspectives.

Interpreting any dream to your satisfaction: I did symbol-based interpretation, as a student of dreaming and then as a psychotherapist, for about two decades, from age twelve to thirty, of the variety found in Egypt, Rome, Freud, Jung, Cayce, and dream dictionaries. Because dream interpretation projects our associations onto dreams I found it disrespectful and assumptive. Characters embedded in dreams are themselves in a much better position to interpret their dream. One or more such dream character interview generally provides a superior interpretation of a dream to those you, experts, dream groups, or dream dictionaries generate.  IDL encourages you to first state your associations to your dream or nightmare – your interpretation – before conducting an interview of it. This is so you can objectively compare your stated interpretation with that produced by the interview. Then you can clearly see what you missed, ignored, minimized, or left out of your interpretation and arrive at your own conclusion regarding the quality of the interpretation rendered by your interviewed dream characters.

Ending nightmares for good: Years of work with IDL interviewing demonstrate that it typically eliminates nightmares in just one session.

Reducing or eliminating Post-traumatic stress disorder: Years of work with IDL interviewing demonstrates that PTSD (as well as phobias and various anxiety disorders) diminishes and even disappears with a few IDL interviews.

Stopping repetitive dreams: Dreams that are not listened to in a deep and integral way tend to repeat because the perspectives they represent are not being heard. Integral Deep Listening interviewing often stops recurring dreams in only one session.

Ending toxic drama in dreams: Toxic drama is a recurring theme in dreams, and it generally is associated with behavior, like arguments, self-doubt, or fear of failure or rejection, that is causing some sort of psychological indigestion. IDL interviews tend to move us out of subjective blindness caused by our immersion in our life dramas by looking at them from the more objective perspectives of interviewed emerging potentials.

Breaking the cycle of dreams undercutting your waking progress: It is not unusual to emotionally and cognitively regress in our dreams, reverting to scripted strategies of feeling and thinking that we learned when we were five. The result is a waking residue of unease, bad feelings, or confusion that colors our attitude and problem solving during the following day. Interviewing breaks up this pattern by accessing perspectives that do not revert or regress the way that we often do.

Helping others to understand and integrate troubling or traumatic dreams: You will discover that IDL Dream Yoga is a powerful tool for helping family, friends, and clients to not only understand and stop troubling dreams but to use them to take them to a broader lucidity and sense of themselves, freeing them from old wounds and misperceptions, and allowing them to live a more awake life, of greater service to others.

Practice Interviewing Yourself and Others and Being Interviewed

In the following units of the Dream Yoga certification module you will learn how to use the dream interviewing protocol to interview not only dreams but elements from altered states, such as mystical and near death experiences, visitations, shamanic and drug-induced experiences, as well as synchronicities.

Assignments and Homework


Under “Essays and Interviews,”  read: “How Does Integral Deep Listening Interviewing Work?”  https://www.integraldeeplistening.com/how-does-idl-interviewing-work/ “Examples of IDL Interviewing” https://www.integraldeeplistening.com/examples-of-idl/


In the IDL video curricula, watch:    

IDL is A Yoga

Yogas are physical, mental, or transpersonal disciplines that unite us with experiences of the sacred. Integral Deep Listening is a yoga that uses interviewing dream characters and the personifications of life issues that are central to your life in order to access your emerging potentials and align your priorities with those of your own unique life compass.

  Ten Benefits of Dreaming

This short video describes ten benefits of dreaming and cites noted research studies that confirm those benefits.

The ten benefits are:

1: Memory consolidation
2: Emotional processing
3: Problem-solving and creativity
4: Learning and skill enhancement
5: Emotional regulation
6: Brain development and plasticity
7: Simulation and preparation
8: Enhanced problem-solving during sleep
9: Inspiration for art and innovation
10: Mental health benefits

  Ten Benefits of Dreamworking

This short video provides examples of research regarding ten different benefits of dreamworking.

These benefits are:

1) Self-awareness
2) Emotional healing
3) Problem-Solving and Decision-making
4) Enhanced creativity
5) Stress reduction
6) Improved sleep quality
7) Spiritual growth
8) Personal development
9) Enhanced intuition
10) Positive behavioral changes


IDL is a DREAM Yoga: Are Dreams Illusory or Real?

Dreams have a great deal to teach us about the illusoriness of life and waking life has a great deal to teach us about the reality of dreams! In this video we discuss the interdependence of dreaming and waking, of subjectivity and objectivity, and how a balanced life needs to be built on the foundation of a transformational transpersonal yoga that integrates these two critical states of our life experience.


How Does IDL Interviewing Work?

IDL interviewing works because, when we drop our own identity and world view and allow ourselves to answer questions from the perspective, point of view, or world view of this or that image, we create openings for life to reconfigure itself in ways that increase integration. But why would life do that, instead of doing what psychology teaches will happen if we give up control: decompensation, discontrol, personality breakdown, going crazy, and basically deconstruction into a burbling mass of protoplasm?

If we look at evolution and the adaptive, developmental, and healing processes of organisms, what we find consistently is a selection for higher orders of integration. Even on a purely material level, for instance in the movement of wind currents into tornadoes and hurricanes, water currents into whirlpools, or inorganic matter acquiring structures and processes that are foundational to the emergence of life, we see this process, called autopoiesis, or self-organization, within individuals, and negentropy, or organization or development, the opposite of entropy, within systems. IDL merely mimics this entirely naturalistic process. Is it therefore surprising that it yields similar results? That is, we access higher orders of integration while increasing our understanding of our dreams and mystical experiences in ways that support healing, balancing, and transformation.

Quizlet Self-Tests



Because we grow better and more rapidly when we do so with others, IDL uses Team learning. Use the dream interviewing protocol to interview yourself and others. Trade interviews of dreams with one or more team member. This way you will not only experience being interviewed but develop confidence in your own ability to interview others. Submit your written interviews to your supervising team member. To have your interviews automatically created for you, use the on-line interviewing format on this site.  Keep track of the interviews you do by listing the following: Name of the interview Date Who/What interviewed Major Recommendations Choose one or more recommendation from your interviews to apply and monitor. 


  1. Write down your answers to the following questions.
  2. Share your answers with your other study team members.
  3. Discuss.
  4. Submit your written answers to your team supervisor.

Which of the above purposes of IDL interviewing are most important for you? Why? Which of the above purposes of IDL interviewing are least important for you? Why? Are there other unnamed purposes or benefits that you experience or that you are aware of? If so, what are they? How are they important? How does familiarity with the above purposes of IDL interviewing change, affect, or broaden your interviewing of others? How would you rate the usefulness of this unit 0-10? Why? How can it be improved? Meet with your team at least once a week.

Setting Intent

What do you want to take away from this unit to improve your life?

How would you like it to influence your dreams tonight?

How can you format that as a statement of intention to read over to remind yourself, before you go to sleep, to incubate in your dreams tonight?

Unit 5: Dealing with Common interviewing issues

For more information, contact joseph.dillard@gmail.com. While IDL does not accept advertising or sponsored postings, we gratefully accept donations of your time, expertise, or financial support.