How to Manage Headaches with Yoga
Do you often find yourself feeling helpless and not knowing how to get rid of a terrible headache or migraine? You're trying to sleep and it's 3am, or there's a short deadline at work and you need to be focussed and alert? With the help of regular yoga and a few simple techniques, you can be free of these headache hassles!
According to a Yoga Circle study, tension headaches affect a high 90% of people and should be tended to quite quickly and if possible, without medication. With regular yoga, this is possible. Yoga is renowned for releasing tension in your muscles, to stimulate your nervous system and help with blood circulation.
Factors that can cause headaches and migraines include:
• Stress and depression – can be easily managed with the use of yoga and meditation to focus on happiness and relaxation
• Bad posture – yoga corrects posture by balancing out your muscles so they are equal in strength and flexibility
• Using one side of your body more than the other as this puts your body out of alignment
• Chemical imbalance in the brain
• Certain foods can be a trigger
Carrying around a lot of tension in your back, neck and shoulders diverts the oxygen supply to the brain, which leads to a headache. To release deep muscles tension, it's best to relax muscles immediately after every pose. This sends oxygen back to the brain and can prevent the development of a headache.
Here are some simple poses for you to try at home whenever you feel a headache coming on:
• Shoulderstand – lay flat on the ground with your palms placed on the back of your hips. Slowly raise your legs (one at a time if easier) straight up in the air using your elbows and hands as support.
• Headstand – placing your hands around the top or your head and using your elbows as support, lift one leg at a time so your knees are touching your chest. When ready, raise both legs straight up into the air and hold the position. If you are finding this difficult, you may want to use a wall as a brace to begin with.
• Legs-up-the-wall pose – laying on your back, raise both legs in the air, keeping your hips as close to the wall as possible creating a 90-degree angle. Focusing on your breathing, place your hands on your stomach with your palms up and ensure the bottom of your feet are pointing towards the ceiling.
When performing yoga poses the most important thing is to focus on your breathing, inhaling deeply and exhaling long breaths. Headaches could be a thing of your past with a few simple techniques!
Article by Shyamala Benakovic, CEO of Yoga Australia