One local yoga New York City yoga teacher, Matt Canale, is trying to answer many new and old questions surrounding the nature of dreams and dreaming.

For example, in his class Canale sites several different sleep studies that were complied in a recent Scientific American article, the results of which all suggested that nightmares do not function the way researchers have classically conjectured. Rather than diffusing built up stress, nightmares seem to further tax the body and mind, making a person even more susceptible to stress upon waking. Through an email interview I conducted, Canale said, "These studies call into question not only the old notion that nightmares are a healthy aspect of an REM dream cycle (something like the mind's waste removal mechanism), but it also raises the question, 'what causes nightmares if not built up stress from your day? Could it be something else, too? It's studies like these, I think, that can lead people to start imagining something like the astral being a real dimension of consciousness."

Canale said of his class, "I basically got into it [dream yoga] because I was reading a lot of sleep-studies. I was experiencing more and more lucidity in my dreams, learning to actually do my spiritual work in dreams. I am learning to navigate my dreams. It's really cool. And a lot of my students and friends talk about dreaming and have a lot of questions about dreaming, like I do. So I created a course designed to inform people about some of the ancient dream practices, some of the modern dream theory and science, the basics, and then give people some practical tools they can take into their dreams. Maybe learn something new or begin their own dream practice. I think we need more classes out there like this, and we need more people researching and exploring what dreams are made of."

For more about the recent Dream Studies published in Scientific American, visit this article.

To check out more on Matt Canale's "dream yoga" classes, and for more interesting links on lucid dreaming, visit Matt Canale's website. 

Matt's next "dream yoga" class is being held April 15th, from 8-10pm, at Atmananda Yoga Studio, 324 Lafayette Street, New York, NY. Tickets are $25 and will be available at the door only.