Headache Yoga

As I was sitting down to prepare for my morning meditation today, a sudden throbbing sensation overcame the area around my right eyebrow.

I rarely experience headaches, and I could tell it would really disrupt my ability to become quiet. So I saw it as a good opportunity to engage in the practice of “naming.”


Naming is a meditation and mindfulness technique in which one gives name to a particular experience in order to create space around it as opposed to deeming it bad, wrong, etc.


I immediately gave a mental name to the sensation: big, pulsing, heavy, concentrated. And just like magic, I began to feel it dissolve. It softened.


Yoga means “union.” To practice yoga means to practice making room for it all; to include all things that are happening in the moment.


In making space, we acknowledge every fragmented part of ourselves so that we may remember our inherent wholeness.

This perspective is a 180 degree flip from the view of allopathic medicine, which says to take an Advil to make the headache go away.

As I sat with my headache, I began to see its origins. Not enough water. Too much salt intake last night. Also I noticed lots of thoughts racing about anxiously.


From a scientific point of view, when we name what’s going on, we activate the left prefrontal cortex of our brains, which is involved in establishing positive feelings.


When we acknowledge and say “yes” to what’s here, we stimulate the entire prefrontal cortex, which contains our ability to respond with awareness as opposed to react.

I invite you to pause, breathe, relax and feel, in this moment, what is happening. Whatever it is, practice giving it a name. Feel what happens when you watch and allow what’s here.

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