Lately when sitting, my head will abruptly turn at weird angles very suddenly. I'm not always able to catch it to stop it before it happens; sometimes the movements are really bizarre ( my head moving straight back, leaving me looking at the ceiling if my eyes were open).

Is this a common/known occurrence in meditation, or do I need to see a doctor?

  • I don't know why I was reminded of "The Exorcist". Are you trying to observe actions and slow down with mindfulness?
    – esh
    Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 5:50
  • It may just be a lack of minduflness on my part; its almost like catching a sneeze before it happens and stopping it
    – Ryan
    Commented Dec 26, 2015 at 11:04
  • You might consider looking into the possibility of a balance disorder, esp. if you have any other related symptoms (vision is a secondary input to balance). At least asking a doctor would be a good idea.
    – user3169
    Commented Dec 27, 2015 at 3:40

2 Answers 2


The experience you describe is not a common experience but meditators do get very uncommon experiences due to sudden outburst of past Karma / Snakhara. When you have stopped creating new Karma though Vipassana sometimes deeply hidden karma suddenly pops up to give results. (Many times cited by S.N.Goenka in his lectures.)

Also if would be an idea to also see a doctor and perhaps a serious meditator too to rule out any medical condition just be on the safe side.


Involuntary physical movements are a symptom of kundalini awakening I believe, and may occur in other, similar contexts.

  • thank you for the response :) I'm not sure what Kundalini awakening is? but in any case, this isn't so uncommon for meditators, is what you're saying?
    – Ryan
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 22:03
  • Kundalini or hatha yoga is especially concerned with meditation involving the psychosomatic energy-body system, and is commonly associated with involuntary physical actions, verbal expressions, sound and light phenomena, etc. These yogas are post-Buddhist, but there certainly are analogues with the early Buddhist texts.
    – user4970
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 23:51
  • 1
    Any serious spiritual practice is not about relaxation, losing weight (I actually knew someone who decided to undertake Dzogchen to lose weight!), etc. About 10% of people who engage in such practices are likely to experience some sort of "spiritual emergency." In one case that I know of, a woman experienced a full psychotic break and required 10 years of psychiatry to resolve the issue. This is a serious commitment that can involve intense mental states for which the practitioner may not be prepared. One is after all challenging one's fundamental ontological state.
    – user4970
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 23:59
  • I see. Thank you for the perspective and consideration, be well.
    – Ryan
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 0:03

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