Upon reading this post, I realized I always focused on the tip of the nose rather than the whole body, which may be less effective (for me). I was reminded of my Buddhist college teacher who said that meditation upon the body may cause psychosis or a mental breakdown for some.

Hence, I wonder: Is there any difference between mindfulness of the body (e.g. body scan) and focusing on the breath as it arises all across the body?

My teacher specified he believed focusing on the tip of the nose would avoid any such problems. Is meditation on the breath as it arises across the body a variant or even partial form of body meditation?

Thank you

  • What do you mean by "arises across rhs body."? – m2015 Apr 21 at 18:44

Whatever you make the spatial focus point for breath meditation, nose, middle of skull, belly, feet, all focal points can have pros and cons. In general, breath meditation is very safe to do, but people can have all kinds of unique and strange physical/mental health problems, so really any kind of meditation can 'cause', induce, or aggravate psychosis.

In general, people with hypertension, prone to headaches, by focusing on the nostril area, to the exclusion to the rest of the body, is going to tend to exacerbate those problems. Focusing on the entire body, every cell in the body, is in general going to be much more conducive to relaxation, pacification, bliss, leading into deeper states of meditation. And that's what the Buddha teaches in steps 3 and 4 of the 16 steps of breath meditation.


With Each & Every Breath A Guide To Meditation Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff)

The same site also has the book in various ebook formats (epub, mobi, etc.).

This is the best book available for a comprehensive guide on the topic of breath meditation, an authentic interpetation of the EBT (early buddhist texts).


If you overlook mindfulness of your body you run the risk of missing out on a lot of important self observations regarding the rupa and vedana skandhas (your bodily sensations and/or emotions). For that reason i'd recommend widening the scope of investigation.

The consecutive tetrads in anapanasati meditation provides a suggested framework for this, going from examining your breath, and further on to your body and so forth.

The full scope is covered in the anapanasati sutta.


The topic of Karma is only understood by a Buddha, but having said this I think if you have the karma to have a breakdown most probably this will happen if you meditate or not. The type of meditation may not play much of a factor as both are Vipssana type meditation. The probability can be lessened if you meditate.

There is some belief that doing Samatha meditation without a teacher and proper guidance may lead to breakdowns.

So finding a good teacher and having access to a teacher to clarify would diminish any possibility of break downs.

Part of breath meditation is mindfulness of the body. So is scanning the body. In this aspect, there is no difference in term of what frame of mindfulness (the type of sathipattana) is used.

In case you do not have a proper guide it is best that you take a course:


Just breathe. If you spend your meditation time worrying about how you are breathing, then you are not meditating.

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