Author Topic: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating  (Read 32849 times)

Nicki

  • Guest
Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« on: December 29, 2012, 04:53:01 PM »
Dear Vipassana Practitioners,

I have a problem with my meditation: Whenever I meditate my body starts to tremble and shake. It occurs whenever I get into a relaxed and concentrated state. The more relaxed and concentrated I am, the more violent the shaking becomes. Periodically my body starts shivering, like I am cold. The frequency is approximately every 30 seconds to two minutes, depending on how relaxed I am. I can’t do anything about it. If I tense my muscles really hard, it is a bit better, but that´s not good for meditation of course.

It started on a 10 day meditation retreat in 2009. The weeks after the retreat it became worse as I continued my practice. The shivering got so bad that I was worried about my health. It just doesn´t feel healthy. I asked my teacher and everybody I met, but nobody could help me with it. My therapist gave me the advice to stop. So I stopped meditation.

Afterwards I tried Yoga and Qi Gong. But with these I had exactly the same problems whenever I got into a relaxed state. Until now, four years later, it is still the same. I was hoping that it gets better from itself, but until now it didn´t. It would be a shame if I had to stop meditating because of this.

Does anybody have an idea what to do? Or did anyone ever experience something similar?

Thanks so much in advance!

GiantRumblebuffin

  • Guest
Re: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2012, 04:59:17 PM »
How long have you sat with the shaking and observed it?

It reminds me of that story Goenka tells in the discourse about the guy who was physically shaking during the meditation and it was to do with huge sankaras surfacing.

Nicki

  • Guest
Re: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2012, 05:08:50 PM »
Yes I was thinking about that as well. I was sitting through it for half a year about one to two hours daily, just observing it.

As it didn´t get better only worse I stopped, because nobody couldn´t really tell me anything and it felt rather unhealthy.

Masauwu

  • Member
    • chipping away
Re: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2012, 06:45:48 PM »
Not sure if it helps, but i was reading this recently:
Quote
Needless to say, such long sittings quickly built my concentration. And since, for nearly 20 years, I have been using Anapanasati concentration to access piti, I began having VERY STRONG bursts of piti. Luckily, these bursts only lasted 10 or so seconds - if they had lasted much longer, my head would have probably popped off, the shaking was so strong. I was not doing anything to induce the piti - it was showing up on its own after I got really concentrated. I reported this to Sayadaw, and he called it "Gross Piti," and said it was not helpful and to not do that.

I found that I could prevent the piti from arising if I made sure not to smile - keep a very neutral expression on my face - and not get distracted into anything "pleasurable." Yet I could feel the piti in the background tingling away pretty much all the time; certainly anytime I stopped and looked for it, it was there. But I could prevent the strong outbursts of "gross piti."
(source)
You need advice from someone with advanced experience, maybe try sending Leigh an e-mail.
The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.

GiantRumblebuffin

  • Guest
Re: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2012, 08:15:15 PM »
maybe its a problem with the physical posture used, I'm guessing though, best speak to your doctor

Quardamon

  • Member
    • Teachers were: P.K.K. Mettavihari, Frits Koster, Nel Kliphuis. (In the line of Mahasi Sayadaw)
Re: kriya's
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2012, 09:04:08 PM »
Hello Nicki,

You mention something as a problem that I do not see as a problem at all.
Check this:

Kriya, automatic bodily movements during meditation
Further discussion of this subject can be found in the following essays: Charismatic Movement, Kriyas

And also check this:

My first retreat - I left after 9 days - was with a Thai monk who was honoured here in the Netherlands and in the cloister where he came from. He had us sit (and walk, and do prostrations) each in our own little room. After three days, my body started to jerk now and then. A day later, swaying forward and back occurred. I considered stopping these things, but found, that this is what life had to offer at this moment, exactly because I was very dedicated and trusted (and liked) the teacher very much. So I had the courage to carry on. The teacher made a scornful remark during a talk for the group, that some people sat for days and had nothing happening. (Obviously, that was not for me.) Next day, I made full rotations with my body. Mind you, the instruction was t sit still. And the instruction never changed, although I told the teacher in our daily 10-minutte talk what was going on. My sitting even brought me to masturbate to release a sexual block.
Years later, I read that those movements were the start of (or introduction to) a Kundalini cycle. The jerks of the body are called kriya's . At the time, it was only clear to me, that the meditation made me do these things.

