Meditation – And No More Numb Legs!

by Jane Keep, England

I too, like Rachel Hall (Who Knew Meditation Could Be So Simple) felt that while I was developing myself, I would give meditation a try. I was told by many that it would ‘still my mind’, and given my mind was a constant whirr of chitter-chatter, much of which was worry, self-doubt, and self-deprecating remarks, it seemed sensible to give it a go.

So I went to the local Thai Buddhist place and started to learn meditation. Well, I know I’d seen people on the TV and in movies with their legs crossed, but I hadn’t appreciated quite what this does to your body after one or two hours of sitting in the same position.

So my twice-weekly, early evening meditation group was quite an eye opener for me. We would sit, and then meditate while the monk spoke very occasionally. We would sit for one to two hours in that very same position, legs crossed, on the carpeted floor. First of all I used to get really fidgety, then I tried to forget my legs – ‘mind over matter’ the monk used to say.

I think the worst part of it was not the fidgetiness, or the tingling sensation in my legs, it was the fact that when it was time to finish the meditation and leave the room, my legs had gone so completely numb that I couldn’t actually move or stand up for ages… and it was very painful as they came back to life. As for my mind, well, it was hard to focus when all I could feel was my legs going dead for an hour or two, but I kept on attending. I even went to Nepal for two weeks to continue with my meditation (this time it was Tibetan Buddhism).

Oddly enough, none of this made any difference to the raciness of my mind on a daily basis, and the worries, anxieties, and crippling self-negating commentary never stopped. That was, until I met Serge Benhayon, and he introduced the Gentle Breath Meditation.

This time there was no need to sit in an uncomfortable position, or to sit for hours on end. It was absolutely simple. Focussing first on the in-breath, then on the out-breath, then on gentleness, it took a maximum of 10 minutes (and sometimes less than that), and I felt deeply relaxed after it; I started to feel a warmth deep inside of my body that I had never felt before. I had no numb legs, and, to my surprise my mind started slowing down – not in a way that meant I could no longer do my times table or interact in the world, but in a way that was far more balanced and allowed me to feel my whole body, as well as to get to know my inner-self in a way that I never had before.

The gentle breath meditation has been a truly welcome addition to my life, and has had such a profound effect that I have shared it with colleagues at work, and also run some local gentle breath meditation evenings.

I love that I can meditate so simply, just for a few moments, and feel amazing – and without numb legs!

217 thoughts on “Meditation – And No More Numb Legs!

  1. An amusing account of just how anti-body many forms of meditation can be in practice, with their punitive positions and complicated contortions. Why on earth would we choose to sit so uncomfortably for an hour or two in pursuit of stilling the mind, when the mind can only truly be still if the body itself is first in harmony?

    1. So true Cathy – its interesting when we consider how many so called ‘fitness’ and ‘wellbeing’ things are actually counter-intuitive in that they don’t support our body in truth – though they may bring relief or a feeling we are doing something, they go against the body’s natural rhythm and movement.

  2. The Gentle Breath Meditation is the only meditation I have come across that actually truly supports the body throughout our every day lives. It is the only one that makes true sense as mediations like the ones you describe here are in no way supportive to our bodies if they are totally numbing them to the point they are pain-full!

  3. I can relate to having a busy mind and wanting to try meditation to feel calmer in my body. Trying out sitting positions was extremely uncomfortable though and attempting to block out the pain of sitting like that for what felt like ages asking myself when was it going to end, took me further away from ever feeling calmer or at one with myself.

  4. The difference in discovering the Gentle Breath Meditation was profound, no more unnatural contortions of the body required just a comfortable sitting position and a simple focus on breathing gently that brought me out of my mind and back in touch with my body and feeling the gentleness and love within me.

  5. The Gentle Breath Meditation presented by Serge Benhayon has been a life-changer. Whenever I feel challenged by a situation I reconnect to my breath and the stillness within. The gentle breath is now part of my rhythm so that it shows me instantly when I am losing connection and I breathe myself back.

