Author Topic: Saliva and coughing while doing Anapana meditation  (Read 328 times)

cool-RR

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Saliva and coughing while doing Anapana meditation
« on: June 06, 2018, 10:02:07 AM »
Hi everyone!

I'm new on these forums, and for years I had a problem that I don't know how to solve. I'm thinking that maybe someone here could give me helpful information.

I've been doing Vipassana on-and-off for 13 years. I did two 10-day courses, and I meditate often in my daily life.

Sometimes I like to start my Vipassana session with Anapana. (i.e. concentrating on breath rather than other sensations.) This is very helpful for me to increase my concentration ability, because with Anapana it's much easier to notice when my thoughts have strayed and bring me back to concentration. After practicing Anapana for a while, I get into deeper concentration and then move on to have a good Vipassana session.

My problem: Often when I do Anapana meditation, I have a need to cough. Sometimes I cough, which interrupts my concentration, hoping that I can forget about it and continue my meditation. But then I need to cough again a minute later. Sometimes I'll try to hold in the cough, but it starts becoming very hard. I feel phlegm accumulating in my throat, and saliva accumulating in my mouth. I try ignoring that too, but (a) the sensation is very unpleasant and (b) my mouth becomes full of saliva, and then I either need to swallow or spit it, both options breaking my concentration.

I went to the doctor about my coughing problem, but after a few tests there was no indication about what might be causing it.

Note that I think the Anapana meditation increases the coughing and related unpleasantness. I don't cough as much when I'm not meditating, or when I'm doing Vipassana.

Does anyone have any idea what I can do to stop the coughing from interrupting my meditation?


Thanks for your help,
Ram.

dharma bum

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Re: Saliva and coughing while doing Anapana meditation
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2018, 04:02:15 PM »
when this happens to me, it is usually a sign that i'm not breathing in accordance to my natural rhythm.
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cool-RR

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Re: Saliva and coughing while doing Anapana meditation
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2018, 04:53:42 PM »
Thanks for your answer, Mr. Dharma Bum! I'll think about that.

If anyone else has more thoughts, I'll be happy to hear them!

stillpointdancer

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Re: Saliva and coughing while doing Anapana meditation
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2018, 11:02:00 AM »
Thanks for your answer, Mr. Dharma Bum! I'll think about that.

If anyone else has more thoughts, I'll be happy to hear them!

It was the bane of my life at one time. I'd go red in the face and start sweating trying not to cough. Sometimes it would work, and I'd go through to the other side, where I didn't need to cough any more, but there were occasions where, like some others, I had to leave the shrine room and have a good cough away from the group.

It may have been the incense, or pollen from flowers, or from pollution as I drove to the center, or something to do with my health at the time. It is certainly compounded by concentrating on the breath and how the breath feels as it moves in and out. I gradually developed strategies to clear my throat silently, or to swallow in time to stop the back of the throat starting to 'tickle', or to concentrate on counting rather than the breath itself.

One or two people (of thirty or so meditating together) would always take in a glass of water to stop this happening, and that was OK for our center as we weren't too obsessed with working through the pain or through other distractions.
 
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

chin

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Re: Saliva and coughing while doing Anapana meditation
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2018, 08:31:25 AM »
I've experienced this occasionally. It seems to me that it's excessive saliva/mucus in the back of my throat that slides down into the wind pipe as the throat muscles start relaxing during meditation, causing me to cough. Usually drinking water before the sitting has helped.

VipassanaXYZ

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Re: Saliva and coughing while doing Anapana meditation
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2018, 05:03:58 PM »
It will go away with time