Common Experiences during Meditation

Some things you may Experience during Meditation and Relaxation Practice

It is natural to experience some sensations during meditation…

Feeling sensations and having thoughts during meditation is perfectly natural and to be expected.

Through the stillness of meditation and quietening of relaxation, we begin to witness how we are responding to life with our thoughts and feeling responses, and we become more aware of tension in our bodies.

Try to allow your to just “be” with your experience, which may include everything from tingling feelings in the body, heat, heaviness and sleepiness, to physical aches, thoughts, emotional release and hopefully, deep relaxation.

Each moment in meditation is always healing. Your body, mind, and emotions take exactly what it needs from your practice and the shifts in energy and space created during relaxation allow for detoxing, cleansing and emotional release.

Feel free to share your experiences after an exercise or at the end of class if you have any concerns.

Silhouette of yoga woman meditating on the ocean beach. Fitness. Healthy lifestyle.

What Happens While We Meditate

Although there are a variety of sensations that you can experience during meditation, in reality, only four things happen during meditation:

  • 1 You have awareness of your mantra or the focus of your meditation.
  • 2 You experience thoughts or sensations (see below)
  • 3 You fall asleep.
  • 4 You enter the stillness between thoughts, commonly referred to as “the gap.”

We don’t try to get rid of thoughts or do anything with them – that only creates more mental turbulence. Instead, just keep returning your attention to the mantra or guidance.

As you meditate on a regular basis, cultivating inner quiet, the time you spend in the gap during meditation will increase.

Tears and Crying During Meditation

Crying during meditation indicates that within your body, mind, emotions, unresolved sadness and loss is waiting for an opportunity to be released. Meditation may provide the space and opportunity for that release.

You may find that as you travel through your day you may continue to have emotions and sometimes even tears once the release has been initiated. This is very healing for your physical body, mind emotional self. Be very gentle with yourself and know that you are actually detoxifying through this process.

Difficulty Staying Awake

Go ahead and let yourself sleep if you feel a strong urge to nod off during meditation. It’s not a good idea for force yourself to stay alert. Even if you don’t have a sleep deficit from the night, sometimes you can go through a period of meditation where your body requires an experience of sleep in order to release a particular quality of conditioning. 

Spontaneous Movement or Twitching

As the mind settles down in meditation, the body follows it in terms of getting deeper rest, softer breathing, and lower metabolic rate. And whenever the body gets an opportunity for profound rest, it takes that opportunity to clear away whatever old tensions and traumas there may be stored away from the past. Typically these stresses are physically released during meditation with little perceptible movement, but sometimes, when the conditioning or stress is imprinted more deeply, then you may experience periods of more pronounced or exaggerated physical movement in meditation while the body is being healed.

Twitching or other physical movements during meditation are commonplace and nothing to worry about. The important thing is to just “be” with the process. It is better that you are clearing the accumulated stress, and not storing it.

Ticklish or itching Sensations

Because the mind and body are so closely connected, when the mind experiences more expansion in meditation, the body gains a deep enough state of rest to normalize any imbalances that may be stored in the body. Experiencing a ticklish sensation in your heart or body just means that some normalization is occurring there, allowing for a more full expression of your emotions. The sense of anxiety or fear is a by-product of that clearing process. Itching is also common.

Waves of Energy, Pain, and Headaches

Some may feel waves of energy pass through during meditation, as if something is moving and releasing. When you relax you become more aware of where you are holding tension in your body. This movement may be the start of a letting-go process and it’s possible for there to be some discomfort in the body as the physical structure learns to let go of it.

As your body relaxes into its natural state, the headaches and pain will begin to dissipate.

If you feel what you are experiencing is a medical condition, do not hesitate to visit a medical professional for support.

Feelings of Heat or coolness

Again as the body begins to relax, tension and blockages are released and energy is shifting. Sometimes you may experience this as changes in body temperature and this is perfectly normal.

Joint and Muscular Pain

If you have an injury or condition, modify your body position during meditation to accommodate your body. It is not uncommon for some to experience joint and muscular pain in meditation as past trauma stored within is being released.

The discomfort will pass when the stored stresses have been cleared away.

Gentle movement, such as walking and yoga, before and after meditation will assist the body as it lets go of the old pain. A nice hot bath in Epsom salts can also help the detoxification and soothing process.

If the pain persists, visit your medical practitioner to determine if the physical pain is organic and requires medical attention.

Feelings of Expansion

These feelings of expansion are quite common in meditators. As awareness becomes more refined and abstract, it is as if the spatial boundaries and orientation of the body can feel distended or distorted. So we might feel very tall or massive or tilted or turned. Sometimes people report that their body feels incredibly dense and foreign to them. These are all normal meditation sensations as a consequence of the mind experiencing more subtle realms of thought.

Time Distortion

As a rule your sense of time may be distorted during meditation and relaxation and time can seem to pass up to two and a half times faster or slower than reality.

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