  6. In a way similar to Jane, from quite an early age I was aware of the raciness of my mind, and really wanted to stop… To the point where when I was 20 years old, I was literally desperately seeking a way to bring my thoughts under control. For the rest of my life up until I met Serge Benhayon I tried many different techniques meditating up to 5 hours a day… But then I also was introduced to the gentle breath meditation… Who would have thought that 10 minutes a day could totally turn one’s life around.

  7. Same for me Jane, I love the simplicity of the Gentle Breath Meditation, so much so that I have made it part of my daily living. The improvements to my general health and wellbeing since I started practicing it, have been nothing short of miraculous, and I have shared it with friends, who had noticed the changes in me, and wanted to try the gentle Breath Meditation for themselves.

  8. I too recall those horrible long meditations trying to forget my legs as they went from painful to numb. What I find most useful about gentle breath is how it can be simply adopted as a ‘check in’ with myself in my daily life, sometimes several times a day and no break of the activity but just a question am I being gentle and the answer there in the quality of my breath in my nostrils. It may seem so obvious and yet, relating meditation to life in such a simple way was never presented to me before. This was the beginning of a a deepening appreciation of a quality that can be held day to day.

  9. Your blog Jane reminded me of the times I also use sit for long hours in meditation and how uncomfortable this was for my body, the tingling and then the numbness. The body and mind clearly not in harmony. Meditation does not have to be arduous, it can be simple and truly connecting and this is what the Gentle Breath Meditation offers.

  10. How have come so far away from what the intention of meditation is which is to assist us to reconnect back to who we are in the simplest way possible.

  11. Oh can I still remember those very long meditation sessions, which were supposed to be “good’ for you but left me with similar painful, or numb, leg issues as you Jane. I used to wonder if I was the only one in discomfort as everyone else looked as if they were very comfortable with their legs crossed, or maybe it was that like me, they just didn’t want to own up. Then along came the Gentle Breath Meditation presenting such a simple, refreshing , and pain free way to meditate, one that offered me the connection I’d been missing, the connection to me; what a life changer this meditation has been.

  12. Jane I had to laugh about your experience with your numb legs during your meditation. I was always wondering what would happened after sitting like this for hours and you gave me a tangible answer. Now I am even more wondering why people do this kind of harm to their own body.

  13. Jane, I also tried those long meditations you speak of and found the hours sitting severely uncomfortable and to be honest I did not find the practice very supportive, so it never took. And when I came across the gentle breath meditation it was so simple, and so easy to incorporate into my life, I loved it and still do, and as you so no awkward body postures or numbed body parts – after all how can you support yourself to connect by putting yourself in unease and pain? It makes no sense not when I consider it, but back then when I tried it, I didn’t have that insight.

  14. The gentle Breath Meditation is indeed a life changer. We can spend so much time searching outside of us for answers when in truth the answers are all within us all we have to do is re-connect with our bodies through the amazingness of our gentle breath; it has the power to connect us with our essence.

  15. There are so many beliefs about meditation. I know I thought it was the path to enlightenment and that it was about stilling the mind. Knowing that it is a tool to re-connect has been very powerful. The most powerful thing to understand from this is that once I re-connect, which literally takes minutes then I get up and live my day – that’s meditation.

  16. People seem willing to go through so much hardship for ‘peace of mind’ and I was no exception to this. But it does seem crazy now that torturing the body could be seen as a way to achieve peace in life. Surely the fact that we live in our bodies 24/7 means that we need to find a way to be very connected and loving of our bodies, as opposed to dismissive and desensitised.

  17. I have tried many forms of meditation over the years, however none have had the profound effect of stillness and harmony I feel in my body like the Gentle Breath Meditation. Nothing else has come close, it really works and the incredible thing is how simple it is.

  18. Your account of your legs going numb Jane during meditations brought back similar memories for me too in trying unsuccessfully to fight the pain in my legs whilst being told to relax and empty my mind! All my focus went into hardening my body and forcing my mind to think about anything else to try to ignore what my body was communicating to me. In contrast practising the Gentle Breath Meditation enabled me to align my mind with my body through my breath and connect to a gentleness within me that was beautiful to feel.

