Yogic Knowledge

Understanding Headaches After Meditation or Yoga and How to Prevent Them

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Meditation and yoga have long been praised for their numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Yet, at times, individuals may experience an unexpected side effect – headaches. It might seem ironic that practices designed to reduce stress, anxiety, and inner turmoil can lead to such discomfort. However, let’s understand headaches after meditation meaning and the underlying causes of headaches after meditation or yoga sessions while offering guidance on how to avoid or alleviate these inconveniences as you continue on your journey toward inner peace and holistic well-being.

Does Meditation Cause Headaches?

Meditation can sometimes result in a feeling of energy building up in your head, causing what’s known as a headache. This sensation can be quite intense, but it’s a natural part of the spiritual awakening process. When you begin meditating, you’re releasing energy in your body that may have been dormant for some time. As your body awakens, the first areas to be affected are usually the upper chakras, such as the crown and the third eye in your head.

What Causes Headaches After Meditation?

If you experience a headache after meditating, it may indicate that you are straining or tensing your effort and focusing too much on the physical location of the third eye. 

As you start to meditate and awaken internally, you may experience energy gathering around your head, which can result in a painful headache. This feeling of pressure often represents internal resistance, which can occur when you try to control things instead of releasing them. This resistance is usually caused by holding onto deep feelings of anxiety or stress. By opening up different parts of your body, you can allow the energy to flow freely and release it by letting go of the need to control it. Remember, resistance to light can cause pressure, and releasing that resistance can help you feel better.

How to Stop Headaches Caused by Meditation?

It’s common for meditators to experience headaches and pressure in their head.

If you struggle with symptoms like these, try this helpful meditation. It can be adjusted to fit your individual needs and experience, so trust your judgment when practicing it.

Step 1 

Find a comfortable sitting position and ensure that you won’t be interrupted for at least 10 minutes. The position of your hands is not important.

Step 2

Practice mindful breathing by taking 3 or 4 deep breaths. Focus on the sensation of your breath as it moves slowly in and out.

Step 3

Take a moment to notice any pressure you may be feeling around your head, but don’t concentrate on it too much. Avoid trying to manipulate or spin the pressure. Instead, simply loosen your jaw, lips, forehead, and the back of your head. Take your time and relax without rushing.

Step 4

Imagine that pressure is like water, and you are a sponge. Gradually absorb the pressure into the upper part of your neck, which connects your head and neck. Feel it slowly moving down your neck.

Step 5

Begin to focus on the region between your neck and shoulders. You will feel the pressure spreading through your shoulders. Allow yourself to sense it filling your arms and shoulders.

Step 6

By now, you should be experiencing a decrease in pressure around your head. Focus on channeling more of this energy toward your upper back and chest. Allow it to gradually flow downwards until it reaches your feet and is released into the earth.

When you feel the energy spread evenly throughout your body, it’s time to end your meditation. Picture your energy body as a large chakra that encompasses your entire physical body, and let it grow bigger and bigger.

*Note: It is recommended to practice daily meditation if it improves your well-being and helps to maintain centered and balanced energy consistently.

*Other suggestions: These techniques have been recommended by various spiritual teachers and have proven effective for some. If meditation doesn’t work for you, consider giving these suggestions a try.

  1. Take a break from meditation and engage in physical activities to enjoy life without feeling pressured. Treat the pressure as background noise and wait for it to pass.
  2. Engage in a yoga routine.
  3. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, taking a shower can have a grounding effect on you. Therefore, it’s recommended to consider taking a shower during these types of situations.
  4. One way to ground yourself is by walking barefoot on natural ground.

Please understand that the tools mentioned here are designed to accelerate your progress. If you can handle the pressure or if you find it enjoyable, there is nothing to fear. In time, the energy will balance out, other chakras will naturally purify and open, and your progress will continue.

Do people often experience headaches while doing yoga?

Yoga has been proven to be helpful for those experiencing headaches and migraines. Through extensive research, it has been discovered that yoga can alleviate stress – a common trigger for headaches and migraines. Additionally, it can promote better sleep, which can worsen or cause headaches. Practicing yoga can also improve your posture and reduce musculoskeletal tightness, which can trigger headaches. 

However, it’s important to note that despite these benefits, there have been anecdotal reports of headaches during or after yoga practice.

The Causes of Headaches After Yoga

If practicing yoga causes you to have a headache, it is important to assess your habits and surroundings to identify the root cause. Several common factors may contribute to headaches during or after a yoga session, which are listed below for your reference.

Dehydration

Headaches are often caused by dehydration, which happens when your body doesn’t receive enough water.

