Thank you so much for this thread and the advice given - I have been having the same problem recently and thought I might add a few of my observations, hopefully it will be of use.
I have just returned from my first Vipassana course, a 10-day course. This is from someone who has never meditated in his life before. I feel immensely fortunate that I was able to find out about Vipassana and the great benefits that meditation can bestow on people.
Regarding the pressure in the head, at its most intense, it feels as if I have a bowling ball for a head, or a large brick. The focal point of the sensation seems to be at the centerline of the nose, perhaps an inch 1/2 below the brow. But the sensation can move around depending on what I'm doing with my awareness.
I believe this started on day 3 or 4 of the course, when we had finished working exclusively on anapana, from 430am to about 930pm, and were being introduced to the technique of Vipassana.
I was sitting and focusing on my breathing - observing the sensation of breath on the outside of the nose and upper lip. I was also moving awareness to any sensation I could feel within the triangular area composing the nose and above the lip.
I noticed a pulsing sensation at a spot on the bridge of my nose, below the brow. I focused all my attention there and studied the quality of the sensation intensely. Then, at about the same time, I was noticing some colorful "fireworks" and studied those as well. I felt myself going deeper into concentration - feeling both the pulsing sensation and observing these colorful aurora like shapes. At one point, it felt as if I was entering into one of these shapes, kind of a circular yellow pattern, or alternatively, that it was being zoomed into greater magnification. Inside, there was another pattern, this time green or blue and much more vivid. At this point, and still feeling the pulsing in quite some detail, I felt a strong wave of sensation throughout my body, a very pleasant sensation. I remembered to remain equanimous, and the meditation time ended shortly after.
I think after this was when the pressure sensation arose. The next few days, it became more apparent and increased. It is extremely distracting. Not quite painful, but is a great pressure. Quite unpleasant. I am having great difficulty focusing on anapana in the nose area because any attention that I put near that area causes the pressure to intensify.
I have tried ignoring it and focusing on the breathing anyway, and just being with it, yet it has remained so far. Sometimes, it feels as if my nose is 6 inches wide and that makes it harder to feel the breath.
I have also tried focusing on the sensation directly, quite a few times. I noticed that:
- The fundamental quality of the sensation, at its focal point, is an extremely rapid vibration or oscillation.
- The pressure, or stiffness-feeling can move around a bit. It has moved away from the nose and off to either direction. It can encompass the entire head. One time, the pressure was intense and expanded enough after a meditation session that it affected my eyesight a little bit (things were out of focus). Seems to be focused at the nose or forehead area though.
I have tried avoiding the head completely and focusing on feeling sensations on the rest of the body, below the neck. This seemed to help a bit. At times though, the pressure/stiffness would shift and I would feel it in my right shoulder blade area and around the upper back.
- When studying the area around the focal point, it felt like there was a repulsive force between my point of awareness and that of the focal point of the sensation. Like the poles of 2 magnets repelling each other.
I asked my teacher at the course about it, and he said that it may be a sankara rising up and manifesting itself at a weak point in the body. I have fractured my nose around that area, years ago. Is it possible for a re-fracture to occur with simply focusing awareness at a weak point like that?
I will be going in to see a doctor if this does not subside soon, to cover that base. It has to do with the fracture or something else, I will find out. If not, maybe it really is a sankara or something energy related. I have not been sleeping well lately and also having unpleasant dreams. Perhaps I am just fueling this more with nervousness and worry.
I have to admit, the only concept of "energy" that I have subscribed to is of that used in the physical sciences, where energy is some quantity that one calculates (still mysterious). There must be the same amount of energy before and after something happens. But I feel myself having a more open mind now with this incident. Perhaps there really is some other form.
In any case, I will be trying the advice given here, and will hopefully "drain" or move this pressure away and dissipate it. For those of you who have been experiencing this, any updates?
Also, I found this instructional video that may be related:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xq4NVSp35Rs