  19. Jane I know how it feels to sit in crossed legged for hours like you, I was also doing meditation by via the Sivananda and other gurus. Its so true to control the mind was a challenge and then to have sore legs and bum as well. I so agree Gentle Breath Meditation is simple and truly effective, it really allows us to still our mind and connect within. Prior to this, I don’t think I had full grasped true meditation.

  20. I did that too! Meditating for an hour a day even longer. In uncomfortable positions. Yes, it delivered beautiful images, but I realised after a couple of years that nothing in my life had changed. So I stopped it, as I realised these meditations where just an escape from daily life. A drug you might call it.

  21. The revelation of what true meditation is, as presented by Universal Medicine, is precisely what our world needs to start the journey of return back to the true heart, healing the deep hurts of separation along the way

  22. Isn’t it interesting that we think we have to put ourselves though this ordeal to be able to reach an exalted state, calm our minds and deal with our issues when it is as simple as returning to that which is innate in us all of this time.

  23. I have been using the Gentle Breath Meditation for over 5 years now and attending a local group. When I started to practice it regularly, for a few minutes a day, I found that it supported me to reconnect with my body and the fullness of the beingness that I am. This is simple, but remarkable. This connection with the body brings so much – it has wisdom to share if we are willing to listen and respond – not just the knowledge that we associate with our minds but the knowingness that comes from all that we are. I heartily recommend it.

  24. There are so many forms of meditation and pictures and ideals about what meditation is, does and looks like that one may wonder about the simplicity of the Gentle Breath Meditation. When I got to know different techniques of meditation there was no one who really could explain what it would actually do, the science of it etc until Serge Benhayon presented the GBM with absolute clarity and simplicity of understanding, a science everyone can experience and relate to immediately, no believing or hoping or giving one´s power away to someone who is supposed to know it all, just figuring it out for oneself.

  25. How can someone think that sitting in particular positions that numb your body would not force you to numb your mind at the same time. A numbness to me that is the complete opposite of the expansion, simplicity and energetic quality of the gentle breath meditation.

  26. In my experience the Gentle Breath Meditation is a tool to come back to oneself to a point where I can say I begin to feel my-self and not just the stuff that is going on, taken on from situations and the stresses of life. It helps to develop a way of being with me and what is going on so that a true sense of Me in contrast to what is not me can be re-learned. Most times we are just full of emotional and mental stimulation that we consider to be who we are but are far from being the real Me. The GBM helps to get that sorted.

  27. It’s the most profound yet simple tool that when done consistently supports a beautiful reconnection to what so many of feel was lost, or that we never had in the first place. Ourselves.

  28. It is extraordinary how we can fall for and pursue something in the search for enlightenment yet at such an expense to the body. How gorgeous that you were able to find and now share such a powerful meditation that allows you to embrace the depth and connection that the other meditations you experienced only sold but didn’t deliver… and in such a short and pain free space of time. Very cool.

  29. Hello Jane and it’s great to see you’ve got the feeling back in your legs. I was never a fan of any meditations. I was a man that shunned all that type of things as wishy washy crap and really didn’t have the time or the patience to do any of it. The closest I got was doing a style of yoga that I saw and taped off TV. I did it in the privacy of my own home and I did it not to quiet my mind but to get more flexible so I could work more. So you could say the Gentle Breath Meditation was the first meditation I did. I found it difficult at first but I appreciated the feeling I had more and more. It not only quietened my mind but my body and supported me to understand the world around me. I didn’t need to sit anywhere or allocated a special part of the day to it. Anytime I didn’t feel settled or still I would put the focus to how I am breathing and then simply kept returning to my breath anytime I was aware it changed. This is a great simple and very practical meditation that really gives you a solid feeling of yourself and your body.

