I first discovered The 61-Point Relaxation Technique in Exploring The World of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge, who in turn adapted it from Exercise Without Movement by Swami Rama. With its Eastern roots, it is much more than a relaxation technique; it assumes you are accomplished in meditative breathing and can control your mental chatter so it doesn't interrupt the systematic relaxation.
The 61-point technique is easy to learn because the points fall into a fairly predictable order. Besides rejuvenation, it primes you for any kind of wake-induced lucid dreaming technique (WILD, HIT, OBE and so on). Wake-induced techniques take longer to accomplish but it is a fascinating avenue to pursue.
First up, here are the 61 points. I've played dot-to-dot so you can easily get a sense of the flow (blue, green, then red). It also helps to visualize these lines to remind you where to go next when you're performing the routine tonight.
First you need to make a mental picture of the 61 points. There's no stopping mid-way through to check you're on the right path. Once you begin, your goal is to stay completely focused on the systematic process of relaxing your mind and body.
The relaxation points start at the forehead, travel down and up your right arm, then down and up your left arm. Then they travel down your torso, down and up your right leg, and down and up your left leg. Finally, they go up your torso to your forehead.
As you study the diagram above, identify each point on your own body, remembering it's a mirror image (eg, point 5 occurs on your right hand). If you struggle to remember them all, try drawing it on paper to help cement the locations.
To begin the 61-point relaxation technique, lie down in what's known as the corpse pose. This is flat on your back with your palms facing up and your feet at shoulder-width apart. You can do this on the bed or on the floor, with a pillow under your head. Cover yourself with a light blanket because as you relax, your body temperature will drop and you don't want to be disturbed by feeling too cold.
Next, lying completely still, focus your attention between your eyebrows and visualize point one. Center your whole awareness at this point. Imagine a sense of warmth and heaviness at this spot before moving on to the next point.
In the same way, direct your awareness at each point up to point 31 (on the torso, having fully relaxed both arms). Work slowly, allowing your mind to completely train itself to each point individually, and imagining the sense of warmth and heaviness before proceeding to the next one.
After a while, you may find that your mind starts to wander. Random thoughts and mind chatter may try to takeover proceedings, and your job is to clear them away as swiftly as possible, without engaging with any of them. If you lose your place, go back to the last numbered point - or if you really go off on a tangent, start over again. This is no time for daydreaming! This is about focused awareness and conscious relaxation.
Once you can move through the first 31 points in sequence, extend your practice to cover all 61 points in the technique. Your goal is to cover them all without losing focus. By the time you achieve that, you will feel deeply relaxed, both in your mind and body, and you will have lost awareness of the world beyond your body.
Indeed, you will be highly focused internally and you may even find that hypnagogia and dream scenes start to emerge, especially if you practice the technique when you wake up in the night or early morning.
Once you can perform the 61-point relaxation technique without losing focus, you're ready to use it as a launch pad into wake induced lucid dreams.
I was walking down a hallway with my dad when it happened. A dark, pointy figure grabbed me by the ankles and flung me down the hall. I was shocked and in pain. But before I knew what was happening, he marched over to me and did it again. He was furious. He was going to destroy me. And I had nothing. Except for my lucidity.
Members of our lucid dream forum have been asking how to create dream characters in lucid dreams. The most common problem is having characters who look nothing like they should. Or they seem disinterested in your company. Or they fail to show up on command altogether. So, how to combat this? It's a matter of finding creative solutions that bypass logical expectations.
To lucid dream, I recommend being able to remember at least one vivid dream per night. That will boost your self awareness in dreams (making lucidity more likely) and also means you can actually remember your lucid dreams. Which is nice. Here are four detailed tips on how to remember your dreams more frequently. And if you don't think you dream at all - trust me, you almost certainly do. It takes an extraordinarily rare sleep disorder to deprive someone of dream sleep.
It is estimated that these wise and wily Indians have been using mugwort in their healing and ritual practices for 13,000 years, where it is known as the ‘dream sage’. They use the herb to promote good dreams, which they consider an essential aspect of normal human functioning! But that’s not all...
Silene Capensis has been used for millennia by the Xhosa shaman of the river valleys in the eastern cape of South Africa, where it is known as Undela Ziimhlophe or 'white paths'. It's fragrant white flowers open only at night, when they emit a fragrant and almost hypnotising aroma. Also known as African Dream Herb or Ubulawu, Silene Capensis induces spectacularly vivid dreams - yet has never entered the mainstream and remains a fringe taste within western culture.
Experts agree that everyone is capable of having lucid dreams. Dreaming itself is a normal function of the mind. We all dream every night, even if we don't remember. And we all achieve conscious awareness while awake every single day. So what does it mean to combine these states? Why, the amazing ability to have conscious - or lucid - dreams. Sounds simple, doesn't it? So why do I keep hearing from people who say they can't achieve their first lucid dream?