Meditation for a long time has coincided with feelings of relaxation. Deep inhalation and exhalation allow our minds to relax. Sometimes doing this makes me fall asleep. The awareness of my body gradually shifts out of focus and before I know it, I am taking a nap instead of meditating.
State of your body: Is your body tired?
There are many reasons why one can’t stay awake during meditation but the first one I would like to focus is on your body. Your body requires rest to rejuvenate itself from the daily stress or exercises. So the first thing I would consider is the state of your body. Is your body tired? Are you meditating after your workouts or strenuous activity?
On a couple of occasions, I have meditated after swimming or running a workout and I have found myself physically exhausted to maintain focus during meditation. Try to find a time when you have the most energy in your body to meditate instead of meditating with low energy.
When do you meditate?
Find a time where you have peak energy. Although meditation is considered to be relaxing, it does require your mental focus and awareness. Meditating during times of low energy will yield in constant distractions and inner frustrations. You will soon become very annoyed with yourself and the meditation techniques you are trying.
When I first started meditating, I was always doing it before I went to bed. I thought it would be best to end my day on a positive note. However, I soon realized that my mind was carrying all the baggage from the day and would play it on the screen of my mind during my meditation. It was very hard for me to focus on my breath because of my mental chatter. So I switched my meditations to either first thing in the morning or during lunch.
2 ways to get energized for your meditation
If you go into your meditation tired and weak, then you will most likely fall asleep during meditation. Energize your body by doing some exercises before you go into your meditative posture.
- Yoga/stretching before meditation
Yoga is my favorite way of getting the blood to flow to different parts of the body. Find tight points in your body and stretch them out. Here is a list of Yoga Posture(s) you can do before your meditation. Here is a great video that links to the Dog pose, this is one of my favorite poses as it stretches out your whole body.
Before I go into meditation I always do a child pose to help my back stretch out. Having a straight back during meditation is vital or else you will put too much pressure on your lower back causing pain. This also helps with retaining a straight posture during your meditation practice.
- Meditate with different postures.
If the lotus pose or corpse pose of meditating is making you fall asleep then try using different methods. You can try walking meditation or even mantra meditation to help you stay awake during your meditation method. Walking meditation helps you stay alert as you move your legs and ground yourself with each step. I use it at times when I feel extremely tired. This method was introduced to me during my temple stay in South Korea.