Headaches. What a bummer. Mild or major, they disrupt life and generally make everything more difficult.

Headaches happen for lots of reasons, and I won’t get into a deep treatise on them here. In the Ayurvedic model, headaches can be attributed to one of the doshas, two of the doshas, or all three of the doshas. For this reason it is a *very good idea* to consult with a skilled practitioner to address what is going on for you.

That disclaimer aside, we can look at some of the doshic dynamics that affect headaches. If your headaches are due to stress and/or held tension, then this information will probably be helpful to you.

Vata’s qualities are: cold, dry, light, and mobile.

When Vata is present, there is worry, anxiety, and overwhelm. There is an excessive amount of movement in the mind. This causes difficulty with sleep, dry hard rabbit-turd stools, and a confusion of the normal biological functions of the body.

Vata headaches can occur because we are:

  • under-hydrated
  • cold
  • full of anxiety
  • doing too much (ie: not resting enough)

The way to remedy this is to apply the opposite qualities of warm/hot, moist/oily, heavy, and still/stable to restore balance.

I’ll explain this below.

Pitta’s qualities are: hot, oily, and sharp.

A Pitta headache indicates an excessive amount of heat in the mind and/or body. This can show up as being critical, blaming, angry, and intense. We can also have an elevated temperature.

Pitta headaches can occur because we are:

  • under-hydrated
  • overheated
  • full of intensity
  • doing too much (ie: working too hard)

The way to remedy this is to apply the opposite qualities of cool/cold, dry, and smooth.

I’ll explain this below.

Kapha’s qualities are: cool, damp, heavy, and stable.

A Kapha headache indicates an excessive amount of sluggishness. This can result in a build-up of excess metabolic wastes and toxins—as well as a congestion of the lymph/watery tissues of the body.

Kapha headaches can occur because we are:

  • under-hydrated
  • not getting enough exercise
  • eating lots of rich foods
  • feeling stuck

The way to remedy this is to apply the opposite qualities of warm/hot, dry, light, and mobile.

I’ll explain this below.

In this scenario, the vata person benefits the most from creating stability:

  • implementing regular daily routines
  • eating warm, cooked, nourishing foods
  • doing a gentle yoga practice, daily
  • walking in nature, daily
  • taking a warm bath, daily
  • applying sesame oil to the feet at bedtime, daily

In this scenario, the pitta person benefits the most from cooling off:

  • strolling in nature
  • taking a restorative yoga class
  • eating cooling foods
  • drinking peppermint tea
  • avoiding alcohol, coffee, and spicy foods
  • doing a cooling pranayama breathing exercise
  • practicing gratitude

In this scenario, the kapha person benefits the most from creating stability:

  • engaging in some strenuous activity
  • eating spicy foods
  • being spontaneous
  • using exotic herbs and spices in all cooking
  • lightening up on meal portion sizes a smidge
  • engaging with loved ones

Pick any of the above suggestions and implement them. Do what is easy for you. They will work, but you may need to stay consistent with them over a period of time (a few days, maybe?) as you shift your focus away from what is stressing you.

Other Ideas

Generally, make sure you are well hydrated. Eat to your hunger. Rest.

You might consult with a skilled Ayurvedic practitioner to learn about which marma acupressure points you could use to relieve a headache once it has set in.

Daily Practices

Here is my chance to plug daily self-care practices and routines. I can’t say enough about how they build resilience and support a state of equanimity. Go to our YouTube channel to see videos of some important self-care routines that you can implement now. And, read this blog post about how important daily practices are.

Find this content helpful? If so, please consider making a donation. Our community’s support is deeply appreciated and is vital to our ability to bring you useful content on an ongoing basis.

Thank you!