Pressure in the Head During Meditation

Question

While developing the habit of keeping attention at Kutastha, I am experiencing strong unpleasant pressure in the forehead. It is now happening unconsciously as well throughout the day. Please help me get over it. I have stopped meditation due to this but it is still happening.

—Apoorva Chandra, India

Answer

Dear Apoorva,

I am sorry to hear you have been having this trouble with meditation and have had to stop meditating.

I think your sense of pressure in the forehead is due to muscle tension. It is a common mistake for beginning meditators when they try to concentrate at the point between the eyebrows, (the spiritual eye or Kutastha), they actually are tensing the muscles of the forehead. For some people you can even see a wrinkled area between the eyebrows or squinting of the eyes. Muscle tension here will feel very unpleasant, can be a feeling of pressure or even headache. What we are asked to do in meditation is direct our awareness and concentration to the point between the eyebrows. This must be done without any tension. Tension only limits the flow of our awareness and concentration to this area.

Because you now have this unpleasant pressure at other times of the day, I wonder if you might have inadvertently created a habit of muscle tension in the forehead. Check yourself in the mirror and see if you can see muscle tension around the eyes or forehead. If you see this, gently massage these areas and see if you can relax and reteach yourself how to keep the area relaxed.

Another source of head discomfort can be uplifting our eyes with tension. During meditation, we gaze gently upward toward the spiritual eye. Our eye gaze is uplifted as if looking at a distant mountain peak. Some people try to roll the eyes upward as high as possible. This causes muscle tension and pain.

I encourage you to quickly go to work on relaxing these facial areas so you can get back to meditation. Meditation is a wonderful tool to help us experience deep relaxation and joy. You are on the right track wanting to start a meditation practice.

Many blessings,

Nayaswami Mukti