In the last two years, there have been two periods of three months, that I always had tissues at my side, because I would weep.

During the last months these kriya's happen often with me, after 20 minutes of sitting. I am not sure whether I should still regard them as positive. I know that in Goenka's school one is told "not to do that" - but that does not impress me very much. They seem to have no experience with it, and no understanding of what it is.

GiantRumblebuffin

  • Guest
Re: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2012, 09:32:55 PM »
very interesting, Quardamon

thanks

Stefan

  • The Marvellous Omannobazong!!!
  • Member
  • love is the key
    • Vipassana (Goenka), Freestyle, Family, God
Re: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2012, 09:52:46 PM »
I'd also say Sankaras, but if the nature of this body sensation never ceases, then there's a strong blockade of some sort. Maybe there's an unconscious part of you that just doesn't want to let go (due to strong attachment or fear).

On the physical aspect of this: I had similar attacks, usually in altered states of mind, but I never had these when meditating. Trembling and shaking, with chattering teeth, like I am cold all of a sudden, like a very strong attack of ague for two minutes or so. It helped to hide under several blankets, warmth reliefed the symptoms.
Maybe it is a reaction to extreme relaxedness, deep concentration, altered states of mind or suchlike, inducing on a physical level reduction in blood pressure and loss of body temperature, which could cause those symptomps.

Stabilising your physical fitness (food, sports, water, air ...) should help your body to control those reactions.

Whether there's a need to see a doctor I cannot say. If these attacks only occur during meditation, yoga and qui gong, I'd rather say no. If they also occur in daily life, I'd say yes.

Might be interesting whether those attacks also occur if you tried something like kung fu or tae kwondo.

Be well!



« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 09:54:53 PM by Stefan »
anicca

Nicki

  • Guest
Re: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2012, 10:33:21 AM »
Thank you all a lot for your replies!

@Masauwu: Thanks a lot for this ressource. It seems just like what I am experiencing. Also the tingling is similar to what I am experiencing. It´s like I have to sneeze: To stop it takes a lot of concentration and is hardly possible. I will ask him about it.

@GiantRumblebuffin and Stefan:
maybe its a problem with the physical posture used, I'm guessing though, best speak to your doctor
I am certain it is not problem of a wrong posture: When I did yoga it came in every posture I did. But it came only when the posture was done correctly. At Meditation it also comes only when I meditate correctly and am very concentrated and relaxed. The posture also has to be right for it to happen. Also it comes only after a few minutes, when I am getting into it. Apart from meditation I don´t have that shaking at all.

I'd also say Sankaras, but if the nature of this body sensation never ceases, then there's a strong blockade of some sort. Maybe there's an unconscious part of you that just doesn't want to let go (due to strong attachment or fear).
Yes, it is probably something like this.

@Quardamon: Thanks for the video and your experience. It is good to hear that other people are experiencing that as well. And yeah, they seem to have no experience with it. As it is so strong and I don´t fully understand it I am cautious. 


From the similar experiences I assume the shaking is natural. In the book Waking the Tiger, by Peter Levine http://www.amazon.de/Waking-Tiger-Transform-Overwhelming-Experiences/dp/155643233X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1340363162&sr=8-2, he writes, that shaking is a symptom of recovering from a traumatic experience. That reminded me also a lot of it.

I am still not quite sure how to deal with it. The quote from Masauwu indicated that it might not be a good thing to do. It just doesn´t feel very healthy and good. And the intensity worries me.

edit: fixed messed up format
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 04:28:00 PM by Nicki »

GiantRumblebuffin

  • Guest
Re: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2012, 02:32:26 PM »
Guess what - I just realized I do this too but to a lesser extent
i
If you were to look at me from the outside you would see me sitting still in Burmese or Siddasana or whatever

I too feel a slight trembling deep in my muscles

because it usually occures in the last 20 minutes of my sittings I just put it down to trapped energy because I was not used to sitting still for so long. Usually, I am quite fidgety and change sitting positions often. So because I was sitting still for so long, I assumed the small trembling was trapped energy or something.

Very interesting thread. Maybe it is something to do with a kundalini cycle because I am just about to turn 28...

the mysteries eh?

Quardamon

  • Member
    • Teachers were: P.K.K. Mettavihari, Frits Koster, Nel Kliphuis. (In the line of Mahasi Sayadaw)
Re: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2013, 01:36:25 PM »
Nicki,

Are you familiar with the picture of people having an aura, with energies running through it? (I mean like: there is a stream of energy outside of the body and surrounding it, energy coming out from the crown chackra, going down and coming in again through the feet.)

