Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is…

Sometimes students have written to or asked Swami Veda and other senior teachers in our tradition questions about practice.  This is one such “Question and Answer,” or Q&A. This question came to Swami Veda before he dropped the body.


I have encountered a problem when I meditate: I generate too much saliva. I focus too much on the position of my tongue which eventually makes me tense unconsciously the muscles of my jaw. I would like to know the right position of the tongue when meditating and also how to approach this problem to solve it.


Two have answered this question: Lalita Arya (Ammaji) and Michael Smith.

From Lalita Arya (Ammaji):

Anything that causes distraction before or during meditation means that the person is not meditating as the thoughts are on the distraction. Try practicing the various postures for sitting in meditation - when NOT meditating. While doing any acts that do not require use of tongue - trying keeping the tongue rolled back as often as possible so eventually this becomes as natural as possible. This will take some time, be patient.
If and when it does still become distracting - pay attention to the distraction until it goes away, but relaxation is VERY necessary. The whole idea of meditating is to relax BOTH body and mind.

From Michael Smith:

 I’m going by my memory of what Swami Rama said or wrote someplace about the tongue and salivation . . . maybe it was at a lecture or on an audio.  

The main instruction is to relax the mouth, lips, tongue etc. In beginning meditation, the mouth is gently closed without any tension in the jaw, tongue or root of the tongue. The teeth gently touch and the tongue rests gently at the roof of the mouth (the soft palate).

When I go to the dentist, the dentist says that I salivate a lot. It might be because of nervous tension, or that my mouth is open, or that I’m holding my tongue in a tense way.  Maybe the salivation would diminish if I relaxed my tongue.  The next time I go to the dentist, I’ll make a point to consciously relax my tongue and see if that makes a difference.  

Maybe it was on an audio recording. I could not find much in the usual books, such as Meditation and Its Practicebut in that book, in answer to a Question about disturbances, such as the body itching, the head tilting to one side, the eyes tearing up, the need to swallow, etc., Swami Rama said, “Such disturbances occur during the preliminary stages of meditation. If one does not overeat, learns to keep the mind free from preoccupations, and observes the body, these things can be checked easily.” (p. 84).

Editor’s Note:

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