I have been meditating for a year and a half now every morning. I started this past week with 2 new mantras by Sadhguru. The first I can do with no problem but when the second one starts I am good until about 2 minutes into it. All of a sudden I get a pain in the left side of my head behind my ear and up towards the top of my head. The mantra is Sadhguru — Brahmanandha swaroopa. When the next mantra comes on it goes away. Not sure why this happens. Is it something I am doing? Is this normal?

—MARY KATE Villacres, United States


Dear Mary Kate,

What does it mean if your head hurts while meditating? Meditation should be relaxing, calming, and uplifting. You should not be experiencing headaches, which indicates tension. It sounds like your first mantra helps you move in the right direction but not the second.

You could try a few yoga postures before meditation to help with the relaxation of the muscles of the upper back and shoulders. Also check that you are not inadvertently raising or furrowing your brows, squinting your eyes, clenching your jaw, or tensing your shoulders during meditation.

If these suggestions do not do it, I suggest dropping the second mantra for now and working with the first one. Possibly sometime later you could try to resume the second mantra and see if things are better. Meditation is an individual quest for divine connection and it is important to work with your body and mind in the way that is best for you.

You might experiment a bit to see what might be causing the headaches during meditation. One meditates to enjoy peace, calmness and connect with our own higher potential. But headaches will be a great obstacle in this process. Let’s try to find out what can cause headache and ways to overcome it.

Maybe it’s due to lack of proper supply of oxygen to the brain. Before sitting to meditate, do a few pranayams of breathing. Alternate breathing exercises in the nostrils (Anulom-Vilom). Do a slow deep breathing. Exercise a few times, which will fill your lungs and heart with good quantity of oxygen (prana). Your brain cells will get activated and refreshed, as in the breathing process air enters the nostrils and passes through the brain into the lungs. In any type of meditation, as one goes deep into meditation, naturally breath becomes subtle and slow flowing. This results in short supply of oxygen and may cause a headache. So, these pranayam exercises will help.

Doing meditation on an empty stomach is not advisable. Eat at least something light (maybe a fresh fruit, a few nuts, dry fruits, or small glass of fruit juice) before starting your meditation.

If you have an acidity problem, that also may cause headache. Check with a healthcare provider and consider some remedy for increasing alkalinity. In certain types of meditation practices one works deeply on his astral body when some internal physical movement is done. It aggravates acidity acutely. It may sound weird, but it’s true.

In certain types of meditation practices, one is to raise or lower their gaze towards the tip of the nose or the point between the eyebrows. If you are straining your eyes too much while doing this, then it may cause a headache. In this case, please seek guidance from your meditation teacher.

Many times, one of the causes of headaches is that we neglect to take care of our eyes! Check with an Ophthalmologist about whether you need to wear corrective lenses or need to change the strength of an existing prescription.

Last, but very importantly, increase your duration of meditation gradually. At the start, do not force yourself into meditations of long duration. We should give time to build up the coordination between body and mind. Do not put out a lot of stress to get desired results. Be relaxed in your body and mind.

Hopefully, one or few of these changes will help you overcome your headache problem and you can enjoy your meditations with peace and joy!

If you would like to learn more about meditation as taught here at Ananda you can check out our free mini-course in meditation.

Many blessings on your meditation practice,
Nayaswami Mukti

Updated July 20, 2023 by Nayaswami Suvarna for Ananda Communications

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