I had a quick question regarding something that happens to me during meditation.

Sometimes, when I meditate, I begin to overheat to the point of discomfort. I usually meditate sitting up in my bed; I have tried making sure there are no covers on me, changing clothes and turning down the heat/turning on a fan in my apartment. Why do I overheat like this during meditation? I usually have a good focus and then the heat comes and breaks my concentration. I typically meditate later at night if that matters, somewhere between 8pm-12am, because that’s when I start winding down for the day.

Andy’s answer:

Yeah, overheating during meditation is quite a common experience, as is rapidly cooling down. When we sit to meditate, the body and mind are coming together in a way that they often don’t during the rest of the day. As a result, some people will feel tired, some will feel energized, some will feel hot and some will feel cold.

Though not always the case, it is often down to emotion. Take a moment to think when you last felt really angry or upset. What did it feel like in the body? My guess is it felt pretty hot. Compare that to feeling anxious or scared, which may have led to the body feeling quite cold. Our emotions are integrally linked to the temperature sensations we experience.

Sometimes these emotions are current, relating to things that are going on in our life right now. But sometimes, through the process of meditation, we unearth older emotions which have yet to be processed for whatever reason. Experiencing the feeling is simply part of letting go of those emotions. Now, it depends on the situation and person, but often we are not even aware of the thoughts related to these old emotions, instead experiencing them simply as physical sensations or temperature changes.

The time of day won’t make too much difference, but you may find that it happens a little less first thing in the morning before the mind has gotten up to speed. As much as possible though, just allow it to wash over you, knowing that there is a useful process at work.

Warm wishes,