Feeling Sensations and Pressure During Meditation

Question

I'm doing meditation and yoga from 1 month. I feel some pressure and tingling in my forehead and sometimes feel heat in my body and sometimes cold in my body. What is its meaning? What happened in my inner body?

—Aparana Arjariya, India

Answer

Dear Aparana,

In meditation we are offering all of our energy inward and upward into the Divine Presence. Especially when we are new at meditation, we may experience a variety of sensations, which can include the pressure, tingling and temperature changes that you describe. Some of these sensations may be due to lingering body tension resulting from insufficient relaxation. Often these sensations are temporary.

Relaxation is an essential aspect of meditation. You mention that you do yoga. If you are doing hatha yoga poses prior to meditating (which can be very helpful) be sure to end your yoga postures with several minutes of deep relaxation in savasana, the corpse pose. As you lie on your back on the floor mentally slowly scan through your body relaxing all of the body parts from toes all the way to the top of the head. Swami Kriyananda gave an affirmation for this pose, which you can repeat mentally as you do the pose. ‘Bones, muscles, movement I surrender now; anxiety, elation, depression, churning thoughts—all these I give into the hands of peace.’ If you feel cool while doing this pose, you can cover yourself with a light blanket.

During your actual meditation time, direct your relaxation in inward from all outward involvement in the world and upward to the point between the eyebrows, the center of divine awareness. As you practice your meditation techniques tune into deep calmness and peace. If you would like to sit to meditate but do not have time or the place to practice savasana you can do two simple preliminary techniques while you are sitting in your meditation seat to relax the body. First inhale and tense all of the muscles of the body and then throw the breath out forcefully, relaxing all of the muscles. You can use a ‘double breath’ with this: Double inhale through the nose, a short followed by a long inhale, and tense the muscles. Double exhale through the mouth, a short followed by a long exhale, as you relax the muscles. Do this 3 times (or even a few more) to help you relax. Next, you can practice measured breathing. As you inhale mentally count to a number such as 4 or 6 or 8 or longer (whatever is a comfortable number for your breath span). Then hold the breath for the same number of counts. Then exhale for the same number of counts and repeat. This breath is entirely through the nose and should be gentle, not forced. Keep your awareness are the point between the eyebrows. You can gently gaze upward toward that point with your eyelids closed. Tune into your energy flowing more inward and upward as you do measured breathing. You can do 4-6 rounds of this breath or whatever feels comfortable.

These techniques should help you relax as preparation for use of your meditation techniques. If you would like to learn more about the meditation techniques brought by Paramhansa Yogananda and taught at Ananda I suggest you look at https://anandapublications.com/search?q=lessons

Many blessings on your meditation practice,

Nayaswami Mukti