Astral Projection and Lucid Dreaming Basics

I recently had one of my yoga students come to me asking about astral projection. More specifically, if he can do it. “Of course!” was my answer. Though it’s typically my way to affirm the positive for whatever a person wants to achieve as I don’t believe in limitations. However I digress…

He then wanted to more details on this topic. After some consideration I decided to write about it for others seeking the same information.

What exactly is astral projection? Simply defined, astral projection is a willful out of body experience – a soul travel that tends to occur during deep meditation. This is different than lucid dreaming, where one is asleep and aware of dreaming with the ability to control what is occurring while in the dream state. However it is possible to astral project WHILE dreaming. Dream “visits” where people appear in dreams are an example of this.  Shamans use astral projection as a means to perform soul retrieval. Mystics and yogis use astral projection as a means to connect with the Cosmic Source and obtain certain knowledge. Every day people astral project, oftentimes without realizing it. I remember very vividly the first time I astral projected. I was fifteen. I recall laying in my bed preparing to fall asleep. At some point I started to feel an unfamiliar sensation in my body, as though I was being lifted out of my bed. When I looked around I saw my body underneath me getting smaller and smaller as my soul continued to float higher above it . That’s when I realized that I wasn’t in my body. The realization was terrifying! I had no idea what was happening and thought that I was dying. The fear immediately pulled my soul back into my body and it was several years before I was able to astral project again. It wasn’t until I started training with a shaman and learning shamanic journeying that I was able to effectively manage the ability to astral travel.

So how does one astral travel? Really, all that is needed is a state of calmness and a great imagination. That may sound silly on the surface but, truthfully, when one astral travels one is ejected into spaces that defy our current reality. We must maintain an open mind in order to fully receive such experiences. There are three types of projection, astral, etheric, and mental. Astral projection is when the traveler finds themselves in an apparently real “world” with traditional people, structures, and cultures. However, that world doesn’t parallel anything in the waking reality. This type of projection correlates most with lucid dreaming. Etheric projection is a more traditional out of body experience where the traveler moves through the mundane physical plane in a ghost-like form. It is here that one can observe people and/or events. Mental projection is the projection of the astral body into the mental plane. The driving force in this type of projection is the mind – the intellectual consciousness. So whereas one can tap into the physical and spiritual realms through astral and etheric projection, mental projection is where one connects to the All Knowing, or Cosmic Consciousness. It is here than we can download the Akashic Records.

Each person’s experience with astral projection is different and the ability to achieve it depends on where you are in your practice. The simplest instructions I can give to beginners starting out are as follows:

  1. Start with meditation. Astral projection is all about relaxing and letting go. The ability to do so is best cultivated through meditation. If you are a beginner or have no experience meditating its best to start with simple breathing techniques 5-10 minutes a day. Gradually increasing until you can meditate for 45 minutes to an hour at a time.

  2. Release fear. As I mentioned in my own experience, fear will not only pull you right back into your body but it will keep you from being able to travel. Spend some time examining any fears you may have about the experience BEFORE you start so that you may address (and release) them ahead of time.

  3. Release expectations. Remember, astral travel is a journey. You must keep an open mind and be present to the experience. Otherwise, leaving your body will be a challenge.

  4. Protection. While the practice is relatively safe it’s important to feel secure as one astral travels. Some do this by invoking the protection of angels, spirit guides, or ancestors. Others use protective crystals or have gatekeepers present while they are astral traveling. It’s important to note that nothing will occur to your physical body or soul while you are traveling as the soul will immediately return to the body at the first sense of danger.

Once you are ready to experiment with astral travel there a few techniques you can use:

  • The Rope Technique: Formulated by Robert Bruce, the rope technique is the most common tool used. Once you reach a state of relaxation imagine a rope hanging from your ceiling. With your spirit hands, reach for the rope and pull your spirit up. Concentrate on your spirit climbing this rope, going up until you feel sensations and see your body below you.

  • Shamanic Journeying: Relax the body while listening to steady, rhythmic drumming. This will eventually put you in a trance like state. Be very present to the sensations in the body. You will notice the temperature begin the change, the body will either feel very hot or very cold. Once that occurs then you are ready to project. Visualize where you want your spirit to go and you will notice subtle changes depending on where you are traveling to (such as noises, scents, changes in the air, etc).

  • The Stretch Out Technique: Relax the body and close your eyes. Visualize your feet stretching out and becoming slightly longer, then let your feet go back to normal. Do the same with the head, stretching it out then allowing it to get back to normal. Alternate all between head and feet, gradually increasing the distance until you can stretch out both your feet and head. At this stage imagine stretching out both at once. You will begin to notice vibrations and floating sensations. It is here when you can tell yourself to rise up towards the ceiling.

There are many other techniques that one can use to achieve astral projection. Experiment until you find one that works for you. The most important thing to remember is to remain patient, focused, and open.  Most don’t achieve it their first or thirtieth time. But the more you practice the greater the chances of mastering it.