  30. ha ha I have so been there – not to Nepal – I gave up after the first time! numb legs – um no ha ha. but that also meant that I wrote off all meditation and so developed the racy mind and coping mechanisms for that instead!! I know numb legs, numb mind – what is the difference?! The Gentle Breath Meditation was a welcome opportunity to connect back with myself. I can do it at any time, in any place and the more I do it the quicker I get at connecting back to my body and quietening the chatter in my head. It has got to be in the Life Must Have’s Tool Box.

  31. It is such a beautiful tool that supports one to reconnect to self instantly. It is simple and quick. When one practices it consistently it becomes the normal way to breath.

  32. I remember going on meditation retreats where we would be nearly all day in meditation and in silence for many days. I really feel there is no need for this now. We just need to connect to our breath and breathe oh so gently and our whole body begins to let go of the tension it has been carrying and the mind begins to align with the body. Practising this for just 5 or 10 minutes at a time is enough.

  33. This is so true Jane. The feeling through the body just by choosing the breath and being with every fibre in my body and being absolutely so present in my observation of everything that was within me truly changed my life and all in just 10mins.

  34. Many of the meditations I experienced in the past took me out of my body rather than supported more connection to what I was feeling in the body. Simply observing the gentle breath is a great tool to bring us back to ourselves.

  35. Looking back Jane, I also spent many an hour essentially allowing my legs to go numb, ‘thinking’ that this was a ‘triumphant’ part of the process of surrendering to a deeper experience of meditation, if you will…
    Hmmm… Whilst I recognise that such practices may still be the preference for many, they simply no longer make any sense to me whatsoever. The key that I have learned from the Gentle Breath Meditation and the work of Serge Benhayon, is that it is by going deeper in presence and honouring connection with one’s body, that one is essentially, more connected to who they are, and to life, full stop.
    The negation of the body only took me into a place of escape from it, rather than a committed presence in my body and in life and the knowing that has come with having embraced the Gentle Breath Meditation for years now, i.e. that it is via our bodies that we go deeper in our lived joy, connection and union with God. To escape the body is to avoid all that we can be in life, and nothing less. Hence the oftentimes ‘vapid’ look in and under the eyes of many long-term ‘meditators’??

    1. Great point Victoria – I know in the 10 years I practised Buddhist Meditation my body got sicker and I felt more desolate, despair, loneliness and lost. With the Gentle Breath Meditation in the reconnection to my innermost, to feeling my essence and the warmth deep within my body, my body gradually awoke, and that coupled with making self caring daily living choices started to turn around my health and well being dramatically so.

      1. Experiences and points of reflection, that we clearly cannot deny, Jane. What learning…
        The Gentle Breath Meditation has definitely offered a re-awakening to my body and my relationship with it, alongside the re-awakening and appreciation of the essence of who I am and this body most definitely as its ‘vehicle’ for as long as I am here in this lifetime. The knowing of the essence of who I am, my innermost aspect, becomes all the stronger as I’ve accepted that this is the actual role of the body – i.e. to not be denied or escaped, but rather honoured for the fact that given the chance, it actually knows what is supportive of all that is true.
        What amazing ‘vehicles’ these bodies of ours are, ever offering us the signs and signals – from a digestive hiccup to a slight twinge in a muscle, from fatigue and tiredness to an illness or medical condition… signs that point us directly to reclaiming our bodies as being able to accommodate the love of our divine origins, the love of the soul.

  36. It is essential to look at any practice we adopt in life and what it truly means for us. The Gentle Breath Meditation (GBM) has also been absolute gold for me – in realising that yes, moments of deeper and restorative connection support us profoundly in life. But once found and established, we needn’t dally there, and nor is it to live purposefully IF we dally there… for there is much to be lived, expressed and engaged in in our lives – from the foundation within that we may establish with such a simple and yet deeply profound practice as the GBM. Otherwise, what purpose our existence, and the quality we may so invest in developing?

  37. I have also found the Gentle Breath Meditation absolutely simple and profound at the same time, to be able to connect to the whole of my body and feel a gentleness and warmth within my inner heart and a natural joy too.