Sweating can increase the risk of dehydration, particularly when performing physically demanding activities or practicing yoga in hot weather. 

Other signs of dehydration may include fatigue, increased thirst, dizziness (especially upon standing), dark yellow urine, reduced urination, dry mouth, and irritability.

Hunger

To have enough energy during exercise, including yoga, your body requires glucose. It’s crucial to eat before doing yoga to avoid a drop in your blood glucose levels, which can cause hunger headaches, difficulty concentrating, feelings of faintness, sweating, and nausea.

Incorrect technique

Proper technique is crucial for practicing yoga safely and effectively. It’s important to ensure that each pose is done with the correct form to avoid pain and injury. Incorrect technique can strain muscles near the neck and head, leading to discomfort, tension, and even headaches. Look out for poses that you might need to avoid, for example yoga poses to avoid if you have neck issues or anything similar to know what to do and how to do the technique in the right manner.

Inversion poses

When you do an inversion pose, your heart is positioned higher than your head, causing your head to be upside down. However, if you frequently experience headaches, these poses could potentially trigger or exacerbate your headache pain.

Improper breathing

During yoga, it’s possible to unintentionally hold your breath when concentrating on a pose or movement. Inadequate or shallow breathing can hinder the delivery of oxygen to your muscles and brain, leading to muscle tension and headaches.

Overexertion

While yoga is typically a gentle form of exercise, it’s important to remember that it can still be challenging, especially if you’re new to the practice or attempting advanced poses. Overexertion can result in headaches, so it’s crucial to listen to your body’s limits and not push yourself too hard.

Bright lights

Exposure to bright indoor lights and sunlight, including sun glare, can potentially trigger headaches or migraines. If you practice yoga outdoors, be aware that you may be more susceptible to experiencing a heat headache.

Some Yoga Poses & Breathing Exercises for Headache Relief

Yoga Poses and PranayamasSteps To Do Benefits
Halasana (Plow Pose)Lie on your back, arms at your sides, palms facing down.
Inhale and engage your core to lift your legs, forming a 90-degree angle.
Keep breathing and support your hips and back with your hands, lifting them off the floor.
Swing your legs in a 180-degree arc until your toes touch the ground, with your back perpendicular to the floor.
Hold the pose, relaxing deeper with each breath.
After about a minute (or less for beginners), exhale and gently lower your legs.
Enhances neck, shoulder, abdominal, and back muscles.
Soothes the nervous system, alleviates stress and fatigue.
Tones legs and boosts flexibility.
Activates the thyroid gland and bolsters immunity.
Provides menopause relief for women.
Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)Lie on your back, hands at your sides.
Simultaneously lift legs, buttocks, and back, supporting the back with hands.
Move elbows close together and adjust hands for support on the back.
Straighten legs and spine by pressing elbows and hands.
Keep weight on shoulders and upper arms, not head and neck.
Firm legs, lift heels, and align big toes above the nose; point toes up.
Maintain a strong neck without pressing into the floor; press the sternum toward the chin.
Breathe deeply and hold for 30-60 seconds.
To exit, lower knees to forehead, hands down, and slowly lower spine and legs.
Rest for at least 60 seconds.
Stimulates thyroid and parathyroid, normalizing their functions.
Strengthens arms, and shoulders, and maintains spine flexibility.
Increases blood flow to the brain.
Enhances heart muscle stretching, boosting venous blood return.
Alleviates constipation, indigestion, and varicose veins.
Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique)Sit comfortably, spine straight, shoulders relaxed, and maintain a gentle smile.
Left hand on left knee, palm facing sky or in Chin Mudra.
Position your right hand’s index and middle fingers between your eyebrows, ring and little fingers on the left nostril, and thumb on the right nostril.
Close the right nostril with the thumb, and exhale gently through the left nostril.
Inhale through the left nostril. 
Pinch the left nostril with the ring and little fingers while releasing the right nostril, and exhale through the right nostril.
Inhale through the right nostril before exhaling through the left nostril to complete one round of Nadi Shodhan pranayama.
Perform 9 rounds; remember to inhale from the same side you just exhaled from.
Keep your eyes closed and focus on deep, smooth, effortless breathing throughout the practice.
Enhances breath control for a focused mind.
Redirects thoughts from past and future to the present.
Addresses circulatory and respiratory issues.
Effectively relieves stress and encourages relaxation.
Balances logical and emotional brain functions.
Purifies and stabilizes energy channels for smooth prana flow.
Regulates body temperature.
Bhramari Pranayama (Humming Bee Technique)Find a quiet, well-ventilated space and sit up straight.
Close your eyes, maintain a gentle smile, and observe the sensations within.
Locate the cartilage between your ear and cheek, and place your index fingers on it.
Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, press the cartilage gently while making a loud bee-like humming sound.
Opt for a high-pitched sound for best results.Repeat this process 3-4 times with each breath.
Provides quick relief from stress, anger, and anxiety.
Highly effective for hypertension sufferers, calming the agitated mind.
Alleviates heat-related discomfort and mild headaches.
Aids in reducing migraines.
Enhances concentration and memory.
Boosts confidence.
Helps lower blood pressure.
Prepares the mind for meditation.

