by Headspace » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:44 pm


I often hyperventilate in everyday life without even realizing it. This results in tingling in the face, hands, and sometimes legs.

My normal breathing pattern is to breathe in a shallow way, but if I take fuller, deeper breaths, for example while meditating, hyperventilation occurs. The tingling sensation is quite uncomfortable and triggers anxiety.
Even if I don't take deep breaths, just focusing my attention on breath makes me alter it without realizing it and again, I hyperventilate.

I find myself unable to only observe the breath. How can I let go of controlling it ?

Andy's Answer

Yeah, this can occasionally happen with some people. It's almost like a hypersensitivity which plays out between the body and mind - with the breath connecting the two.

If you want to continue using the breath, then you should lie down flat on the floor, with your legs bent at 90 degrees, and the feet flat on the floor too. Place your hand on your stomach and just stay with that feeling/movement, without any kind of force.

For some people, this makes a big difference, but if that's not the case for you, then you should try and use a different object for meditation. From what you describe, I would suggest something external. Perhaps a nice round pebble. Simply place it in front of you on the floor and gently focus your attention on it. Do not stare, simply 'rest' the gaze on the pebble. And when you realise the mind has wandered off, simply refocus and bring your attention back again.
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