Issues meditating while sitting up straight

Hello brains

I have been struggling with a few problems recently with meditation, When ever I try to meditate and sit up straight I have a few issues, 1 Being try to make sure and actually tell if i’m sitting up straight, 2 being should I use a pillow, a wall, the back of a chair or something against my back to make sure i’m sitting up straight?

The main problem I’m having is whenever I try to sit up straight and meditate, my breathing seems shallow, and even if I can somewhat get a deeper breathes in, it’s like their just not deep enough, but if I were to be lying down, and straight on my back, I could take deep breathes perfectly fine with no trouble at all. My lung capacity feels limited when I’m sitting up straight, for what even the reason being it seems easier to take deep breathes while sitting, if I lean forward or backwards vs if i’m sitting straight up. But once again, if I lay down, on my back, completely flat, deep breathes are the easiest in this way.

This problem confuses me, as I can’t really find many straight answers as to why this is, which I get but I’d like to change it, It also doesn’t make the most sense to me as if it was medical related, because I know some conditions cause people to lose oxygen when they lay or sit down etc. But for me, I can easily breathe flat on my back laying down, I can breathe decently if i’m sitting but leaning backwards and a little less but still decent if I lean forward while sitting, but yet I have trouble taking deep breathes while sitting up straight, I get sometimes strain that I feel pushing against my lower left side of my back, that make me feel like I can’t breathe a bit, I sometimes get strain in the very middle of like my diaphragm, or more so the middle of idk the rib cage I suppose, I also get those short diaphragm breathes, that use the diaphragm but are just very short if im sitting up straight, these don’t cause pain but are just short, or i’ll just start breathing with my chest if I’m sitting up straight, I can’t get a full breathe that slowly starts from the diaphragm and goes up slowly and controlled, only when I lay flat on my back facing the ceiling can I do this.

I also seem to get a numbness or tingles in my nose and around the outside of the nostrils, I can’t really tell if it’s pressure based or due to change in oxygen, but it seems to only occur during meditation, as after i’m done meditating, if I start being mindful to see if it’s still there, it’s gone or very weak, so it seems to be related to the change in breathe when I meditate, I’m not sure if this is good or bad.

Just for some extra context on this, as health features may play a role, i’m a 17 year old (M), some what active when I was younger but due to injury the past few years I have not been working out, still not in awful shape but not great either, I was around cigarette smoke as child, I know that exposure to significant 2nd smoke can sometimes cause breathing issues, I also have really bad exercised induced asthma but it’s kinda weird, sometimes it’s not really too bad or there, and then other times I could jog like half a mile and feel fluid and stuff in my lungs if I don’t have my albuterol inhaler, also for what ever reason my exercise induced asthma seems to be far worse in the cold, I don’t know if that holds any significance, I sleep on my back with either my arms to my side or folded on chest or stomach, I sometimes meditate either on or off of Dexedrine, which if you aren’t familiar it’s essentially Adderall, but either way this seems to have no effect on it either way, whether on or off of it. This may be significant or not, don’t really know, but I have somewhat of shorter tendons, and I’m shorter myself, i’m like around 5’6, I also have fibromaylgia which idk correlates to my short tendons etc. I also somewhat tend to I guess man-spread a bit as I meditate in a chair, so I don’t think my like thighs are cutting off like breathing room.

Really appreciate all thoughts and opinions, thank you for reading, have a nice day :slight_smile:

1 Like

Hi how you meditate depends entirely on what you’re looking to achieve, if your looking to just relax your body and calm your mind then just find a comfy position it doesn’t really matter if you’re sitting, standing or laying down and at your age this is probably what I would suggest, but if your interested in more traditional meditation then it gets very complex and if done wrong has the potential to harm the practitioner so I would recommend finding an experienced teacher for advice, be careful though sadly there are a lot of self proclaimed experts in this field.
Im no expert in meditation but I have some understanding of it as an acupuncture therapist and your issue with breathing deeply is perfectly normal when you first start meditating, as are tingling sensations around your body.
In regards to your asthma there are lots of factors which will effect how prominent the symptoms will be, weather conditions especially effect asthma if it’s too cold or too hot and dry the lungs don’t like it, pollutants and pollens will have an effect, as well as diet and overall health.
Hopfully you find some of this helpful, feel free to ask any questions I missed or any new ones you may have :slightly_smiling_face:


Also I should mention that if you have any concerns about your health then see a doctor if possible.


I’m not a professional but I had the same problem and something that came up often is that it actually takes multiple muscles to sit up straight and breathe properly, ones that we often don’t exercise enough. So it could really just be a case of working up to it and training those muscles consistently.

Maybe just try sitting up straight for a few minutes each day and eventually your body will become stronger to support you?

Of course see a professional if needed, and as a golden rule - if it feels wrong, don’t do it :slight_smile:


I have constant mild sinusitis. This influences how I breathe, especially whenever I am sitting (or lying! so much for uninterrupted sleep …) still. Maybe you’ve got something similar? Just a thought, to combine with all the other good thoughts going on in this thread. One of my biggest disappointments about getting a major flare-up of sinusitis is that I have to forego “real” meditation because I can’t sit still in the prescribed position the way I am used to doing; instead, I have to figure out moving or roving meditation techniques, which is always a bit more hit-or-miss than the more standard variety.