Sometimes, when I stand and sense 10 cm. below my feet, or 20 cm before my stomach, I can sense strong energies there. (And at other times not.) I am convinced that sensing that and allowing that to be helps the energies to even-out. They get more quiet, and less stuck to one spot.

I am not encouraging to try this. Certainly not. I am just asking if you know this. It is long ago that I was in a circle of friends who worked with this.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Here and now forever.
Re: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2013, 03:07:39 PM »
Nicki,

Yes lot's of people experienced this before. Have you heard of the Christian groups, "The Quakers" and "The Shakers"? Guess where they get their names from? Yes - from this very experience you are having.

My advice to you is the same as to many other practitioners: you need to go deeper into Shamatha/Anapana meditation to gain stabilisation and calm before proceeding with other practices. Instructions linked on the front page to the calm-abiding practice could be of great benefit to you.

Warmly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Nicki

  • Guest
Re: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2013, 08:08:13 PM »
Hi guys, sorry it took me so long to reply. I got sick in the last weeks. Thanks a lot for your answers!

@GiantRumblebuffin:

Hey, that´s very interesting indeed. What is the Kundalini circle. I am 29 at the moment.

@Quardamon:

Hi Quardamon, I have a strong sense of the "energies" around me. I very, very sensitive to the energies around me and can often feel what others are feeling. These energy cycles sounds very much like what I learned in Qigong. There are concepts like this as well. Do you mean that? About auras and things like that I don't really know.

@Matthew:

Hi Matthew, oh that´s great to hear, that other people have these shaking as well. Thanks a lot for the advice. So I should do only Shamatha/Anapana meditation until it gets better? I will try it out and tell you how it goes.

Renze

  • Member
    • Ungrounded
    • No hope
Re: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2013, 11:01:32 PM »
No, you will still shake during anapanasati practice. But you won't be overwhelmed by it as easily as during any dry insight practice. The difference is that you stick to one meditation object only, the breath. So during the shaking, you maintain awareness on the breath. After a while, the shaking will be gone. What you do next is up to you: More samatha/anapana practice to practice the absorption states, or switch to the vipassana technique you're familiar with.

Quardamon

  • Member
    • Teachers were: P.K.K. Mettavihari, Frits Koster, Nel Kliphuis. (In the line of Mahasi Sayadaw)
Re: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2013, 02:26:21 PM »
Nicki,

The sense of energy that I had when I did tai chi and taoist yoga comes close. I suppose it is much like what you experience in Qi-gong. I do not know Qi-gong.
The main thing of my remark is to see if there is an other angle from which to view what is going on.

Peter Levine in Waking the Tiger gives a view from another angle. It gives a hint in the direction of traumatic experiences. A friend of mine who knew she had gone through traumatic experiences felt greatly helped by that book (and a newer one by Levine). Let us say that she found that the body can restore goodness.

Still an other way of seeing things from an other angle I can tell from my own experience. This experience is a few years older than the one I mentioned earlier in this thread. It is from the time I had a practice in massage and aura healing. To clean my own aura after I gave a treatment, I decided to do something different that usual: I decided to dance myself clean. After a while, I spontaneously started whirling. I could not stop myself. The whirling was OK - it felt natural. But the fact that I could not stop it scared me. Also, I grew scared that I would bump into things and break things or hurt myself. Well, after a while, I managed to stop myself, without falling to the floor, and without vomiting - looking to the stars.
To integrate that experience, I read about whirling, dervishes, centre and circle. Well, for several years, the mandala was a theme for me. It may sound funny, but for me, wondering what this experience meant and what it had to tell me, it was logical to read a lot about the mandala, this symbol of integrating opposites, this symbol of going to the fringes of one's experience and coming back again to what is called an "normal waking consciousness".
So I used the philosophical level to work through something that knocked on my door as a pure physical thing. And it was a project of years.

I am telling you all this, because you say the trembling and shaking does not feel good.
If something knocks on our door, it is certainly not always wise to simply open the door. It may be wiser to ask who is there, or peep through a small glass in the door.

On a side note: In the last weeks, I experimented with having my attention more on the movement of the belly (with the breath) and less or not on the energies surrounding me. The first time I did that, I did not like that at all. Later I found I would have less kriya's if I kept my attention inside the body. (Which is different from what I had expected.)

