Author Topic: What to do when you cant feel your breath?  (Read 3886 times)

Pulgasari

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What to do when you cant feel your breath?
« on: May 23, 2013, 09:26:49 AM »
I have been meditating for a few months now and I have been focusing on the feeling of my breath travelling in and out of my nostrils. However often my breath will become so soft and shallow that I can no longer feel anything.

At this point I am at a loss for what to do as I no longer have an object of consciousness to focus my attention on.

I have also tried performing the meditation by focusing on my stomache instead of my breath but I experience the same problem.

What to do when my breath has become so soft/shallow that I can no longer feel it?

redalert

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Re: What to do when you cant feel your breath?
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2013, 10:57:29 AM »
Take a couple of forced hard breaths, locate the touch of breath and begin again. See if you can locate a single point where the breath touches on both the in and out breath and focus on this point.

Matthew

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Re: What to do when you cant feel your breath?
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2013, 11:12:37 AM »
This could be down to poor posture, poor technique or a number of other issues. When you say your practice is Vipassana where did you learn it? What is it?
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Dharmic Tui

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Re: What to do when you cant feel your breath?
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2013, 03:35:15 PM »
I believe redalert is talking from the perspective of the Goenka school, so obviously the advice will vary on this subject. My interpretation of the Pali canon is that eventually you should see a letting go of body sensations including the feeling of the breath, getting closer towards a jhana. Once you lose the breath, sit there, let go, and wait (but not expect) for whatever arises next.

Or maybe play with both concepts for what works for you. There's more than one way to pet a cat.

Mikeler

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Re: What to do when you cant feel your breath?
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2013, 06:25:48 PM »
I thought focusing on the breath through the nostrils is poor technique?

I don't have this issue with focusing on the breath through the abdomen falling and rising, personally.

redalert

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Re: What to do when you cant feel your breath?
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2013, 12:17:43 AM »
I believe redalert is talking from the perspective of the Goenka school, so obviously the advice will vary on this subject. My interpretation of the Pali canon is that eventually you should see a letting go of body sensations including the feeling of the breath, getting closer towards a jhana. Once you lose the breath, sit there, let go, and wait (but not expect) for whatever arises next.


Yes, the breath is the bridge that leads one from the conscious to the sub-conscious, at a certain point the breath will disapear and one will enter this sub-conscious reality. I interpreted from the OP that there was a lack of concentration, the breath had become natural and subtle and there was an inability to follow it. If this is the case take a couple of forced breaths relocate the touch of breath and begin again. If concentration is strong then a successful crossing to the sub-conscious will have taken place and a new meditation object can be observed.

Renze

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Re: What to do when you cant feel your breath?
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2013, 11:54:36 AM »
I thought focusing on the breath through the nostrils is poor technique?

I don't have this issue with focusing on the breath through the abdomen falling and rising, personally.

It works for some people, I know Pa Auk Sayadaw teaches focusing on the nostrils as well, and people seem to be getting into very deep states of samadhi with it. However, the Buddha never taught to focus on just the nostrils, or just the belly. He said to focus on the entire body. I'd say do whatever feels right to you.

Matthew

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Re: What to do when you cant feel your breath?
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2013, 07:37:07 PM »
It works for some people, I know Pa Auk Sayadaw teaches focusing on the nostrils as well, and people seem to be getting into very deep states of samadhi with it. However, the Buddha never taught to focus on just the nostrils, or just the belly. He said to focus on the entire body. I'd say do whatever feels right to you.

many teach this. it comes from an error in translation from Pali, 'Paramukham' meaning to fully face (oneself mindfully) - usually mistranslated to around the face. thus people end up focusing on noses and upper lips and where the air hits, but the Buddha expressly teaches awareness of the entire body as sensations are created by the process of breathing. it's important as it reconnects and calms body and mind.
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Billymac629

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Re: What to do when you cant feel your breath?
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2013, 02:00:24 AM »
I have been meditating for a few months now and I have been focusing on the feeling of my breath travelling in and out of my nostrils. However often my breath will become so soft and shallow that I can no longer feel anything.

At this point I am at a loss for what to do as I no longer have an object of consciousness to focus my attention on.

I have also tried performing the meditation by focusing on my stomache instead of my breath but I experience the same problem.

What to do when my breath has become so soft/shallow that I can no longer feel it?
Move to a location where you can experience the breath most prominently.  This could be the nostrils or upper lip, the chest or maybe the abdomen. 
You may also try going through different points of the body and see where the breath feels most pleasant.   
Also i agree with Matthew that feeling the entire body while breathing was the Buddha's teaching.  Try do sense the whole body breathing (even through the skin), this calms the body and helps with calming body fabrications.
 Good luck   ;)
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Billymac629

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Re: What to do when you cant feel your breath?
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2013, 02:01:22 AM »
taking a few deep breaths to re-establish yourself with the breath can help also
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Delma54

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Re: What to do when you cant feel your breath?
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2013, 06:34:53 AM »
You only practice for few months. It could be what you are getting is Dullness, sluggish & you loose your meditation object. Try getting up, walk a little, put fresh water in your face then, sit back again & keep working with the breath in & out ;)