Achieving breathless state in meditation


Hello. I been doing meditation for a few days now, and I think I reached the breathless stage every time I meditated. I say this because I stop breathing towards the middle of meditation, and then I feel my chest getting bigger. I just want to know if this is what happens when you reach the breathless stage?

—Good Fella, USA


Dear Friend,

Thank you for your question. It is amazing to hear that you are going into a breathless state every time you meditate, especially if you have only been meditating for a few days! Usually it takes much longer for something like that to happen to meditators. What a great blessing for you!

How long do you remain breathless?

Regarding your feeling of your chest getting bigger, that would be one of many things one might feel when being breathless. It is probably a symbol of the expansion of your consciousness and the love of the heart growing larger and more devotional also. But generally speaking, when you are breathless, your mind is no longer having conscious thoughts of any kind, such as “my chest seems to be getting bigger.” So this is a little puzzling. That is why I asked you how long you are feeling this state to be happening. Is this feeling of chest expanding during or after breathlessness happens?

The breathless state is talked about often by the great yogi masters. It is one (but not the only one) of the goals of meditation practice. It is not something which is forced in any way — in other words you are not making it happen by holding your breath or something like that. It is an natural outcome of quieting the breath and mind.

On the path of Kriya Yoga as taught by Paramhansa Yogananda, one of the techniques which we practice daily is the Hong-Sau technique of concentration, in which we observe our breath and begin to enjoy the slowing of the breath and the mind, by extension. Eventually, we go into the pauses between the breath which are small experiences of the breathless state. Often they only last a few seconds, but they feel blissful. By practicing going into a breathless state over and over again, we disconnect from the restlessness of our minds and dwell in the land of true peace.

Hoping this is what you are asking about. Please feel free to ask more if I have not answered your question satisfactorily.