Pain in the Head While Meditating


I was practicing kriya yoga for 17 months and during practice I felt sensation in anja and it start move to left side of head while I was focusing. I asked guru and he said let it go how it is and keep practicing. I was doing so and after few months I felt pain and n my left head and left eye ,left shoulder. I asked guru and he said he don’t know about it ,and other students don’t know kind of problem. So I left him before 3 months. Even now if I do meditation I can sense the left head problem.

—Suraj MG, India


Dear Suraj,

Does this feeling (pain) continue throughout the day or only during meditation? If only in meditation, then I would suggest you work on your body’s posture, spine, back, shoulders and also on refining the position of your eyes during meditation. If the pain sensation continues during the day, you had best see a doctor.

The usual issue for meditators is “trying too hard.” In the case of eye strain, a person is inadvertently using the muscles of the eyes and head by instinct and habit rather than simply relaxing and gazing through the point between the eyebrows. Some people (myself included many years ago) strained so much during meditation while peering behind closed eyes that I would get a headache!

It is easier to give instructions for posture and position of the eyes in person or in a video so in this reply I can only give some general suggestions. (Are you near an Ananda center where you can meet with one of the acharyas in person?)

1. Regular practice of hatha yoga will help your posture and the muscles of your back. Ananda teaches a system of tension exercises called Energization Exercises (search on YouTube) and Ananda Yoga has some specific exercises (“Circle of Joy”) for strengthening the back muscles and straightening the spine. Maha mudra, too, is excellent. For these a teacher is best.

2. When you begin to meditate and from time to time during meditation, check your shoulders. I suspect natural tension is causing your shoulders to lift unnoticed. Lift the shoulders, circle them, and then relax them downwards. Do several times before meditation and stop to do them during meditation if necessary.

3. Do neck circles with low to medium tension in the neck circle the neck 3 to 5 times first in one direction, then reverse and do the other direction. Then, when finished, do neck circles with no tension: first one way, then back the other way. Do several times before meditation and stop to do them during meditation if necessary.

4. The head position for meditation is important. Notice if during meditation your head is craning upward, tilting backward at the back of your head. Your head should be level with the chin tucked in slightly towards the throat. Adjust as needed during meditation.

5. The position of the eyes is perhaps the most important. With the head level as described above, and with eyes open before commencing meditation, look up! Take the index finger of the right hand and press it on the forehead between the eyebrows, perhaps slightly up from between the eyebrows. There should be a flat spot there and it should feel just right to press that spot. Now with eyes open, gaze through that flat spot. Remove your finger but keep your gaze looking not at but through that spot. Next, extend your right arm in front of your forehead with the thumb sticking straight up. Looking through the sweet spot previously identified, look at your thumb. If your eyes cross then look further out, perhaps even at the juncture point of the wall and ceiling in front of you. Experiment with this until your upward gaze (eyes open) seems perfectly right and comfortable. Meditate with eyes open until you feel comfortable enough in this position to gently close your eyes either completely or about half way, as you feel. Next, throughout your meditation, open your eyes and check your position or, if during meditation, you feel any strain or discomfort stop! Open your eyes and check your position. By the way, when you look up, smile slightly and soften the eyes! Relax the face!

6. From time to time throughout the day, practice looking up, smile, relax the face and eyes. Take a happy break. Learn to live more at the spiritual eye and you will find more rapid spiritual progress in your life. Yogananda once said, “A master is one who lives (whose consciousness is centered) at the spiritual eye.”

Blessings and joy to you!
Nayaswami Hriman