Difficulty Breathing While Developing Concentration

Warren McDaniel, modified 6 Years ago.

Difficulty Breathing While Developing Concentration

Post: 1 Join Date: 5/6/15 Recent Posts
Hello, I recently found this forum through some lengthy Google searches and am really hoping someone here can answer my question. I have been practicing concentration meditation for about two years and have seen decent success from it so far, but still have been unable to achieve the first Jhana. When developing relaxation, my breath begins to become more and more shallow. From what I have read this is supposed to happen, but suddenly I am overcome with an urge to take a deep breath in, as if I'm starved of Oxygen. Is this feeling normal in the path to achieving Jhana? 
Phantom of the Opera, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Difficulty Breathing While Developing Concentration

Posts: 24 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
It is not abnormal (but I'm no expert). If you follow Leigh Brasington's instructions, it would be the good timing to shift your attention to a pleasant sensation:

If your practice is anapana-sati, there are additional signs to indicate you have arrived at access concentration. You may discover that the breath becomes very subtle; instead of a normal breath,you notice you are breathing very shallow. It may even seem that you’ve stopped breathing altogether. These are signsthat you’ve arrived at access concentration. If the breathgets very shallow, and particularly if it feels like you’vestopped breathing, the natural thing to do is to take a nice,deep breath and get it going again. Wrong! This will tend to weaken your concentration. By taking that nice deep breath,you drop down the level of concentration. Just stay with that shallow breathing. It’s okay. You don’t need a lot of oxygen, because you are very quiet.If the breath gets very, very subtle, or if it disappears entirely,instead of taking a deep breath, shift your attention away from the breath to a pleasant sensation. This is the key thing. You watch the breath until you arrive at access concentration, and then you let go of the breath and shift your attention to a pleasant sensation. There is not much point in watching the breath that has gotten extremely subtle or has disappeared completely. There’s nothing left to watch.