Nicki

  • Guest
Re: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2013, 11:29:45 PM »
Renze,

thanks a lot for the clarification. It made things a lot clearer. I just tried to concentrate only on the breath, but the shaking didn´t stop. Anyhow if I meditate I will just to the breathing. I think that´s a good guideline.

Quardamon,

thanks so much for your insights and sharing your experiences. This approach is really wise and I think it could work the best. Just the thought of asking myself what it is and hearing to my body makes me feel released. It just feels good. The best experience with Yoga I had in my life was with a teacher who tought us to listen to our bodies. I think it is the most sensible thing to do.

I just tried to hear to my body and it felt really like the right thing to do. Trying to understand what my body wants with the shaking it could be more calmness and being good to myself.

Also thanks for the experience of your friend with Peter Levine. I think the problems come from traumatic experiences. Altough my life is really good right now, there is still some bad stuff underneath my skin. It is amazing how it becomes clear when you start looking at it. Although it is a ling process.

All the best
Nicki

barrec

  • Guest
Re: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2013, 11:56:27 PM »
I have noticed a similar sensation in my practice, though perhaps not to the extent you describe.  I feel a sensation almost like adrenaline throughout my body. It begins when I exhale, and the excitement causes various parts of my body to twitch (including my diaphragm). I am not sure what it is, but I try my best just to be an observer in the situation when it happens. The more I experience it, the more often I can feel it throughout the day, too. I can almost bring up the sensation on command, but it happens more frequently (and involuntarily) during meditation practice.

vinvinpassana

  • Guest
Re: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2013, 06:07:37 PM »
 Hi all,

I'm happy that I came on this thread. I learnt a lot.

I want to share my experience on shaking while meditating. In my case it happened first during my 3rd Goenka retreat, on the 6th day to be precise. I went directly to the teacher and was said that it was due to some "fears" and "anxiety" that I had to expel. He told me I could stay in my room if it helped, actually he had no problem with that contrary to what I read elsewhere concerning how Goenka school treats this kind of effects. Well, it was good I could stay apart, I was even lying down on my bed most of the day as the shaking was quite strong (whole body trembling, and very disordered movements of the hands/arms especially); very exhausting indeed ! After one day I start realizing that these movements were done in reaction to small muscular tensions; I managed to finally look at these tensions with less and less reactions, as vipassana taught us, and they finally slowly disappeared resulting in less and less shaking.

This was during the retreat and the last days were ok on that respect. Now, back home, the same happens as soon as I get concentrated on my body sensations, but I lost the training that I gained during the retreat to overcome that (feeling the small tensions and not reacting to them). I do not know if this is related to any fear/anxiety, if this will continue or not, but it's true it's not easy to manage (especially in group meditation). But apparently there's no "cure", so just observe ! Any new advice would be very much appreciated tough.

I finish with this extract from Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha (from Daniel Ingram) which may help some of you (from "the 3 characteristics" stage description) :
"There may be odd bodily twistings, obsession with posture, and painful tensions or strange other sensations, particularly in the back, neck, jaw and shoulders. These tensions may persist when not meditating and be quite irritating and even debilitating. The rhomboid and trapezius muscles are the most common offenders. It is common to try to sit with good posture and then find one’s body twisting into some odd and painful position. You straighten out, and soon enough it does it again. That’s a very Three Characteristics sort of pattern. People sometimes describe these feelings as some powerful energy that is blocked and seems wants to get out or move through. "
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/MCTB%203.%20The%20Three%20Characteristics

focusing

  • Guest
Re: Trembling and Shaking whilst Meditating
« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2013, 06:48:04 PM »
Renze,

thanks a lot for the clarification. It made things a lot clearer. I just tried to concentrate only on the breath, but the shaking didn´t stop. Anyhow if I meditate I will just to the breathing. I think that´s a good guideline.


I guess it´s important, that you dont want to stop the shaking and ofcourse this attitude is very hard to achieve. I have the same problem like you, but i could somehow handle it (sometimes) when i just keep on meditating - and not to think "i have to focus on my breath", "i have to focus on the rest of my body" neither "i have to be with my jerks". These are all reactions to your jerks. I try to tell myself "ok, there are the jerks and ok maybe you dont like them or they annoy you, but you dont have to identify with them, you dont have to react to them.. just keep being ;)". But i know.. it´s pretty hard