  38. I love how simple the gentle breath meditation is too. There’s still a part of me that can’t believe something so simple can be so effective, even though I can feel the huge difference it makes. It shows me how attached to my thoughts I am, the areas of life I’m holding onto, and how lovely and spacious it feels when I start to let it all go, just by focusing on my breath.

  39. So many go to meditation to numb and escape, so it seems quite apt that numb legs was a result of such meditation practices. To re-learn that meditation is about steadying the body to feel one’s own inner strength and to instead understand that meditating this way actually supports us to stay in and with ourselves and live from such a space that holds all in honour, love and understanding is a foundation that can only enhance how we work together as a society.

  40. I can so relate to your blog Jane, I tried many forms of Meditation in the past and always found the sitting cross legged for hours on end was absolute agony – how can this be great for your body or your mind as I could never sit still for very long. What a blessing it was to be introduced to the Gentle Breath Meditation and to feel how simple and powerful this 10 minute Meditation can be without any painful postures or crossed legs.

  41. This blog reminds me of time a friend and I spent in a Japanese temple for some training with Mikkyo (esoteric) Buddhism – we had hours of sitting cross-legged or on our knees reciting mantra’s or prayers. Numb legs, swollen ankles and aching backs. We both felt that we were not cut out for the long term in wearing orange robes.

  42. The places or the poses we put ourselves into in the name of peace or calm. Most of us would find it extremely difficult to sit still in a pose like that for minutes let alone hours and as this article is saying it didn’t even support you. I am guessing those that could do it were seen as better or as enlightened and yet truly appearing more disconnected than you. That is why I love the Gentle Breath Meditation, so simple and yet so equal. Everyone can do this meditation from the first go and when you are doing it the actions all look the same. The fact that most of us are out there looking like this for something and are willing to put ourselves through painful actions shows that there is something wrong. Everyone is pretty much wishing the world would slow down or they could have more time. The only true way to do this is to slow yourself down and bring yourself into alignment, the Gentle Breath Meditation is this way.

    1. I agree Ray – in those days whilst my whole body was screaming that what I was doing didnt make sense, and was harming my body – I didnt consider that my body knows the truth of all things – and I over rode my body. Nowadays I am open to daily living and things in the world, but I know when something doesnt make sense as my body shows me.

      1. We may find it hard to get our head around this concept or truth, “my body shows me” and if it is not something you have felt or experienced yourself then you may even dismiss it completely. I am not here to convince anyone of anything but bringing more awareness to the fact that if at any point things are working then don’t ask questions to the outside world for it to change. Ask the questions to yourself, to your body and after you ask don’t dismiss the answer. You may picture your body actually talking or leading you but that isn’t entirely true, when you move in a way that is truly respectful of all that you are then that movement is with you everywhere and so the quality of communication equals the quality of movement. It makes sense in a world that has a natural balance in every part of it that we are part of that balance and so if you can’t hear your body or dismiss your body or yourself all together then that quality is with you in everything you do. Like baking a cake or making any recipe the end result is the sum total of what you put in and the order. You wouldn’t just put all the mixture in the oven without the preparation of it and so if you can’t hear yourself or if “my body shows me” isn’t something you have experienced then bring awareness to your preparation, the quality of the ingredients you have put in. After all and like everything else in life, where you stand at this point is the sum total of what you have chosen to put in.

  43. Choosing to do the gentle breath meditation is something that i do intermittently, so reading this Jane has been such a great reminder of just how simple we can connect to ourselves and not have to align to all the meditation consciousness that is currently out there.

  44. I once went on a 5 day silent retreat, although I enjoyed the silence when it was over it was like everyone had gone manic to talk to one another it went from one extreme to the other and for me this was not productive, far more sensible to express with love and awareness all the time then to Try to make ourselves into something we are not.

