Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

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Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby karunametta » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:54 am

Hello all,

I know there are some similar topics on this, but I couldn't find anything that was directed towards my situation.

So I've been doing a lot of anapana-sati meditation lately (~3-4 hours a day) and now that i've been keeping to that schedule consistently I'm constantly experiencing pressure/tension from my '3rd eye' area down to my top row of teeth. This happens while in meditation and often throughout the day just from gaining momentary awareness/concentration. I've been experiencing this now for about a week or so, maybe a little longer.

About my practice: I focus on the sensations of the breath passing on the underside of my nostrils and above the upperlip. I don't feel as if I'm "forcing" the concentration or doing anything different from my previous practice that would cause this tension/pressure. I'm approaching the point where I'm just beginning to see some nimittas that are for sporadic, almost like a strobe light at high frequency. They'll only last for a split second as I get distracted from the breath haha. The pressur ein my head just feels like at my forehead someone is pumping air into my third eye as if to expand it. It's kind of the same for my nose area but more like sinus pressure, but all the way down to the bridge between my nose and mouth. My top row of teeth feels like I have braces again and they were just adjusted lol.

Not sure if information helps, but I feel as if this tension/pressure is getting in the way of allowing myself to fully relax into the breath and I'm starting to develop the slightest aversion to it that I think it's creating a hindrance. The aim of my practice is towards developing the first jhana.

Any advice? Sorry if this is too vague, I can happily be more specific. The pressure in my third eye is making it hard for me to write/think clearly...

Thank you!
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:35 am

karunametta wrote:Not sure if information helps, but I feel as if this tension/pressure is getting in the way of allowing myself to fully relax into the breath and I'm starting to develop the slightest aversion to it that I think it's creating a hindrance. The aim of my practice is towards developing the first jhana.

Any advice? Sorry if this is too vague, I can happily be more specific. The pressure in my third eye is making it hard for me to write/think clearly...

Thank you!

maybe this is a tension you are just becoming aware of due to the tranquillity you have cultivated? maybe you need to relax this tension?
try a body sweeping technique to relax all the areas and this may help, but I have never experienced this sort of thing I could associate solely with the practice, so this is my best guess.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby Ben » Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:07 am

Hi karunametta,
In addition to Cittasanto's excellent advice...
If anapana-sati is your primary technique then I would advise you to maintain unbroken awareness of the touch of the breath. As you develop concentration, increasingly more subtle phenomena will become noticeable and at times become a source of distraction.
If however you are using anapana-sati in conjunction with the observation of the anicca characteristic of sensation, then it maybe time to avert to vipassana practice.
Wishing you all the best,

Ben
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby Rui Sousa » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:13 am

Cittasanto wrote:
karunametta wrote:Not sure if information helps, but I feel as if this tension/pressure is getting in the way of allowing myself to fully relax into the breath and I'm starting to develop the slightest aversion to it that I think it's creating a hindrance. The aim of my practice is towards developing the first jhana.

Any advice? Sorry if this is too vague, I can happily be more specific. The pressure in my third eye is making it hard for me to write/think clearly...

Thank you!

maybe this is a tension you are just becoming aware of due to the tranquillity you have cultivated? maybe you need to relax this tension?
try a body sweeping technique to relax all the areas and this may help, but I have never experienced this sort of thing I could associate solely with the practice, so this is my best guess.


Hi karunametta & Cittasanto,

As I was reading through karunametta's post, I was thinking exactly what Cittasanto wrote :)

The same thing happened to me, by placing my focus on certain parts of the body I realized I had a lot of pain points in my body. After being conscious of those physical pains in meditation It felt like they were enhaced during the day (not pleasant). Try to make that an opportunity to practice Vedananupassana, focusing on how pain causes aversion.

Another suggestion, as Cittasanto mentioned, try to focus elsewhere on your body. If you want to stick to breathing as your object of meditation, try focusing on the belly movements instead of the nostrils area (Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw has many guides based on noting the belly movement). Or try Metta as a way of developing Samaddhi, because you focus away from your body, and because Metta can be very relaxing and compensate the discomfort you feel.

