Author Topic: Weird sensations in the face during meditation  (Read 18042 times)


Weird sensations in the face during meditation
« on: August 06, 2008, 09:30:43 PM »
A couple of months ago I went to a 10 days course and started doing anapana and vipassana meditation. Now I meditate 1-2 hours a day.  One thing that puzzles me is that I have some strange sensations in my face, especially during anapana meditation.  In my nostrils, upper lip and cheeks I have a feeling of numbness, itching, pressure or burning.  These sensations often move in the face and change their nature. The sensations start almost immediately when I close my eyes and start breathing. They make it more difficult to feel my breath.  The sensations sometimes continue after the morning meditation and may last the whole day. A funny thing is that if I touch my face with my hand, the sensations immediately go away.

So my question is: am I doing something wrong, maybe trying too hard? Is there some way to get rid of the sensations? Or should I just consider this a great opportunity to practice equanimity?


Re: Weird sensations in the face during meditation
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2008, 11:39:36 PM »
I'm no guru in this but I guess a Vipassana teacher would tell you "Just observe equanimously!". Sensations are here to arise and pass away, observe that nature of theirs with a calm and mindful spirit!  :) :) :)

Fellow Vipassana-meditators, please correct me if I'm wrong!


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Re: Weird sensations in the face during meditation
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2008, 08:18:53 AM »

Sorry for the late answer. During the calming stages of your practice have you ever tried placing your attention on the gentle rise and fall of your belly?

I suggest this because the joining of body and mind is fundamental to meditation. The attention on the nostrils means attention is directly carried to the brain by the facial nerves which are cranial nerves and therefore the attention is cut from the body. By focusing on the belly rising and falling during calming stages attention is carried through the nervous system of the torso through the spinal chord and the Vagus nerve which is a cranial nerve direct into the brain which gives the brain signals about the viscera or internal muscles and organs of the body. This nerve joins a large plexus of nerves above the stomach which stem from the spinal chord and lead to the abdominal area. Thus focussing on the belly you koin body and mind during calming stages.

The weird feelings are probably because by doing Anapana on the nostrils you are cutting off from  you body and your body is what needs attention. Then there is a build up of energy which manifests in this hyper-awareness of your face. And then when you touch your face, joining body and mind, the sensation dissipates.

So instead of building this sensation through a technique which is not suited to your needs, focus your attention on the rise and fall of the belly during your meditation which you will find much more effective.

In the Dhamma,

« Last Edit: August 31, 2008, 08:19:38 AM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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Re: Weird sensations in the face during meditation
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2008, 08:53:21 PM »

the answers of Matthew bear a high percentage of wisdom, but I'd suggest you stay with the technique you learned (wich is the same as I learned). Or you decide to learn Matthews technique, but I wouldn't mix different "styles".

If you stick to the "Goenka-Style", then, yes, observe, nothing more. Let it itch & stay equanimous. Let it burn and focus on the touch of the breath again. If the sensations distract you, then so be it - stay equanimous, try again. Don't touch the sensations in your face to get rid of them - no aversion, remember!

As for any sensations that "remain" ... don't worry! they have been here all the time, but your sensibility increased. So, what to do about them? Right: observe them equanimously, nothing more, nothing less. Don't try to get rid of them ... no aversion ... the sensations will pass eventually, anicca, anicca, anicca ...

With Metta, Stefan
« Last Edit: September 20, 2008, 08:55:26 PM by stefan »


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