Breathing nearly stops during meditation

October 27, 2018

I noticed during my meditation this morning that my breathing had stopped. Not in a bad way, but a good way. I was meditating on something else, but this observation made me decide to quit focusing on that object and pay attention to my body. I eventually realized that I was breathing from time to time, but it was very shallow and very slow.

As I tried to focus on the breath, for a long time there was no breath. I wasn’t trying to hold my breath or anything like that – “I” was really just awareness at this point – but my body just stopped breathing for a long time. As I observed it and waited for it to breathe I thought, “This is curious.” Finally it did start to breathe in a little bit, but very slowly. Then there was another very long pause where there was no in-breath or out-breath. Then finally there was an out-breath, but it was also extraordinarily slow.

After another long pause the cycle started again, and then right in the middle of it my fifteen-minute timer went off. I can’t be sure, but my best guess is that I had breathed only 2.5 times during at least the last half of the session, so maybe 2.5 breaths in the last seven to ten minutes. I’ve breathed slowly before during meditation, and I’ve made a game of it before to see how slowly I could breathe – the best I could do was five complete in and out breaths in about 6.5 minutes – but this was some next level stuff, and it was totally unintentional.

It was fascinating and I didn’t want to stop, but alas, there’s a lot to do today, so I’ll pick this up another time.

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