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Meditation/Numbness During Meditation


BrokenTrain wrote at 2007-11-24 02:57:54
I know this question was written a while ago but I couldn't help responding. This same thing happens to me!

I occasionally get those numbing feelings exactly as described. There's a sense of claustrophobia that accompanies this odd sort of all-encompassing pressure like I'm expanding without leeway to actually expand. My limbs feel like pieces of wood. Hard and living, but not 'right.'

I experienced this fairly regularly when I was a kid trying to fall asleep and it comes back once in a while under the same circumstances. It drove me nuts. And then it started happening while meditating.

It can happen while lying down or sitting up. It only really goes away when you move around and think about something else.

Recently I've been learning to sit with it and watch it with curiosity. If you can disassociate your stress from the feeling then it can become more bearable and eventually lessen.

I suspect it has something to do with a buildup or blockage somewhere. So I recommend investigating it as it happens for as long as you can stay calm. I have a suspicion that it can teach something... I'm not sure what right now. Patience at the very least. It's a yucky sensation.



maya wrote at 2009-01-02 12:32:53
I'm sorry if I'm adding to the same question here rather than the answer.  I have exactly the same experience when I meditate lying and then I fall asleep. I relax my whole body  beginning from head to toe or vice versa. And then I slowly go "half-asleep". Im still aware of what is happening but then suddenly when I come back to consciousness, I realize my whole body is numbed.It's really a frightening sensation and you do feel claustrophobic. Similarly, in sitting meditation, my hands sometimes just go numb as I rest them in the arms rest or even in my lap.

Over the years, I've been trying to be calm and just feel it and learn what I may learn from it. So far, I'm still puzzled by this.

If somebody can answer this please. Thanks a lot.

Ryan WW wrote at 2009-11-08 03:38:56
It seems the responses here are few and far between but I will contribute that I also experience this sensation when meditating, although I've determined (for me, at least) that it's not a 'numbness', as it were. I used to get this sensation as a child with the flu, after having a temp of 106F (maybe a trigger?). I cease to get the flu anymore, well no more than for 24-36 hrs. Anyways, I rediscovered this sensation years back during meditation, only lying down with eyes closed. I "stretch time/space around me" as if to travel extremely fast (through my eyelids :P) and after disassociating all sound and feeling, I get that sensation.  If I continue to disassociate that sensation, I end up looking through a grey circle that turns a vivid white and an image of some sort appears (never the same) and then abruptly 'awaken'(never was asleep).  That phenomenon has only happened to me 3 times, as it's increasingly difficult to trigger.  I'm sure this doesn't solve what the sensation is, unless it's sensing your sub-conscience or something of that nature (that's my theory).  Hopefully, though,  I have provided some insight to the overall scheme of things here and will bookmark this page and occasionally check it for new additions.  (Perhaps we who experience this are genetically built different, and I move to create a community where we can solve this/these phenomena and learn more about our own minds).

Bernie wrote at 2010-01-26 06:56:26
NO way.

A few times i have meditated, i also experience the same feelings i have had during childhood with a fever. I had no idea anyone else had experience this.  

Neel wrote at 2011-01-09 01:29:22
You can follow this link ( to see the video.

I have also learned that there is some sort of energy, which flows around the body during meditation ;if the flow of that particular energy is blocked then you get this sensation. Hope this helps :)

shekhoo raja wrote at 2013-07-25 08:14:52
I was searching on google for thing as this has been happening to me also. At times, when I am lying in the bed deep in thought, I suddenly realize that my body is not responding. Its as if its not there. For once, I tried staying that way, but the more I stay, I feel that I am going deeper into this state am I freak out totally. Its terribly frightening, it feels as if I am drowning some where and may not be able to able to come back.

To get out of this, I try to shake my head or blinking my eyes. As this is only part that is under some control. But even this does not happen easily.

I want to know what to do about it. Its interesting and freaky at the same time. I want to go deeper and find out what happens, but I dont want to take the risk.  

Mike wrote at 2015-01-14 08:41:34
Sleep paralysis, when your body sleeps, but the mind is awake.

Often feeling numb and unable to move. Deep controlled breathing will help you out of this state.


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Jay Cutts


From nearly 30 years of personal meditative work, I am interested in exploring together the deeper concerns of our lives. How can we shed light on these concerns for ourselves - directly, clearly, moment by moment? At the same time, how can we come in touch with the simple beauty and affection of live that reveals itself from time to time even though our lives often feel anything but simple, beautiful or loving. If you have a question, I will try to work with you to clarify and explore it. Note that I change private questions to public so they are available to others. If you have something that is truly private, let me know.


Close to 35 yrs experience in spiritual, meditative inquiry, first in the Zen tradition and later through direct inquiry rather than traditional practice. I have attended retreats and worked with Toni Packer, of the Springwater (NY) Center for Meditative Inquiry and am interested in the work of J. Krishnamurti, who also worked with people in direct, personal meditative inquiry.

BA Linguistics University of Michigan MA Special Education University of New Mexico

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