I have started to do the counting meditation which I have heard is a very good meditation for beginners. However, sometime during the meditation I feel like I am half asleep, I stop counting and thoughts just run through my head. Is this normal or am I falling asleep? If I am falling asleep how do I stop falling asleep?
Yes, this is normal. Many people report an altered state of consciousness while meditating. Most of us (except maybe for people who are very practiced in meditation) find that the state you describe is closely followed by sleep.
The time you are able to remain focused will increase with practice. At first, you will probably only be able to focus for a couple of minutes before your mind wanders and you feel like you are falling asleep. Eventually, you will be able to concentrate for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or even longer.
To maintain the state of relaxation and remain awake, here are some things you may want to try:
- Choose a position that keeps you awake, such as sitting cross legged. A position that is slightly uncomfortable may prevent falling asleep.
- Hold something loosely in your hand, with your fingers pointing down - a small coin works well - and if you fall asleep, you will drop the coin and the sound will wake you up.
- Play a sound or music track in the background that is quiet but has periodic louder sounds that can catch your attention and keep you awake.
- Start with short sessions (less than 5 minutes), and gradually work up to longer ones. Set a timer to end the session before you fall asleep.
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