At some point in life I learned I could focus on some bodily awareness that resulted in the following experience:

  • Piloerectus; Not once, but it stays throughout the meditation while I keep on focusing.
  • A smile is slowly coming on my face (slowly as in it could take 20 seconds or so). It intensifies when I focus on that particular bodily feeling. It feels mechanically. When I take a picture of this I genuinely look happy.
  • Yawning; I cannot suppress this yawning when I focus on that particular bodily feeling. I yawn almost every minute intensely.
  • Energy swirls through my body. which can even make pains go away. Like pains from stress as facial muscle cramps or so.

This all can instantly go away when I have thoughts of doubt, fear, resentment or any other negative thought.

The smile and energy swirls I understand. Why piloerectus and yawning occur I do not. I am not feeling tired at all when the yawning happens. And when I stop to focus on this particular bodily feeling, the yawning stops. I do not yawn during a whole day, for instance. To me the yawning is a reproducible sign that indicates whether I am focused or not during meditation. But why does it happen?

In this pubmed article it is described that yawning is controlled by dopamine release (amongst other neurotransmitters).

I was wondering if there is something written about this yawning during meditation in the teachings of the Buddha.

  • any increase in salivary secretion?
    – Andriy Volkov
    May 11, 2019 at 16:56
  • No. No that I remember. Me eyes get significantly more wet though. May 12, 2019 at 19:24
  • Yawning usually occurs due to overeating or dieting/fasting .It can also be due to laziness/stress within subconscious mind. It can also be due to excessive thoughts .To stop yawning :: Either stop meditation & relax ur mind OR try to analyze picture & thoughts going-on in mind & try to detach from them (this method is called chittanupashyana/ चित्तानुपश्यना )
    – user17220
    Nov 8, 2019 at 9:16

6 Answers 6


The sutta discourses in the EBT (early buddhist texts) don't say anything about yawning, that I've ever come across.

Just reading the word yawning in your post, caused me to yawn. And it's a common experience for people to induce yawning from seeing or hearing another person yawn. So maybe you just access that circuit directly with qigong, without needing external sensory activity to trigger it.


There are a whole host of phenomenon that happen at the early stages of meditation. Some others you might experience are a feeling that your face is swelling, that your sinuses are filled with cotton, your muscles might twitch involuntary, it may feel like your hands or other parts of your body are disappearing, that your body is being twisted, that someone is messing with your hair, and so on and so forth. None of these mean anything, but they are a good indication that you are just touching the edges of samadhi. As your concentration deepens, all of these phenomenon will ultimately disappear.


"And when I stop to focus on this particular bodily feeling, the yawning stops." & "To me the yawning is a reproducible sign that indicates whether I am focused or not during meditation."

Great observation, try simply stay by the 1 in ways to do whatever that it stops, thinking "ugly, or "bad" or whatever. And if finding something similar, any "bad" habit, do the same, on and on. Try to be perfect in virtue, appearance, always sense controlled. And this "controlled the sense" is here the point.

It's that what the normal mind thinks as focused, actually is not, or with wrong attention, i.e. not pure but with added perceptions. But no need to ponder about that, just do of which keeps you by virtue, keeps you outwardly perfect.


(Note: not given for trade, exchange, entertainment or stacks, but as a tiny door out of the wheel)*


Observe the yawns as a casual observer.


Physiologically, yawning is reaction meant to oxygenate the blood. It's a sure sign that your body has become energetically stagnant. That's probably why the yawning goes away when you focus your mind on some body part: the act of focusing your mind on a new place draws energy through the body to that point, stimulating everything as it passes. This will pass as you reach deeper states of meditation.

Piloerection (goosebumps, or hairs standing on end) is a natural reaction when you attention is drawn outside your body or to the surface of your skin. Hairs are part of the tactile sensory system, and standing up that way makes them more sensitive to physical contact. That will go away of its own accord as your body realizes there's nothing particularly interesting to sense, or you can turn the reaction off by turning your attention and energy inward.


Yawning during meditation acts as a fatigue flush for me. Practically all my meditations begin with periods of intense yawning accompanied by corresponding tears.

  • Do you also always experience intense energetic vibes throughout the whole body when you intensify the focus that induced the yawning and tears? Sep 23, 2020 at 14:27
  • Yes, I get those energy rushes... but not always.
    – Frank
    Sep 23, 2020 at 15:40

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