Transitioning from nostril to belly?

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

Transitioning from nostril to belly?

Postby Micheal Kush » Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:42 pm

Hey everyone,

To make this concise and straightfoward: For the past few days ive had a clogged nose and basically my method of medititation is anapasanati full body awareness style. Since this clogged nose is hindering my concentration, is it ok to switch my focus to the rising and passing of the belly till my nose clears up or will this do harm?

I needed this clarified because I dont like skipping sessions of practice when i have the energy to do so.

With metta, mike
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Re: Transitioning from nostril to belly?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:45 pm

It is sinful and wrong.

Nah it should be fine, although whenever I try to do so I find that I'm really bad at following the breath for a few days afterwards. So it might be a bit of a tradeoff.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Transitioning from nostril to belly?

Postby Micheal Kush » Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:48 pm

Thanks for the post. I find it easy to transition but akways felt that if i transition, I might lose focus of the breath at the nostrils if tend to return to it.

With metta, mike
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Re: Transitioning from nostril to belly?

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:04 pm

I used to have a clogged nose a lot and found putting my attention at the nostrils was better, then I could closely monitor the sensations there and my reactions to them, trying to place my attention elsewhere just led to the nostrils becoming a distraction.

if you haven't already I'd look into Jala Neti or the modern equivilent Neilmed as a possible remedy, it helped me a lot.
"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
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Re: Transitioning from nostril to belly?

Postby Micheal Kush » Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:07 pm

Hey Goof,

The problem isnt that the nostrils give any pain or disruption, it is that the breath is incomprehensible when attending to it and almost can never find it which is why i ask. However, I should be more persistent and not just divert my practice in face of danger.

With metaa, mike
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Re: Transitioning from nostril to belly?

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:21 pm

Micheal Kush wrote:The problem isnt that the nostrils give any pain or disruption, it is that the breath is incomprehensible when attending to it and almost can never find it which is why i ask. However, I should be more persistent and not just divert my practice in face of danger.


Encouraging the mind to become sensitive enough to perceive subtle experience that you normally miss is what you want to be doing, you can always intentionally breath hard for a while if the mind keeps getting lost.

It doesn't matter where you place your attention, just experiment with it, it's the mind that you are training not the breath.
"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
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Re: Transitioning from nostril to belly?

Postby daverupa » Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:23 pm

Micheal Kush wrote:...basically my method of medititation is anapasanati full body awareness... is it ok to switch ... the belly till my nose clears up


If it's full-body awareness, then there should be no switching involved, yes?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Transitioning from nostril to belly?

Postby Micheal Kush » Sat Oct 13, 2012 7:55 pm

Goof, thanks for the response and I will take your advice into action.

And to the last post: Yes it is full body awareness however my method is
more inclined to Thanissaro Bhikkhus translation which states that after much time developing a basis for concetration(that be nostril or belly) one then delves their concentration to other parts of the body till the the body is pervaded with awareness. My understanding is that if the basis of it is to get full body awareness, then the flexibility of transitioning(plus this is a case of my clogged nose) is highly reliable.

With metta, mike
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Re: Transitioning from nostril to belly?

Postby reflection » Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:18 pm

It´s no problem, nothing to worry about. If you train concentration on one place, you train it in general. You might also train concentration on your little toe if you wish, in general the training is the same. You could also go with awareness of mental states. It's just that the breath is relatively easy to watch while not disturbing the mind.
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Re: Transitioning from nostril to belly?

Postby danieLion » Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:38 pm

It's not pragmatic to meditate with only one technique. Circumstances will always change, often rendering our plans ineffective. The more techniques you have at your disposal the better. The ways to observe breathing alone are innumerable. I know this is contrary to the "one-pointedness" gospel of the more puritanical Theravadins, but that should be a clue for all of us that that philosophy is fundamentally flawed.
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Re: Transitioning from nostril to belly?

Postby befriend » Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:40 pm

what is this full body awareness meditation its anapanasati?
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Re: Transitioning from nostril to belly?

Postby Micheal Kush » Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:13 am

To DanielLion: Which is why I ask to gather some confirmation on the topic. Although I agree, I always felt that one shouldnt change the breathibg spot if one is already acquainted with it. However, my practice has expanded to allow new things and render more success.

To befriend: There are many ways of doing anapasanati. One way is to focus solely on the breath until one arrives at access concentration. Another is expanding this awareness to your whole body ehich mainly follows the four tetrads of the suttas. Thanissaro Bhikkhu and few others teach this.

Thanks for the help
Witt metta, mike
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Re: Transitioning from nostril to belly?

Postby Mal » Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:31 am

Ajahn Brahm is critical about focusing on the nose too much, suggesting it might lead to "nose perception" rather than "breath perception", so it might be worth you experimenting with his method at this time. He suggests asking yourself how you know you're making an in/out breath - obviously "some" perception - focus on that!
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Re: Transitioning from nostril to belly?

Postby marc108 » Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:37 am

danieLion wrote:It's not pragmatic to meditate with only one technique. Circumstances will always change, often rendering our plans ineffective. The more techniques you have at your disposal the better.


right, i agree with this wholeheartedly... when i lost sensation in my nose from allergies (seemingly for good now), it was somewhat traumatic for me. good to have a lot of tools in the toolkit.
"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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