A psychophysiological phenomenon?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

A psychophysiological phenomenon?

Postby imagemarie » Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:45 pm

I don't attach any great significance to this, but do find it a little interesting, and would like to hear what other's think, or have experienced?
I have lately noticed an increased tendency to become very cold during meditation practice, regardless of the ambient temperature wherever I sit.
Also, an occasional shiver (of the type described as "someone walking on your grave") arises when my concentration is quite deep.
I have a friend who seems to generate lots of heat when she sits - which she puts down to "positive energy" arising. We both have slightly below average blood pressures. I went through a phase of energetic sitting, where my body jumped around a little, but this seems to have passed :tongue:

Do you get hot under the collar, feel a post meditation chill, or have never been subject to either change?
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Re: A psychophysiological phenomenon?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:50 pm

Greetings,

I find meditation cooling to the body unless it's a hot day and you feel like you're sitting in sweat.

The lack of physical movement and the lack of exhausting mental activity seems to reduce the metabolism (hence, reducing the burn-rate of calories or internal fire element).

To me this seems consistent with the reduced requirement for food that occurs naturally when on a meditation retreat.

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Re: A psychophysiological phenomenon?

Postby meindzai » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:08 pm

imagemarie wrote:I don't attach any great significance to this, but do find it a little interesting, and would like to hear what other's think, or have experienced?
I have lately noticed an increased tendency to become very cold during meditation practice, regardless of the ambient temperature wherever I sit.
Also, an occasional shiver (of the type described as "someone walking on your grave") arises when my concentration is quite deep.
I have a friend who seems to generate lots of heat when she sits - which she puts down to "positive energy" arising. We both have slightly below average blood pressures. I went through a phase of energetic sitting, where my body jumped around a little, but this seems to have passed :tongue:

Do you get hot under the collar, feel a post meditation chill, or have never been subject to either change?


I think it can depend on the type of practice. When I used to do intense concentration type practice (in full lotus too), I used to get to the point where I'd be sweating. But I was really trying to "focus, focus, focus..." I understand that yogic type meditation also can generate a lot of heat. (There are stories of yogis meditating out in the winter, with a perimiter of melted snow around them because of the heat they were generating.)

These days I tend to have a "kinder, gentler" approach to meditation and I tend to cool off instead.

There are meditation techniques based on the elements that can be used to cool or warm the body or at least make the body feel cooler or warmer. I tried it for awhile and concluded that it was possible but it would take a lot more concentration then I have.

-M
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Re: A psychophysiological phenomenon?

Postby PeterB » Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:54 am

Mine varies. Sometimes cool is generated , sometimes heat. Both independant of ambient temperature.
I note it then return to ther object.
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Re: A psychophysiological phenomenon?

Postby imagemarie » Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:12 pm

retrofuturist wrote:The lack of physical movement and the lack of exhausting mental activity seems to reduce the metabolism


As would a negligible or greatly reduced breathing rate and heartbeat. Maybe some exercise before sitting would stave off the freeze.
Thanks.

I think it can depend on the type of practice.

Yes, probably. Thanks.

PeterB wrote:Mine varies. Sometimes cool is generated , sometimes heat. Both independant of ambient temperature.
I note it then return to ther object.


Note and return. I gotcha :smile:
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Re: A psychophysiological phenomenon?

Postby Kenshou » Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:21 pm

I've noticed this, too. I always heat up quite a bit. Which is nice, because of the cold weather where I am. I sort of assumed it had something to do with improved circulation, or something like that.
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Re: A psychophysiological phenomenon?

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:28 pm

If you attend meditation retreats you'll notice a lot of people wrap themselves up in blankets so I think it's pretty normal to feel a bit cooler than if you were physically active, but like everything it depends.

I would think that if you are feeling hot when the climate isn't hot it's likely to be a sign of too much striving.
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Re: A psychophysiological phenomenon?

Postby Freawaru » Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:59 pm

imagemarie wrote:I don't attach any great significance to this, but do find it a little interesting, and would like to hear what other's think, or have experienced?
I have lately noticed an increased tendency to become very cold during meditation practice, regardless of the ambient temperature wherever I sit.


Happens to me, too, especially when I am already tired.

Also, an occasional shiver (of the type described as "someone walking on your grave") arises when my concentration is quite deep.


Might indicate that you are entering the mind-made realms. Any hallucinations, yet?

I have a friend who seems to generate lots of heat when she sits - which she puts down to "positive energy" arising. We both have slightly below average blood pressures. I went through a phase of energetic sitting, where my body jumped around a little, but this seems to have passed :tongue:

Do you get hot under the collar, feel a post meditation chill, or have never been subject to either change?


When cold but concentrated one can arise heat in oneself as meindzai described. There are various techniques to play with the element fire. For me works nicely to visualise something hot, like the sun and imagine it feeling hot, recalling from memory how it feels. When the visualisation (image) of a hot ball like the sun is stable I draw it into my body into the belly (solar-plexus) and focus there. When all works well the belly heats up and then the heat spreads through my body on it's own. However, sometimes it seems to leave out a foot or two (dunno why) and I have to start again. Practice like this also leads to amusing dreams - ever wielded a fireball?
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Re: A psychophysiological phenomenon?

Postby imagemarie » Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:36 pm

I once attended a retreat where rapid breathing and so-called "one-way" breathing were explored as "sport". I think it was geared for folk aspiring to jhana mastery, and I was somewhat out of my depth. The effects were profound, but not a lot to do with Buddhism. I don't practice or meditate for "sport", and don't experiment with visualisations. But thanks for the suggestions.
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Re: A psychophysiological phenomenon?

Postby Mukunda » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:22 pm

As one enters deeper stages of concentration, it is quite common for the body to "slow down", heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, even electrical activity in the brain to diminish. I've seen experienced, long term meditators go so deep that medical practitioners had a difficult time finding any kind of life signs, even using sensitive electronic instruments. If body functions drop like that, temperatures are bound to drop.
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