meditation pain

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

meditation pain

Postby monaylo » Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:34 pm

Hello, I began meditating a few months ago. Not long after I began meditating I began feeling pressure around the upper nose and eyes, I thought it was normal would use these in my meditation sometimes. As time has gone by they have increased. I have been meditating sometimes 8 hours a day. My sinuses are now permanently inflamed, even if I do a day without meditating, and it is often unpleasant to breathe using my nose and have constant pressure around my eyes. I am now mostly convinced that it must be meditation causing this.

After looking at this I have noticed that when I bring my mind to the nostrils there is a very very slight tensing in my upper mouth, nose area. I can't "look" at my nose without doing it I don't think. I was also tensing up quite a lot while meditating. I have tried not tensing and staying relaxed but the problem isn't going anyway. I have a very hard time meditating on abdomen without controlling it so I want to use the nostrils.

Should I stop meditating until my sinuses heal? or is it impossible this could be meditation caused. If anyone has tips, or ever heard of anything like this I'd really be thankful
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Re: meditation pain

Postby reflection » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:06 pm

Hi!

If you -as you stated- are tensing up in meditation, this can cause tension in body, especially the face. So indeed it could be a result of meditation; possibly from trying to hard. Right now it is possible you are forcing the focus, which is not the idea of meditation and this could be the reason why you are so tense. (this is my guess)

My advice would be to not go to the breath too soon. Start with some open presence first before focussing on a specific object. The mind can already get very peaceful before it needs a single object, so there is nothing wrong with postponing breath awareness. Let the tensions and thoughts fade away first, then the breath attention will be much more natural.

Also a thing to do is start with attention on the body to relax the body. And smile. A small smile will naturally relax the area around the nose and eyes.

Also youcan sometimes come back to the area to see if it is tensed up.


Hope this can help a bit.
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Re: meditation pain

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:18 pm

Hi Monaylo,
Welcome aboard,
I doubt it is meditation associated, have you seen a doctor about this?
although have you tried imagining space around the area of pain? I find this useful when I have issue with tenion & pain due to some reason or other, although you could use your mouth to breath through or your chest movements/the full movement of the breath as a focus

also you could also just be noticing the tension as your attention goes to the area, so as reflection suggested a body sweeping exercise may also be useful to start with.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: meditation pain

Postby monaylo » Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:38 pm

I have been to a doctor as at first thought I was ill. They said perhaps it just a virus but I did not mention meditation. It very much seems to get worse with meditation but I keep changing my mind whether it is caused by it. Two weeks ago I did a very big 3 days meditation and then in the days after it really got worse but what I remember is that my throat was sore too and I was coughing. This was just one occurrence however. In normal circumstance there is no normal signs of illness. Just lots of pressure in my upper nose and around eyes. It is possible this was something else but I can't rule out maybe that the underlying issue is an nasal illness of some kind and that meditation is just emphasising it.

Could I try not meditate using the face for 4 days if it does not resolve in entirely then It must be something else? Would that definately rule out meditation?
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Re: meditation pain

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:20 pm

monaylo wrote:I have been to a doctor as at first thought I was ill. They said perhaps it just a virus but I did not mention meditation. It very much seems to get worse with meditation but I keep changing my mind whether it is caused by it. Two weeks ago I did a very big 3 days meditation and then in the days after it really got worse but what I remember is that my throat was sore too and I was coughing. This was just one occurrence however. In normal circumstance there is no normal signs of illness. Just lots of pressure in my upper nose and around eyes. It is possible this was something else but I can't rule out maybe that the underlying issue is an nasal illness of some kind and that meditation is just emphasising it.

Could I try not meditate using the face for 4 days if it does not resolve in entirely then It must be something else? Would that definately rule out meditation?

it sounds like blocked sinuses more than anything to me, but I am no expert. and it would be better to exhaust the idea it is than to keep the doubt regarding this so try someother area, or change to the mind as the primary object as it is a little further removed from the area than feelings, although reflecting on the three characteristics and four noble truths are also an option if you are inclined to try a more active process.

I have a blocked nose for about half of the year due to weather and other things.
There are some nasal irrigation techneques you could try (which helps the whole area you are having trouble with) but make sure you speak to your health care provider first, and just so you know these can be uncomfortable/painful to start with, I am quite inconsistent with it so get a reminder of the sensation, although this does ease off/stop after the sinuses have been cleared.
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: meditation pain

Postby cooran » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:27 pm

Hello monaylo,

I would recommend that you change your meditation object to the abdomen. Then you will be able to see if it really was meditation causing your headache.
http://www.buddhanet.net/vmed_2.htm

with metta
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Re: meditation pain

Postby Zom » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:04 pm

You are striving too hard. That is why there is tenstion and that is why you feel pains. This is a very common mistake for beginners - so just try to practise in more relaxed manner.

:buddha2: :buddha1: :buddha2:
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Re: meditation pain

Postby mirco » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:05 pm

cooran wrote:I would recommend that you change your meditation object to the abdomen.
Then you will be able to see if it really was meditation causing your headache.

I wouldn't recommend meditation objects not mentioned in the suttas.
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Re: meditation pain

Postby mirco » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:07 pm

reflection wrote:If you -as you stated- are tensing up in meditation, this can cause tension in body, especially the face. So indeed it could be a result of meditation; possibly from trying to hard. Right now it is possible you are forcing the focus, which is not the idea of meditation and this could be the reason why you are so tense. (this is my guess)

My advice would be to not go to the breath too soon. Start with some open presence first before focussing on a specific object. The mind can already get very peaceful before it needs a single object, so there is nothing wrong with postponing breath awareness. Let the tensions and thoughts fade away first, then the breath attention will be much more natural.

Also a thing to do is start with attention on the body to relax the body. And smile. A small smile will naturally relax the area around the nose and eyes.

Also youcan sometimes come back to the area to see if it is tensed up. Hope this can help a bit.

Yeah. Too much energy & tension. Relax.
Best post, so far.
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Re: meditation pain

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:14 pm

mirco wrote:
cooran wrote:I would recommend that you change your meditation object to the abdomen.
Then you will be able to see if it really was meditation causing your headache.

I wouldn't recommend meditation objects not mentioned in the suttas.

Neither would Cooran, I, or the various teachers who recommend it.

There are two points here:
1. The suttas don't say how to be aware of the breath, so any suggestion that one should (or should not) use a particular way to be aware of the breath is an addition to what is written in the suttas.
2. Perhaps (to be consistent with the commentaries, not the suttas!) some teachers do not want to describe using the abdomen as "being aware of the breath". In that case, when using the abdomen as an object, one can note that observing motion (wind element) and sensations of the abdominal area (body awareness), are mentioned in the Satipatthana sutta.

:anjali:
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Re: meditation pain

Postby mirco » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:46 am

monaylo wrote:Hello, I began meditating a few months ago. Not long after I began meditating I began feeling pressure around the upper nose and eyes, I thought it was normal would use these in my meditation sometimes. As time has gone by they have increased. I have been meditating sometimes 8 hours a day. My sinuses are now permanently inflamed, even if I do a day without meditating, and it is often unpleasant to breathe using my nose and have constant pressure around my eyes. I am now mostly convinced that it must be meditation causing this.

After looking at this I have noticed that when I bring my mind to the nostrils there is a very very slight tensing in my upper mouth, nose area. I can't "look" at my nose without doing it I don't think. I was also tensing up quite a lot while meditating. I have tried not tensing and staying relaxed but the problem isn't going anyway. I have a very hard time meditating on abdomen without controlling it so I want to use the nostrils.

Should I stop meditating until my sinuses heal? or is it impossible this could be meditation caused. If anyone has tips, or ever heard of anything like this I'd really be thankful

What about exploring the pain. As it is.

Funny, again I can suggest reading Ajahn Maha Boowa.

He is talking about severe pain happening while long term sitting and how to cope with it.

Chapter "The Investigation of Dhukka Vedana" (p. 67 ff) - http://www.mediafire.com/?to4dyw1lmmz

Regards , :-)

P.S.: But I'm not shure if that is the original way the Buddha meant the practice to be. Only my two cent.
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Re: meditation pain

Postby marc108 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:50 am

are you using the nose as a focal point? when i did that, i found i would unconsciously breath harder to create a sharper sensation.
"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: meditation pain

Postby Mdi3 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:55 am

Hi everybody,

I've had the same problem for the past three weeks.

I started to practice meditation 2 years ago and have been doing it regularly for about 45 minutes every morning.
At the moment i am in Sri Lanka where, waiting for a Vipassana Goenka retreat starting on the 29th of July (next week) I have spent three the last month in a meditation center.
There I was able to do much more meditation (walking and sitting) than I have ever done before.
After a session where I did 1h40 of sitting meditation (the most I have ever done), I got up to do walking meditation. Then after a while I sat up again to do another sitting meditation session but quickly I felt some pressure around my sinus just like it has been described by the original poster. After a while, I decided to stop a bit afraid by the experience.

Even when I was not meditating I could feel a little bit of pressure on my face (mainly around the sinus but sometimes it was spread around other parts of my face).
For the next two weeks I've done few sitting meditation, and at some point the pressure pretty much disappeared. Then I decided to start doing sitting meditation again and it came back, however less painful than before.
Knowing that I want to do that Goenka retreat next week, and that I will be asked to do intensive sessions, I decided to stop completely for the past 5 days and give the problem some time to go. I cross the fingers so that this is enough but I am a bit worried.

After 5 days of "break" I can feel some pressure at times but maybe it's just me thinking too much.
In any case if anybody had the same issue or if the Original Poster can give some feedback about what happened to him I would be extremely welcome.

I precise that the type of meditation that triggered that problem was breathing meditation with an emphasis on the breath.
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Re: meditation pain

Postby atipattoh » Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:11 am

Chances is there are tension on the Procerus muscle. Unknowingly, you might have sit off balance, slightly lean to the front which is mostly cause by both/either one:
i) breath in and breath out not balance; check that and try to purposely control the breath to be balanced for while before letting go the controlling part.
ii) too much energy, strong viriya, ‘chasing after’ the breath. Causing tension even when you sit spinal straight.
The Procerus muscle is the pyramid-shaped muscle extending from the lower part of the nasal bone to the middle area in the forehead between the eyebrows. I suspect the Transversus Nasalis muscle may play a part that influence the pain to be felt only from the middle of the nasal bone to the middle area in the forehead between the eyebrows.

Sharing with you what I picked up from a meditation teacher:
Put your palms together right in front of your face, thumb touching your nose with eye open. Open up your palms to the side, both sides about 8 inches; total about 16 inches (distance is only a reference). Hold it 1 minute and know your two palms simultaneously; NOT with your eyes!
Put down your hand; repeat a few times. Now raise both palm directly open a few times, know the space not your palm; know it, DO NOT bother much on the distance.
Close your eye and start sitting. Sit for a while, relax. Raise your palms direct open and know the ‘space’ for a while. Put down your hand and maintain knowing that space for a while.
Let your muscles relax completely, maintain your consciousness within that ‘space’ and start paying attention to your primary meditation object, the breath.


If you do try this method; after sitting, try to reflect back the differences between your original practices from this practice; what’s the different in “knowing” the breath. Perhaps you can figure out what is meant by other posters on strong energy (viriya).

Btw, if the pain comes very soon when you sit right after you bathe; compare to not taking bath, then what you suspect of meditation amplifying the sensation may not be just a doubt. Anyway, the above method still can help in this case.

:anjali:
Last edited by atipattoh on Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: meditation pain

Postby Sokehi » Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:39 pm

When I experience strong tention around my nose/face I try to conciously relax this area at the beginning of every meditation. If that doesn't help I focus for a couple of in- and outbreaths as such: Inhaling - focussing on the belly/the rising of it, outbreath - focussing on the nostrils, further conciously relaxing my face. :anjali:
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Re: meditation pain

Postby Mdi3 » Sat Aug 09, 2014 6:18 am

Feedback :

I went to the Vipassana 10 day Goenka course I was supposed to follow. I questionned some staff of the center before going and they told me I should take some medicine to get rid of my nose problem. I took some medicine for 5 days but it didnt go away completely. I apparently have Acute Sinusitis, that may have turned into Chronic Sinusitis.

In the end it didnt bother me during the Vipassana retreat. Actually meditation was making it go away most of the time. I just came out this morning and the problem is still there thought but it is not linked with meditation anymore. I did contract it because of meditation though. I practiced breathing meditation in a way too intense way which my nose could not handle. Obvioulsy I was not meditating properly, if you force your breath like I was doing, you are not observing your breath.

In any case my problem is Acute Sinusitis, and I guess that the original author at the same problem.
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