Problems breathing in

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

Problems breathing in

Postby octathlon » Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:51 pm

I would appreciate advice, if anyone has some. I'm having trouble on the in-breath during sitting meditation. I can't seem to take a full breath, feels like I can't expand my lungs enough. Then I keep having the urge to yawn.

I don't have this problem if I meditate with lying or walking meditation. Today I tried meditating while leaning back in my recliner and didn't have the issue--in fact, it was a better session than normal. So the problem is just in the sitting position. I think it is either a problem with my posture, or there is too much muscle tension in that position.

I also wonder if I always have this problem and only notice it while meditating, because I seem to get tired a lot at work so maybe I'm not getting enough oxygen... :?
User avatar
octathlon
 
Posts: 599
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:06 am
Location: USA

Re: Problems breathing in

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:43 am

octathlon wrote:I would appreciate advice, if anyone has some. I'm having trouble on the in-breath during sitting meditation. I can't seem to take a full breath, feels like I can't expand my lungs enough. Then I keep having the urge to yawn.

I don't have this problem if I meditate with lying or walking meditation. Today I tried meditating while leaning back in my recliner and didn't have the issue--in fact, it was a better session than normal. So the problem is just in the sitting position. I think it is either a problem with my posture, or there is too much muscle tension in that position.

I also wonder if I always have this problem and only notice it while meditating, because I seem to get tired a lot at work so maybe I'm not getting enough oxygen... :?


You are probably getting tense and trying to make something happen rather than just observing the breath.

I'd start your meditation just observing the body sitting, just feel the body (this may also help you if your posture is wrong). After a while you might notice the breath and you might feel it natural to observe the breath in a relaxed way, but it doesn't matter if you don't just being with the body sitting is a good way to learn to relax and be present.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1944
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Problems breathing in

Postby effort » Fri Jul 02, 2010 8:39 am

i have problem with breathing meditation as it cause pain for me, and i know why this happens, i tried to feel something then i change my breathing style to feel expansion so after a while i can not stop that and became part of my breathing meditation and cause pain, so my advice is nothing wrong with your natural breathing, just be patience then you will feel it, and if it is too subtle you need to do more relax.
User avatar
effort
 
Posts: 219
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:32 am

Re: Problems breathing in

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:02 am

Goofaholix wrote:You are probably getting tense and trying to make something happen rather than just observing the breath.

If that isn't the problem, the likeliest cause is poor posture - in particular, slouching forwards.
Try to keep the spine straight, with your head balanced on top of it like a baseball balanced on top of a stack of cotton reels, and your shoulders down and relaxed.
Another way of saying the same thing is that, from your hips upwards your body should be in the same position as when you are standing - and that's true whether you sit on a chair or on a cushion.

:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 3063
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Problems breathing in

Postby Goedert » Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:19 pm

Try to do some stretch. The position when you sit is very important, if you have an arched back, probably it will be a problem to full breath.

The best position to sit for meditation is the full lotus.

Link for good stretch exercises

Hope it helps your practice.
User avatar
Goedert
 
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 9:24 pm
Location: SC, Brazil

Re: Problems breathing in

Postby altar » Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:09 pm

Don't be afraid to yawn.
I was kinda afraid to do it myself, to be tired, etc., during meditation, during the day, in order to remain, or maintain, wakefulness.
However you can't put off animal stretching forever, at least I couldn't.
One thing that helped me to loosen up was talking on the phone with a monk I know, whom I know has no trouble with wakefulness. And he would yawn the most yawnish yawns, almost boyish sounding, I had ever heard... and not just once...
In fact just now I yawned.......................
People fall asleep, they get groggy... even during meditation. I know, I fell asleep trying to meditate the other day. It felt great! (Of course it's not ideal meditation.)
There goes another one...
Yeah, so it's kinda funny, but your'e just allowed to yawn...
User avatar
altar
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 6:24 pm
Location: Monterey, MA

Re: Problems breathing in

Postby octathlon » Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:38 pm

Thank you all very much for the replies :) I will listen to everyone's advice. After some experimenting, I feel it is definitely from an incorrect posture. I've always had a kind of strange posture anyway, probably a reflection of my various neuroses :lol: -- someone once tried to help me stand in a correctly aligned posture and I felt like I was in a really bizarre position and about to fall over, LOL.

I took a mirror off the wall and sat next to it and used a hand mirror to check my sitting posture and I believe Goedert is right that my lower back has been arched. I found a position that looks as well-aligned as I can get and feels like I can breathe easier in. It is probably impossible to get my neck aligned correctly as it is quite out of whack. I'll keep working on it. Thanks again. :smile:
User avatar
octathlon
 
Posts: 599
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:06 am
Location: USA

Re: Problems breathing in

Postby Sanghamitta » Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:09 pm

These things can arise from more than one cause. Posture being one. Its also good to remember that when we start a practice which involves becoming consciously aware of processes that are usually automatic we can become self conscious and start to over-think it. This will resolve itself in time if we remain relaxed about it.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
Sanghamitta
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.


Return to Theravada Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests