Meditation is a practice that most often involves focusing your attention on a single point, such as your breath or a mantra. It can be a great way to reduce stress, improve your ability to focus, and increase relaxation in your body and mind.
However, many people will experience strange sensations while meditating. And one of the most uncomfortable is that they feel like they are falling backward while meditating. And while this sensation of falling is nothing to worry about, (because you are not actually falling anywhere) it can still distract you from your purpose for meditating.
In this article, we’ll list the most common reasons why you may feel like you are falling backward and give you tips on what you can do to help overcome this sensation.
Why Do I Feel Like I’m Falling Backwards While Meditating?
The feeling of falling backward while meditating can be caused by different reasons including: You may not be used to feeling detached from your body, so you feel like you are falling or floating; When you are relaxed and your posture is not properly aligned, your body may begin to slump over, so you feel like you are falling forward or backward: Your blood pressure may drop as you relax, and you experience a feeling of lightness which is unusual for you.
Reasons You May Feeling You Are Falling Backwards During Meditation
1) You May Not Be Used to Being Deeply Relaxed
When you relax your muscles, they no longer have to work as hard to hold your body up. And this in itself can make you feel like you are sinking or falling, especially if you are not used to being in a deeply relaxed state.
When learning to meditate, most people go through an adjustment period where they have to learn (teach their body) to become comfortable in one position, without moving, for an extended period. And, most likely you will not have done this before.
Your body is going to protest… as it does when having to learn any new skill. So your body and mind will come up with all sorts of ways to trick you and try to get you to move. Your body and mind will want to do something they are familiar with, something they are comfortable with…. like go and watch TV or look at your social media…
Therefore, your body and mind will make you feel lots of different sensations hoping you will return to what’s familiar to them… however, if you remain focused on your meditation, you will teach them that this is something you are doing… and with time, they will accept it and fall into line, and then you will no longer feel like you are falling.
2) Your Posture May Need Adjusting
If you are sitting on a soft cushion, maybe your butt is lower than your knees. And if your back and core muscles are not strong enough, you will slump forward. However, if your but is too high compared to your legs, your back may become conversely arched which may give you the sensation of falling backward.
Therefore, it is important to pay attention to your posture and ensure that your meditation position allows for the proper alignment of your hips, spine, neck, and head. The best posture is one where your center of gravity is aligned so that your body is gently stacked in a vertical line. When achieved, you will be able to sit easily for a longer period without having muscle strain or stiffness.
3) You May Have Low Blood Pressure
You may be experiencing a physical sensation that is being misinterpreted as falling. For example, if you have low blood pressure, you may feel lightheaded or dizzy when you meditate. This can also lead to the sensation of falling.
If this is the case, you should make sure that you have eaten something that gives your body the nourishment it needs before meditating so that your blood pressure is good. If you think that this may be a reason why you are experiencing ‘a falling sensation,’ you may benefit from talking with your health professional about it.
4) You Are Experiencing Detachment From Your Body
Most meditation techniques involve observing your thoughts (detachment from your body and mind) or encouraging focusing on a single ‘anchor’ like a candle flame or a mantra. Therefore there is a detachment from feeling your body, and this may give you the feeling of your body ‘falling away’ as you begin losing awareness of it.
This is perfectly normal and just confirms that your meditation technique is working. Therefore, just continue with what you are doing and gently notice, without judgment, any thoughts and sensations that arise within you.
5) You Are Magnifying The Sensation By Focusing Your thoughts On It
Another possibility is that once you begin feeling lighter while meditating, you begin focusing your attention too much on that sensation. And when you focus your thought energy on a particular thought or sensation, it becomes more intense. Therefore, it is your attention to the sensation that is making the feeling of falling seem much stronger than it actually is.
The way over this is to place your attention on something different. And most of the time, meditating teachers will encourage their students to return their attention to their breath as an anchor.
Some Tips to Help Overcome the Sensation of Falling Backwards While Meditating
1) If you are not yet comfortable with sitting in one position for a long time, you can help yourself by ensuring you are as comfortable as possible. If you are sitting on the floor, you can use props such as a cushion to support your back, or rolled-up blankets to support your butt or legs.
You could also try sitting in a chair with a backrest and then progress to something more challenging as you get used to the process of meditation. The important thing is that you bring your center of gravity into proper alignment so that you can remain ‘upright.’
2) Try to relax your body without overthinking it. If you think too much, you may start to feel like you are sinking or falling. Instead, focus on finding a balance between relaxation and alertness.
You can do this by working with the breath throughout your body. If you can become aware of the breath and energy moving up and down the spine as you breathe in and out, the spine will naturally come into optimal alignment. You will naturally feel lighter as you ‘feel your breath lifting you’ instead of having to use your muscles to maintain an upright posture.
3) If you find that you are focusing too much on the sensation of falling, try to gently bring your attention back to your breath or your mantra. This will help to ground you and prevent you from feeling like you are falling.
Our bodies have an innate intelligence and they know how to remain upright by themselves… they don’t need us to correct them. So, just ‘get out of your own way’ and allow your body to gently move as it needs to so that it can find its own ‘optimum position.’
4) It’s possible that you have ‘muscle imbalance’ between your lower back and legs because you spend a lot of time slouching on soft couches or in chairs while working. Some exercises, like yoga or going to the gym, would help to regain proper muscle balance so that you can sit in an upright meditative position
without feeling like you are falling backward.
5) Your discomfort may be caused by some underlying fear (that you may or may not be aware of.) Maybe you are not used to sitting alone in silence with your eyes closed.
If this is the case, you could try different meditation techniques until you find one you are more comfortable with. Better options for you may include meditating with your eyes open, lying down to meditate, or even joining a meditation group.
Final Thoughts about Feeling Like You Are Falling While Meditating
Feeling like you are falling backward during meditation is common and nothing to be concerned about. Instead of worrying about these sensations, you should view them as a positive sign that you are entering into a deep meditative state.
If these feelings bother you, you can gently bring your awareness back to your breath. This will help to ground you and prevent you from feeling like you are falling.
With practice, you will learn to manage the feeling of falling backward and use it as an opportunity to deepen your meditation practice and you will view it as just another part of the ongoing learning that comes with meditation.
Remember, you can always change your meditation technique to find something that works better for you.
However, if you continue to experience the sensation of falling backward while meditating, and it’s freaking you out, you may want to talk to a meditation teacher or a therapist about it. They may be able to help you identify any underlying causes of your discomfort and develop strategies for coping with it.
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