Meditation Questions: What to Do With Tongue When Meditating?

Monkey tongue sticking out.I was sitting here for a few minutes… I’ve been getting the feeling to sit in silent meditation for a little while now. I’ve been doing it off and on, and being mindful sometimes throughout the day.

As I sat here an hour ago or so, I realized that usually I don’t tell new meditators who read my books – What to do with the tongue during meditation?

I hadn’t really thought about that question before now – but, now that it presented itself – I’ll see what I can say about it.

The tongue, during meditation, seems to stick at the roof of my mouth. I guess that’s the natural resting place of it. If your tongue naturally rests some other way – I think better to go with the way your tongue is naturally relaxed and doesn’t cause you to think about it.

I realized that the tip of my tongue is resting where the two big front teeth join. My tongue actually seems to be slightly between my upper and lower teeth. I’m not biting it – it isn’t that far between, but only a couple of millimeters. Now, do all tongues rest like this? I couldn’t tell you whether that is true, but mine seems to. Other times I try – my teeth are closed and the tongue just rests on the back of the front teeth where they meet, but more of the tongue is against the top front teeth.

So, no idea what your tongue is doing during meditation, but if it’s as relaxed as possible, that’s best. It doesn’t matter too much, but your mouth (lips) should probably be closed. Ideally you’re breathing through your nose easily and without effort to hold your mouth together.

Make sure your jaw is totally relaxed too.

That’s about it. Don’t copy my tongue-position if the one you have is working for you. I just thought I’d comment on the topic since I don’t think I have done so in years.

🙂

Vern

“Meditation for Beginners – a 22 Day Course” my little ebook, gives you the basics on meditation… You can find it here.

[Photo credit – masashi mochida at Flickr.com]

Author: Vern

A dozen years ago I created a simple meditation process that sent me through the jhana levels without even knowing what jhana was. The journey is well worth the effort. I hope I can persuade more people to meditate and experience some of the things that happen when the mind stops. It may well be the most profound human experience available to us. Copyright ©2013 All content written by .

4 thoughts on “Meditation Questions: What to Do With Tongue When Meditating?”

  1. Thanks for this simple but perfectly relevant post. I remember having this very issue back when I started meditating, it happened around the time when thoughts had began to quieten down a lot and I believe it arose due to the curiosity of my mind to seek out some form of distraction. I had never really paid attention to where my tongue sat before this happened, but once I did I couldn’t stop infatuating over whether it was in the right place. If I put it to the top of my mouth there was too much tension, at the bottom it would encourage saliva production which meant I had to keep swallowing. When it was at the teeth all I could think of was the jagged edges of my teeth sticking in to it because I have some slightly buckled teeth. This then led to an obsession about having to go to the dentist to get my teeth straightened or I may never be able to meditate properly! As ridiculous as it sounds this problem hindered my progress for some time. Then one day I just went to sit and completely forgot about it. From the minute I sat my mind and body were relaxed, breathing was really settled and I got so absorbed in the equanimity that I didn’t think to pay any attention to that old tongue of mine. You just have to let go and not make an issue of these things because they lead to doubt about the practice. It did make me laugh a few months later though when listening to a Dhamma talk. The teacher ended with a Q&A session and somebody asked what to do with their tongue. He seemed surprised to be asked this, but his answer was much the same, put it where it feels most comfortable and natural and pay it no heed. I can also concur with the writer that my tongue sits in the very same place as his while meditating. Great picture by the way, hehe 🙂

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