Tips To Overcome Post-Meditation Headaches

A common problem after meditation is headaches and agitation, often caused by transitioning from a meditative state too quickly. This is due to an incomplete process of relieving stress, leading to discomfort and bad moods.

Below are some tips to help you understand if meditation causes headaches and how to prevent and ease them.

  1. It’s essential to pause after you practice mindfulness meditation, even if you don’t feel any major effects. Give yourself a minimum of 2 or 3 minutes to slowly wake up before you open your eyes and stand. 
  2. If you find yourself letting go of a lot of old conditioning during your meditation, take a bit more time before you move on. You might even want to rest for the full five minutes.
  3. By taking this transition period, you’ll be able to get up feeling refreshed and relaxed, reducing the chances of experiencing headaches.
  4. Instead of another session of mindfulness meditation, try some physical activity. Take the pressure off and just enjoy yourself. Think of it as a gentle background sound until it fades.
  5. Do some light yoga and focus on your breathing. And if the pain or pressure becomes unbearable, take a shower. Water is a grounding force and can help you reconnect with yourself.
  6. Try some barefoot walking on natural surfaces for additional grounding. It’s a great way to stay connected to your body.
  7. Visualize your entire physical body surrounded by a single, expanding chakra that represents your energy body. 
  8. Let it continue to grow. 
  9. If you notice positive changes during meditation, it’s recommended that you make it a regular practice until your energy is consistently centered and balanced. 
  10. To fully benefit from meditation, you may also consider mindfulness therapy or counseling.

*Important: Headaches shouldn’t be frequent during meditation practice. Occasional ones are normal, but if they happen regularly, there’s an issue. Consult a qualified teacher for persistent headaches

Other Ways to Relieve the Headaches

  • Drinking plenty of water is essential, especially after practicing yoga and meditation. Even though these practices help remove toxins from the body, it’s possible to still experience headaches. To thoroughly cleanse the system, it’s necessary to rehydrate the body. Drinking water is an effective way to prevent and alleviate headaches.
  • Plan a healthy diet that suits your taste preferences so that you can maintain it over time.
  • Ayurvedic herbs such as betel leaves, cloves, garlic, ginger, and henna are known to provide relief from headaches.
  • If you are experiencing migraine attacks, you may want to consider practicing mindfulness meditation and specific yoga poses to alleviate symptoms.

FAQ’s

The Ajna or third eye chakra, which means “to perceive” in Sanskrit, is located between the eyebrows slightly above the eye level. It is linked to inspiration, intuition, seeing, and self-knowledge. If the third eye chakra is blocked, it may cause headaches or migraines.

Why do I get headaches after meditation?

You may experience headaches straight after meditation during the first week or two. The headaches can sometimes last for several hours. Some possible causes for headaches are the new strenuous workout, tension build-up, incorrect posture or breathing techniques, eye strain, dehydration, and clearing negative energies from the pineal gland and the head region.

Can Meditation Cause Headaches?

Mindfulness meditation can lead to spiritual awakening and the opening of chakras. Pressure or pain in the head may indicate resistance or tension. As throat and heart chakras open, energy flows through these areas. Headaches can occur if meditation is not done properly, so try a guided meditation.

Why does yoga give me a headache?

When practicing yoga, it’s possible to unintentionally hold your breath. This can occur when you’re concentrating on a particular pose or movement. However, improper or shallow breathing can lead to inadequate oxygen supply to your muscles and brain, resulting in headaches and muscle tension.

How do you stop getting headaches after starting meditation?

Meditation could potentially be a helpful method for managing migraine headaches.

Find a quiet space, get comfortable, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Let random thoughts come and go without trying to control them. Refocus on your breath.

Conclusion

For a successful morning meditation session, learn about the art of meditation and follow these recommendations. If you experience heaviness in the heart or experience headaches after Yoga or meditation, consult a trained instructor/doctor. Stop and take precautions if you feel persistently tired or stressed during guided meditation. Remember to practice mindfully and don’t force yourself to fit in with others.

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