Metta
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:30 pm

At least my advise wasn't complete gibberish as I thought it may well be, not having the specific issue :tongue:
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby befriend » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:30 pm

i dunno, but maybe you grind your teeth in your sleep, if your jaw is sore, and it hurts to bite down it might be that. thats what i have.
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby marc108 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:22 pm

if you are at the point where you are sitting for 4 hours a day you should give serious consideration to finding a teacher because many issues are bound to arise.

that being said, you can try breathing in to that spot and making a conscious effort to relax/diffuse the tension on the out breath... or breath in where ever you normally do, on the pause place your awareness in the tense area and make a conscious effort to diffuse/relax on the out breath. you can expect that energetically active areas like this are going to experience some discomfort and strange sensations, the area about 4 inches behind the center of the eyes (3rd eye) running down through the roof of the mouth is a main channel for the somatic energy to flow.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby Kamran » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:44 am

Ajahn Lee's method 2 (below) discusses relieving pressure in the head (headaches/tension) by moving your focus from the nostrils to the abdomen. Focusing on the nose causes headaches and tension for some people.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/inmind.html

Thanissaro Bikhu's online talks ( http://dhammatalks.org/ ) also mention dealing with head pressure by using body scans to spread your awareness through the whole body in order to create a centered, but broad focus.
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby karunametta » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:09 am

Thank you so much everyone. I really appreciate the feedback and advice.

I'll give these techniques a try. I find that with metta I get a very strong third eye pressure. I've tried relly more on walking meditation as of late as ive found it benefocial in relieving the pressure.

Any advice/techniques for consciously relaxing the tension? I've never really tried to do this before.

I'm actually living at a Thai Buddhist monastery this summer, but ironically it's more of a lay dedicated temple and the only monk that teaches meditation doesn't have any experience in this area. (only temple near me that can ordain monks). He gave the suggestion to focus on the abdomen which helps a little.

Thanks again everyone. I'll try to record any progress for tr benefit of any future practicers who run into similar problems.

:anjali:
Greg
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:29 am

karunametta wrote:Thank you so much everyone. I really appreciate the feedback and advice.

I'll give these techniques a try. I find that with metta I get a very strong third eye pressure. I've tried relly more on walking meditation as of late as ive found it benefocial in relieving the pressure.

Any advice/techniques for consciously relaxing the tension? I've never really tried to do this before.

I'm actually living at a Thai Buddhist monastery this summer, but ironically it's more of a lay dedicated temple and the only monk that teaches meditation doesn't have any experience in this area. (only temple near me that can ordain monks). He gave the suggestion to focus on the abdomen which helps a little.

Thanks again everyone. I'll try to record any progress for tr benefit of any future practicers who run into similar problems.

:anjali:
Greg

Try to differentiate the feelings and what you do, noticing any calming/relaxation/spaciousness.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby Rui Sousa » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:34 pm

karunametta wrote:Thank you so much everyone. I really appreciate the feedback and advice.

I'll give these techniques a try. I find that with metta I get a very strong third eye pressure. I've tried relly more on walking meditation as of late as ive found it benefocial in relieving the pressure.

Any advice/techniques for consciously relaxing the tension? I've never really tried to do this before.

I'm actually living at a Thai Buddhist monastery this summer, but ironically it's more of a lay dedicated temple and the only monk that teaches meditation doesn't have any experience in this area. (only temple near me that can ordain monks). He gave the suggestion to focus on the abdomen which helps a little.

Thanks again everyone. I'll try to record any progress for tr benefit of any future practicers who run into similar problems.

:anjali:
Greg


When you feel the pressure, thy to tell yourself that it is just a distraction ond go back to the object of meditation.

If your objective is a single pointed mind, you have to let go all distractions.
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby beyondbig » Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:50 am

About my practice: I focus on the sensations of the breath passing on the underside of my nostrils and above the upperlip. I don't feel as if I'm "forcing" the concentration or doing anything different from my previous practice that would cause this tension/pressure. I'm approaching the point where I'm just beginning to see some nimittas that are for sporadic, almost like a strobe light at high frequency. They'll only last for a split second as I get distracted from the breath haha. The pressur ein my head just feels like at my forehead someone is pumping air into my third eye as if to expand it. It's kind of the same for my nose area but more like sinus pressure, but all the way down to the bridge between my nose and mouth. My top row of teeth feels like I have braces again and they were just adjusted lol.

Not sure if information helps, but I feel as if this tension/pressure is getting in the way of allowing myself to fully relax into the breath and I'm starting to develop the slightest aversion to it that I think it's creating a hindrance. The aim of my practice is towards developing the first jhana.

Any advice? Sorry if this is too vague, I can happily be more specific. The pressure in my third eye is making it hard for me to write/think clearly...


Hi Greg,

Did you ever figure out how to alleviate this? I have had EXACTLY the same issues for months now as a result of meditation and it's really negatively affecting my life but I just can't seem to find a solution.

Thanks,
Mike
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby binocular » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:46 am

Similar here. I'm aware of a cold-ish, almost painful sensation around the roots of my upper teeth, esp. the front ones when focusing on the breath around and under my nostrils.
Over the years, I have been unable to effectively do anything about it. It's quite scary sometimes, because it feels like there is something wrong with my teeth. (But according to the dentist, there isn't.)

