Author Topic: Shallow breathing the key?  (Read 1123 times)

John Bruzi

  • Member
  • I don't seek happiness, I just seek control.
    • Mindfulness
Shallow breathing the key?
« on: May 07, 2018, 08:04:19 PM »
As I move on with my practice I seem to learn more about my breathing and how it affects my meditations. My most recent discovery is that the shallower my breathing, the deeper my meditation is and the more "progress" I see with my practice. But it isn't a deliberate form of shallow breathing where I am consciously stopping myself from breathing vigorously, in fact, it's quite the opposite. It seems to me that when awareness is initially brought to the breath one can find it hard not to consciously intervene and breath hard.

I'm not sure if I'm doing controlled breathing without realizing or if control is in fact the thing that I have been able to suspend. This "shallow" breathing is reminiscent of the breathing of a sleeping person, and this is what makes it seem natural to me.

I really hope I'm not just mistaking low oxygen levels in my blood hence the "high" for a genuine meditative trance!


  • Member
  • less is more
    • Vipassana, Zen, Chan
Re: Shallow breathing the key?
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2018, 10:53:38 PM »
Fits with my experience! And honestly, although I usually emphasize "not controling" the breath, I do in fact breathe a little softer intentionally. And I'm not so much concerned about controlling or not anymore, I guess I use a kind of subtler "control" at certain times. I might be totally wrong though?...


  • Vipassana meditator
  • Member
  • A human, being.
    • S N Goenka, Vipassana
Re: Shallow breathing the key?
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2018, 12:09:47 PM »
I came across this yesterday: (Equanimity: A Breathless Stillness by Ajahn Sona)
In this talk, he describes the first Jhana and how whilst in it his breath is so subtle that it is probably only happening 2.5 times minute.
So, yes, even though controlling breath is not advised by many, being able to reduce the rate in which you do so is probably key to more serene states.


  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Shallow breathing the key?
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2018, 02:15:59 PM »

The brain uses an estimated 20% of our total energy. In meditation one calms the mind. Thus energy need is reduced. The body is also relatively still and relaxed. Even less need for energy. The demand to metabolise blood sugars to feed actions of body and mind is therefore reduced.

Shallow breathing is, I suspect, a reflection of these reduced metabolic needs. It is not wise to force shallow breathing (though doing so one can control both heart rate and blood pressure, for example) but as with all things in meditation, tread that fine line betweeen awareness and control.


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


  • Member
    • vipassana
Re: Shallow breathing the key?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2018, 01:45:57 AM »
When I started I was focused on my breathing. This I think (for me at least) ultimately didn't lead to where I am now as I'm only able to enter into a trance like state when I'm *not* focused on my breathing. It does indeed get noticeably shallower. But as I'm still new to this, I'm not yet convinced even entering this trance state is totally helpful in the first place...

But then focusing on my breathing was helpful too I think, for other things, so I think it's a matter of what is good for you individually or what you want out of it.
"Not knowing how near the truth is, we seek it far away."
-Hakuin Ekaku

"I have seen a heap of trouble in my life, and most of it has never come to pass" - Mark Twain


Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
3 Replies
Last post July 08, 2010, 03:06:17 PM
by alphawavedave
0 Replies
Last post January 03, 2012, 10:04:01 AM
by Morning Dew
40 Replies
Last post November 08, 2018, 05:32:28 PM
by savethelastbreathforme
2 Replies
Last post March 07, 2013, 12:27:43 AM
by lsamson
3 Replies
Last post July 10, 2015, 02:28:52 PM
by dhammagirl
1 Replies
Last post October 28, 2016, 10:23:26 PM
by Nicky
23 Replies
Last post December 19, 2016, 06:36:38 AM
by TheJourney