Author Topic: Exhaustion and tightness in chest after meditating.  (Read 1354 times)

Peter93

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Exhaustion and tightness in chest after meditating.
« on: April 09, 2017, 07:49:15 PM »
Hello members,

My name is Peter i have been on a journey trying to implement meditation in my daily life for a while now. At first i would start out with 30 minute or longer sessions but that turned out to be unsustainable for me. Now im doing sessions of 2 minutes a day until i feel my body is adjusted, and then i will add minutes to the duration. I practice meditation by sitting upright on a chair without leaning back or slouching. But i noticed that after a few days of meditating 2 minutes a day i feel exhausted and i have this feeling around my chest, this sort of tightness. So i got scared that it might be something to do with my health and i havent practised meditation since. I feared that if i continued it would be bad for my health. But im really happy with the mental improvement meditation offers, so i really want to practise it. Im just worried about the exhaustion and feeling around the chest. So does this sound familiar to anyone? Is this normal? Do i need to see a doctor? Any advice for this is welcome! Oh and as to the type of meditation i practise, i practise vipassana meditation.

~Peter93

Laurent

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Re: Exhaustion and tightness in chest after meditating.
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2017, 10:26:10 PM »
Hello,

It may be linked to several things. Efforts in the physical posture, forced deep respiration, anxiety, excessive worry about the bothering area, health issue, other things i don't know, it is difficult to say.
Maybe you should first see a doctor by principle to eliminate this possiblilty and then be more tranquil during your meditation.

Secondly you should examine yourself about your current practice and see if you don't do too much efforts. Your physical posture should be relaxed, don't erect your back too strong. It is important not to insist on posture in meditation because it can be counter productive. Posture tends to improve itself with mind improvement due to meditation. Set up a reasonable posture and forget it.

When practising, don't accord more importance to the bothering area because this should develop stress and increase the feeling of unpleasance. Practice normally regarding this area like others.
When you feel your mind very calm, unfeared, you can focus observation to this area some time, and then come back to your usual practice. It is very important that you understand WHILE practising that the goal is to calm the mind and develop patience and tolerance with unpleasant things. This implies that you should notice your time of practice should increase naturally.

Good luck.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2017, 10:51:37 PM by Laurent »

BeHereNow

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Re: Exhaustion and tightness in chest after meditating.
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2017, 04:29:20 PM »
Hi Peter,

I've been working with exhaustion and tightness in the chest since I started meditating about 10 years ago.  For me, I've observed a tightness and fear that is often present, and leads me to constrict around the chest.  It is work to keep up this tension, and I notice that it is actually quite exhausting.  For me, it has to do with not being able to relax fully into the present moment, always trying to be somewhere else or someone else.

Noticing these things is actually a great benefit of practice.  We are walking around tight and tired anyways, we just don't notice it until we stop and take a look at ourselves, just as we are.  With practice, we can start softening the tension, and making choices that will allow for more rest. 

Matthew's instructions on this site have really helped me to work with the tension and tiredness.  Breathing in, notice the tension, but also have the intention to calm the body.  This is restful, and gives you permission to open, on your own time.  Eventually you will find other tensions, feelings and thoughts about yourself, the world and others.  With these you also observe them and let them go.  You can do this work not just on the cushion, but throughout the day.

The trick is to not attempt to make these to go away, but work with them.  Become curious, remain focused on breath, and trust the process.

Much metta,
Paula

"You are the Sky.  Everything else is just the weather." - Pema Chodron

Matthew

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Re: Exhaustion and tightness in chest after meditating.
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2017, 04:36:18 PM »
Quote
Matthew's instructions on this site have really helped me to work with the tension and tiredness.  Breathing in, notice the tension, but also have the intention to calm the body.  This is restful, and gives you permission to open, on your own time.  Eventually you will find other tensions, feelings and thoughts about yourself, the world and others.  With these you also observe them and let them go.  You can do this work not just on the cushion, but throughout the day.

The trick is to not attempt to make these to go away, but work with them.  Become curious, remain focused on breath, and trust the process.

Well put Paula. It's good to know the instructions have aided you.

There is also something many people overlook which is the way our sedentary lifestyles do not support the practice. This is something that may be relevant to your post Peter. It is important to have some regular exercise that strengthens the back muscles. Swimming is good for this. Generally our lifestyle these days leaves the back muscles weakened - this can become clear in practice as you finally notice how the chest is tight. The answer can be simply strengthening the back.
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Peter93

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Re: Exhaustion and tightness in chest after meditating.
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2017, 08:40:37 PM »
Hello everyone,

Thanks alot for your reponses. I read all three very carefully and there is plenty of wisdom in there that might help me continue my practise. I think what i will do is first try to persist through the feeling like Paula said: trust the process. And if it that doesnt work i will look into putting less focus into my posture and / or strengthening my back muscles. Thanks everyone, i'll keep you updated on my findings during this process.

~Peter93

Peter93

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Re: Exhaustion and tightness in chest after meditating.
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2017, 01:24:20 PM »
Hi members,

Just thought i'd give an update as to how im progressing, maybe its useful for someone else. So i was always sitting upright using my upper back muscles. But now i came across this great site (not sure if i can post links here) but it said that during meditation you should erect your lower back muscles and not the upper back muscles. So now im trying to use my lower back muscles instead. So far i havent had any tightness in chest or fatique yet so it seems to be working.

~Peter93

LoneWolf

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Re: Exhaustion and tightness in chest after meditating.
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2017, 11:16:41 PM »
Hi Peter,

I have a similar tightness in my chest which I became aware of during meditation. It turned out to be posture related for me...I had some vertebrae that were out of place...was actually helped by exercises for my posture.

If it isn't posture related, then perhaps it is a body sensation related to your emotions...which is normal...in which case I would say be equanimous to the sensation.