One possible explanation I've come across is that this is what the experience of a new way of focusing and acting feels like - less or more uncomfortable, and that it stays this way until one becomes proficient in the new way of focusing and acting.
Like it at first feels odd and heavy to do with the left hand what one usually does with the right hand, but the oddness (and clumsiness) disappears after one becomes skillful at it.

We'll see.
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby kirk5a » Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:29 pm

beyondbig wrote:Did you ever figure out how to alleviate this? I have had EXACTLY the same issues for months now as a result of meditation and it's really negatively affecting my life but I just can't seem to find a solution.

You could try being aware lower in the body, as explained here.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... ml#method2
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby Mkoll » Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:03 pm

Dear friends,

Have those of you with similar issues tried focusing on the other three tetrads of ānāpānasati: feelings, mind, and mind-objects? These purely mental aspects will get you away from focusing on the body made up of the four great elements.

:anjali:
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby binocular » Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:10 pm

Mkoll wrote:Have those of you with similar issues tried focusing on the other three tetrads of ānāpānasati: feelings, mind, and mind-objects?

Yes.
Thoughts like -
"Why am I doing this meditation practice to begin with?"
"I don't really trust that teacher."
come to my awareness.
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby Mkoll » Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:18 pm

Dear binocular,

I would say those thoughts under the hindrance of "doubt". You could try one of the methods in "the removal/relaxing of distracting thoughts" outlined in MN 20. Maybe by confronting the thoughts directly via the second, fourth, or fifth method, bodily tension could be relieved?

:anjali:
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby beyondbig » Tue Dec 31, 2013 8:00 am

Mkoll wrote:Dear friends,

Have those of you with similar issues tried focusing on the other three tetrads of ānāpānasati: feelings, mind, and mind-objects? These purely mental aspects will get you away from focusing on the body made up of the four great elements.

:anjali:


Thanks for your suggestions everyone.

I have tried these in the past but I am still left with the 'pressure' spreading centrally from just above and between my eyes down to the roots of my upper teeth. The pressure-like feeling isn't painful, but it is EXTREMELY distracting, as opposed to normal sensations of pressure which largely go unnoticed or become quickly accustomed to unless accompanied by pain.

Initially, it manifested mainly as forehead pressure above/between the eyes when I was spending a lot of time focusing on a single point at the crown of my head. I then found I had to broaden my field of awareness to relieve the pressure, including sensations of my entire body, but eventually that brought on the pressure as well. Now I am at the point where it happens constantly during my everyday life and it almost feels as though my attention is fixated on the 'pressure' rather than anything else, making it very difficult to concentrate (particularly when trying to concentrate intently on a particular task such as reading, during which my mind now feels 'stuck')

Mike
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:18 pm

karunametta wrote:Not sure if information helps, but I feel as if this tension/pressure is getting in the way of allowing myself to fully relax into the breath and I'm starting to develop the slightest aversion to it that I think it's creating a hindrance.


It might be that you're trying to hard, or it might be that you're just noticing chronic tension in this area. Consciously relaxing this area might help.
Well, oi dunno...
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Re: Pressure/tension in face/teeth during meditation

Postby seeker242 » Tue Dec 31, 2013 1:04 pm

beyondbig wrote:
I have tried these in the past but I am still left with the 'pressure' spreading centrally from just above and between my eyes down to the roots of my upper teeth. The pressure-like feeling isn't painful, but it is EXTREMELY distracting, as opposed to normal sensations of pressure which largely go unnoticed or become quickly accustomed to unless accompanied by pain.

Initially, it manifested mainly as forehead pressure above/between the eyes when I was spending a lot of time focusing on a single point at the crown of my head. I then found I had to broaden my field of awareness to relieve the pressure, including sensations of my entire body, but eventually that brought on the pressure as well. Now I am at the point where it happens constantly during my everyday life and it almost feels as though my attention is fixated on the 'pressure' rather than anything else, making it very difficult to concentrate (particularly when trying to concentrate intently on a particular task such as reading, during which my mind now feels 'stuck')

Mike


Perhaps it feels like your attention is fixated on the pressure more than anything else because it actually is fixated on the pressure more than anything else? That would make sense! :) Although, a good question I think to ask is why? Because it's distracting? Why is it distracting? I don't know but think those are good questions anyway. :) Personally, I would switch focus from nostrils to the hara or lower abdomen.

As for what is actually happening. A yogi who teaches pranayama once told me it's because of diaphragmatic breathing and the pressure it naturally puts on the base of the spine, which compresses the lower subarachnoid cavity of the spine, which contains the cerebrospinal fluid channel, thereby "expressing upward" the cerebrospinal fluid into the subarachnoid cavity of the head resulting in something similar to sinus pressure, etc. Kapalabhati ("Forehead light" or "skull shining") Pranayama is said to induce this deliberately. But of course those are yogic Hindu practices not Buddhist. I don't know if all that is actually true, but it sounds reasonable.
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