Want to learn how to do yoga for headache? “Stretch, bend, breathe, relax”, and scroll down for more.
“Headaches are characterised by a feeling of tenseness in the neck, shoulder and scalp whereas migraines are basically pulsating headaches, often on one side of the head. Symptoms actually vary from person to person, and even from one migraine attack to the next,” explains Dr. Supriya Bali, Internal Medicine, Max Hospitals. A pounding head can keep you from falling asleep at night or worse, skip an important meeting. Whether from dehydration, stress, tension, a hangover, or anything else; when you feel a headache coming on, all you want to do is zap the pain away – and fast.
But don’t pop that pill just yet. We’ve got good news for you. Yoga could in fact help get rid of that headache for good. Dr. Manoj K. Ahuja, Sukhda Hospital says, “Yoga helps to release tension and stress in the body, and the majority of headaches are usually tension-related”. Here are 5 asanas that are designed to gently stretch and open the areas in your body (such as you neck, shoulders or back), while circulating blood to your head. It’s time to take a detour from your medicine cabinet, and head straight to your yoga mat instead.
Tip: Make a conscious effort to take deep breaths that start in your diaphragm and fill up your lungs. This will help get plenty of fresh oxygen circulating through your blood and in turn, relax your mind and body.
5 Yoga Poses to Get Rid of Your Headache
1. Seated Neck Release
Since the neck is often the culprit of tension headaches, it’s important to stretch it out with a basic yoga exercise. All you need to do is sit in a comfortable position, ensuring that your spine is straight and your neck lengthened. Then place your left hand on the right side of your head and gently tilt your head to the left. Hold for a few breaths and then slowly switch sides. Repeat on both sides a few times to reduce the intensity of the headache. So when a headache looms, you know what to do.
2. Viparita Karani
Putting your ‘Legs Up The Wall’, gently stretches the muscles in your neck and relaxes you at the same time. It can in fact, ease your throbbing headache in just a few minutes. Sit on one end of a mat with your right hip touching a wall. Lean back, turn to lie flat on the mat, and extend your legs up the wall. Make sure your butt is nearly touching the wall and your legs are placed together. Put your hands on your belly or rest them on the mat, then close your eyes, relax your jaw and drop your chin slightly. For 3 to 10 minutes, breathe deeply and slowly in this position.
3. Adho Mukho Svanasana
Also known as the Downward Facing Dog Pose, this is one of yoga’s most widely recognised asanas. Take deep breaths while practicing this pose, and just let your head hang between your shoulders. This beginner-friendly asana helps get rid of fatigue, back pain and stiffness from sitting all day by stretching the hamstrings, chest and lengthens the spine. It helps provide additional blood flow to the head which can often be just the thing to relieve your headache, and leaves you feeling energized.
4. Happy Baby Pose
In case you think your headache might be stemmed from the pain in your back that’s radiating up your spine, or you just need to relax for a few minutes, try the Happy Baby Pose. This restorative post will indeed instill a sense of calmness. Lie on your back with your knees bent, holding on to your thighs or the outside edges of your feet. You can slowly rock from side to side to increase the stretch in your hips and lower back, and to gently lull your mind into a state of relaxation.
Standing forward-fold is perhaps, one of the most basic ways to get rid of the pain. Nidhi Gureja, Art of Living, says, “Uttanasana invigorates the nervous system by increasing blood supply and also calms the mind”. So what do you need to do? With feet hip-width apart, bend forward, relaxing your head toward the floor. Grab opposite elbows, soften knees, and and just relax your head and neck completely.