What I have found is that some people can astral project naturally - and have been doing it for years. Other people are afraid to leave the physical body and struggle with it never being able to astral project. These people could try remote viewing as an alternative.
In astral projection you remain attached by a silver "umbilical type" cord to your physical body - though you may not see it. You travel out and are aware of things you encounter along the way.
To astral project, as with all out-of-body experiences one must feel totally relaxed, clothing fitting comfortable, reclining is best. Often a comforter is best over the body as the physical body sometimes gets cold when you travel out.
You can practice alone or with one person.
Find a quiet place free of distractions
Adjust the lighting and room temperature
Adjust clothing, footwear and eyeglasses.
Sit down or lie down
Find a position that is comfortable for you
Quiet your mind and still your thoughts
Relax your body
Your face, your jaw, relaxing
Your shoulders, your neck, relaxed
Your arms, your hands, feel at peace
Your torso, your hips, letting go
Your legs, your feet, totally relaxed
Focus on your breathing
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose
Retain the breath as long as is comfortable
Exhale through the mouth slowly and completely
Repeat for two more breaths or as is comfortable.
Let go of the fear of leaving your physical body.
Remember you astral project when you sleep.
See yourself floating away from your physical body. You may feel as release or perhaps hear a sound as you leave.
If you get fearful, please stop as you are not ready for astral projection. Anything done in metaphysics should feel comfortable and easy. If it is stressful, let it go for now, as you are not ready.
Silva Mind Control Method
Quiet your mind. Clear your thoughts.
In your mind say:
"I'm going to count down from 3 to 1, visualizing each number on a white orb suspended in the air above my head. When I reach the third and final "1" my body will be deeply relaxed. I will have no awareness of physical sensations. I will not perceive any physical discomfort. My consciousness will be focused on my astral body.
Now visualize a white orb suspended in the air above your head. Mentally focus on the orb I visualize a number "3" on the face of the orb. The numbers can be any color. They may vary with each experience. Visualize the 3 --three times: three number "3's" on the orb. Your body is completely relaxed. You are losing awareness of your physical body.
Then repeat the visualization with three number "2's." You are into greater relaxation. Now visualize the "1's." You are losing awareness of physical sensations. Your consciousness will be in your astral body.
Repeat this using the number "1's" three times. Your consciousness is now in my astral body.
This could involve training of several sessions. You may also find audio tapes that take you down into these altered states as well. You getting better and faster as you go along each time.
There is no set agenda for how often you practice astral projection or any other out-of-body technique. It soon becomes fun. It is like a deep meditation.
Now the key is to remain conscious while my body is asleep. Different thoughts may pull you from your focus as the mind loves to chatter. Just push these thoughts away.
The Monroe Technique - by Robert Monroe.
Visit www.monroeinstitute.com for books, videos, and info. Note from Heather - I have read Monroe's books and they are great. I really recommend them if you are interested in astral travel.
Relax the body. According to Monroe, "The ability to relax is the first prerequisite, perhaps even the first step itself" to having an OBE. (Out of Body Experience). This includes both physical and mental relaxation. Monroe does not suggest a method of attaining this relaxation, although progressive muscle relaxation, coupled with deep breathing exercises (inhale 1, exhale 2, inhale 3... until about 50 or 100) are known to work well.
Enter the state bordering sleep. This is known as the hypnogogic state. Once again, Monroe doesn't recommend any method of doing this. One way is to hold your forearm up, while keeping your upper arm on the bed, or ground. As you start to fall asleep, your arm will fall, and you will awaken again. With practice you can learn to control the hypnogogic state without using your arm.
Another method is to concentrate on an object. When other images start to enter your thoughts, you have entered the hypnogogic state. Passively watch these images. This will also help you maintain this state of near-sleep. Monroe calls this Condition A.
Deepen this state. Begin to clear your mind. Observe your field of vision through your closed eyelids at the blackness in front of your. After a while you may start to notice light patterns. These are simply neural discharges. They have no specific effect. Ignore them. When they cease, one has entered what Monroe calls Condition B. From here, one must enter an even deeper state of relaxation which Monroe calls Condition C-- a state of such relaxation that you lose all awareness of the body and sensory stimulation. You are almost in a void in which your only source of stimulation will be your own thoughts.
The ideal state for leaving your body is Condition D. This is Condition C when it is voluntarily induced from a rested and refreshed condition and is not the effect of normal fatigue. To achieve Condition D, Monroe suggests that you practice entering it in the morning just as you are getting up, or after a short nap.
Enter a state of Vibration. This is the most important part of the technique, and also the most vague.
Many projectors have noted these vibrations at the onset of projection. They can be experienced as a mild tingling, or as if electricity is being shot through the body. Their cause is a mystery. It may actually be the astral body trying to leave the physical body.
For entering into the vibrational state, he offers the following directions:
1. Remove all jewellery or other items that might be touching your skin.
2. Darken the room so that no light can be seen through your eyelids, but do not shut out all light.
3. Lie down with your body along a north-south axis, with your head pointed toward magnetic north.
4. Loosen all clothing, but keep covered so that you are slightly warmer than what might normally be comfortable.
5. Be sure you are in a location where, and at a time when, there will be absolutely no noise to disturb you.
6. Enter a state of relaxation.
7. Give yourself the mental suggestion that your will remember all that occurs during the upcoming session that will be beneficial to your well being. Repeat this five times.
8. As your breathe, concentrate on the void in front of you.
9. Select a point a foot away from your forehead, then change your point of mental reference to six feet.
10. Turn the point 90 degrees upward by drawing an imaginary line parallel to your body axis up above you head. Focus there and reach out for the vibrations at that point and bring them back into your body.
Even if you don't know what these vibrations are, you will know when you have achieved contact with them.
Learn to control the vibrational state. Practice controlling them by mentally pushing them into your head, down to your toes, making them surge throughout your entire body, and producing vibrational waves from head to foot. To produce this wave effect, concentrate on the vibrations and mentally push a wave out of your head and guide it down your body. Practice this until you can induce these waves on command. Once you have control of the vibrational state, you are ready to leave the body.
Begin with a partial separation. The key here is thought control. Keep your mind firmly focused on the idea of leaving the body. Do not let it wander. Stray thoughts might cause you to lose control of the state.
Now having entered the vibrational state, begin exploring the OBE by releasing a hand or a foot of the "second body". Monroe suggests that you extend a limb until it comes in contact with a familiar object, such as a wall near your bed. Then push it through the object. Return the limb by placing it back in coincidence with the physical one, decrease the vibrational rate, and then terminate the experiment. Lie quietly until you have fully returned to normal. This exercise will prepare you for full separation.
Dissociate yourself from the body. Monroe suggests two methods for this. One method is to lift out of the body. To do this, think about getting lighter and lighter after entering the vibrational state. Think about how nice it would be to float upward. Keep this thought in mind at all costs and let no extraneous thoughts interrupt it. An OBE will occur naturally at this point.
Another method is the "Rotation Method" or "roll-out" technique. When you have achieved the vibrational state, try to roll over as if you were turning over in bed. Do not attempt to roll over physically. Try to twist your body from the top and virtually roll over into your second body right out of your physical self. At this point, you will be out of the body, but next to it. Think of floating upward, and you should find yourself floating above the body.