I can not focus in upper lip: my focus goes in to nostril. I can now watch breath in nostril, but can not stay focussed on upper lip and watch breath. I focus on entire nose and not on upper lip, and watch breath in nasal passage -- is this right ? I doubt is it controlled breathing ?

Secondly I want to learn to stay focussed on upper lip and watch breath -- please guide.

  • It doesn't have to be the upper lip. Pick any location around your nostrils that the sensation of in-out-breaths making contact with the skin is the most pronounced. Do not force your breath, gently stay aware of each in-out breath "brushing" the contact-point just like a carpenter watching the cut line marked on the wooden log when moving his saw back and forth to cut it.
    – santa100
    May 28, 2019 at 17:53

4 Answers 4


You can watch breath in the nostril or nasal passage. You do not have to stay focused on the upper lip.

Secondly, there is no need to learn to stay focused on upper lip. The purpose of watching breathing, continuously, is to make the mind steady & calm. It does not matter exactly where the breathing is watched.

Also, if the mind follows & tracks the breathing into & within the physical body (from the nose to throat to chest to abdomen) this is also acceptable in relation to what the Buddha taught.

In higher concentration, the breathing is felt in the top of nostrils and not on the upper lip. In other words, feeling the touch of the breathing in the nostrils is better than at the upper lip.

However, for beginners, knowing the breath at the upper lip helps in experiencing the breath come in & out of the body.

  • When the area is bigger there is a chance you can feel the touch better
  • When the area is small concentration increases

The transition from from the large area to small should be gradual and based on the state of your concentration from day to day. So start with the larger area, once you feel the touch at some point in this area continuously without loss of concentration or mind wandering away narrow it down. At this point concentrate of finding touch point within the chosen area. It might take some time but persistently doing it you will start feeling the touch sensations then narrow it down again until you are left with the centre of the upper lip. At any point you cannot feel the touch concentrate on the flow. Don't narrow the area too soon. Make sure you are comfortable with the chosen area and you continuously feel the touch before narrowing. Once you consolidate move to the next stage, i.e., a smaller area. Also there may be days even when you are accomplished you cannot directly concentra on the smaller area without some "warm up" with a larger area.

Watching the breath in the nasal passage is OK when your chosen area is the top of the nose and base of the upper lip. When you narrow it down to the tip of the nose and the upper lips you should concentrate on the sensation rims of the nostril and upper lip. Once you narrow down the area upper lip then you can look for touch in the upper lip area and part of the nasal rims on the upper lip. Once you further narrow it down to the centre of the upper lip look for the touch from the base of the nasal bridge down to the about the lip area. Ignore sensations you might feel in other areas. E.g. when transitioning to large triangle area you might still feel the air within the norils, but at this point you should concentrate on sensations on the rims of the nostrils and upper lip.

  • 1
    Welcome back, thank you for the answer.
    – ChrisW
    May 31, 2019 at 7:48
  • Thk u suminda sirinath S. Dharmasena Jun 2, 2019 at 13:23

Sanjay mehta,

In this case, for this case of advice, focus on where ever the touch of breath is sensed most outwardly. There are noses which do not let the air stream much upon the upper lip. If a person has a "long-nose" that such to seek could be annoying at the beginning where more raw touch is required to be able to sense. 'Place awareness where it is best to stay.'

much success

(Not given for trade, exchange or entertaining)


According to Chapter 2 "Sitting Meditation" of the book "How To Meditate" by Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu, you can try to observe movements of the abdomen, instead of nasal passage sensations:

The purpose of formal meditation is to limit our experience to the fewest number of objects in order to allow for easy observation without becoming overwhelmed or distracted. When sitting still, the whole body is tranquil and the only movement is when the breath enters and leaves the body. When the breath enters the body, there should be a rising motion in the abdomen. When the breath leaves the body, there should likewise be a falling motion. If the movement is not readily apparent, you can put your hand on your abdomen until it becomes clear.

If it is difficult to perceive the motion of the abdomen even with your hand, you can try lying down on your back until you are able to perceive it. Difficulty in finding the rising and falling motion of the abdomen when sitting is generally due to mental tension and stress; if one is patient and persistent in the practice, one’s mind and body will begin to relax until one is able to breathe as naturally sitting up as when lying down.

The most important thing to remember is that we are trying to observe the breath in its natural state, rather than forcing or controlling it in any way. In the beginning, the breath may be shallow or uncomfortable, but once the mind begins to let go and stops trying to control the breath, the rise and fall of the abdomen will become more clear and allow for comfortable observation.

It is this rising and falling motion that we will use as our first object of meditation. Once we are able to observe the motion of the abdomen without difficulty, it will serve as a default object of meditation for us to return to at any time.

In this guide, Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote that you can focus on any place where the breath can be sensed, whether it is the nose, chest, abdomen or any other place:

Only when you have cleared the mind in this way, and set outside matters aside, are you ready to focus on the breath. Bring your attention to the sensation of breathing. Breathe in long and out long for a couple of times, focusing on any spot in the body where the breathing is easy to notice, and your mind feels comfortable focusing. This could be at the nose, at the chest, at the abdomen, or any spot at all. Stay with that spot, noticing how it feels as you breathe in and out. Don't force the breath, or bear down too heavily with your focus. Let the breath flow naturally, and simply keep track of how it feels. Savor it, as if it were an exquisite sensation you wanted to prolong. If your mind wanders off, simply bring it back. Don't get discouraged. If it wanders 100 times, bring it back 100 times. Show it that you mean business, and eventually it will listen to you.

  • Thk u so much If I want to learn to watch breath at nostril where should I have to focus ? On the entire nose and internal nasal passage or on a tiny spot in the naval passage? May 29, 2019 at 15:09
  • Anywhere where you can feel the sensation or effect of the breath.
    – ruben2020
    May 29, 2019 at 15:10
  • I want to watch breath at tiny spot in nostril May 29, 2019 at 17:18

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