  45. It is quite crazy to me now when I look back and realise I was doing the same thing! I didn’t attend any meditation group but I thought I would give it a go at home! Sitting crossed legged, feeling my legs going tingly and then numb while focusing on the flame of a candle I thought would clear my mind but I could not sit for long as my legs got so painful! What’s interesting is that I persisted for some time thinking that if I practiced crossing my legs the pain would go but this was never the case no matter how conscientious I was. What I have come to realise is that whenever my body is hurting in any way, shape or form it is my body’s way of communicating with me showing me that the choices I am making in life are not supporting my body and wellbeing and that I need to pause and reflect on those choices to make the necessary changes in honour of my body. The more I listen, the more aware I become of what my body is communicating with me.

  46. An amazing story Jane… I can relate in the sense that I could never get meditation to do anything for me, I didn’t ever feel any different afterwards, and during it, like you, just felt physically uncomfortable, thinking the ‘position’ was part of what was important to the meditation. I recall the first time I was taught the Gentle Breath Meditation by Serge Benhayon too and his instructions to sit comfortably, propped by pillows, cushions, in a sturdy chair, or whatever else was needed. His whole framework was to ensure comfort throughout as otherwise the distraction of discomfort would detract from the meditation’s potential! What a contrast and such a welcome relief… my whole body relaxed to begin with and the surrender that was possible once a gentle breath was achieved was (and still is) profound. You are spot on, 10 minutes is all that’s ever been needed to feel centred, balanced, clear headed and refreshed.

  47. It’s interesting how there are so many age old beliefs that say giving our body a hard time would lead us to enlightenment. Complete opposite to breathing gently and choosing to be self-loving.

  48. This post brings back memories of 10 day silent meditation retreats along with other types of meditation from over the years, when now I understand all that is needed is 10 minutes a day with the key being the quality we are living all of the time.

  49. I love the Gentle Breath Meditation. Its practical, short and I can fit it into a busy day with no problem. The benefits have and continue to be far reaching and life changing.

  50. When you’re presented with the possibility that all we need to do is connect back to ourselves, we realise how absurd the concept of contorting our bodies for a union of body and mind is. It actually could be so simple.

  51. I recall the first time I did the Gentle Breath Meditation many years ago and feeling a shift that felt like coming home. It was so simple and took only a few minutes of focussing on my breath at the tip of the nose and it’s quality as it entered. My life has never been the same since… and I have never felt powerless to find my own centre since.

  52. What you offer is huge Jane. Meditation in 5-10minutes? No arduous process? Its so easy anyone can do it? What does that mean about all those other meditations that are such hard work? It means there is another way, one that is simple, easy and stays with you day in and day out bringing a stillness to life that is a foundation for all you do. Such is the Gentle Breath Meditation.

  53. Jane you have captured the simplicity and effectiveness of the Gentle Breath Meditation. I too tried other forms of meditation and would sit for long periods and feel like I could not stand when finished, my legs would be painful, numb, tingly, and feel like jelly – looking back it was more like torture on the body than meditation!

  54. I experienced the same Jane, the simplicity with which the Gentle Breath Meditation allowed me to feel my whole body and to get to know my inner self was something I had not come across before in other meditations, to be able to settle into my body and come out of my mind feeling a beautiful gentleness and warmth from my heart expanding out round the whole of my body and bringing my mind to a true stop for the first time in my life.

  55. The Gentle Breath Meditation presented by Serge Benhayon is precisely as it is called ‘Gentle’, ‘Breath’, ‘Meditation’ as the mind focuses on the gentle breath the body and mind come to stillness and the mind becomes at one with the body.

  56. What is truly invaluable and beautiful about The Gentle Breath Mediation is that it offers you the opportunity to feel what it is like to breath in connection to your body, which then provides you with a marker of how you can then, when you have finished the meditation, continue to move and live in this same connection throughout your day. This meditation is what changed my life, through bringing attention to the way, the quality of connection, in which I live my life.

  57. That Thai Buddhist meditation sounds like pure torture. I was recommended a meditation by my GP and this one had all the mysticism stripped out of it and you could do it in a comfortable chair, but I could do it for 30 to 60 minutes and I would be completely blissed out with seeing colours and patterns and stuff. This meditation helped me into the edge of dementia whereas the gentle breath mediation helped me to come out of it.

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