Use yoga to relieve your headache quickly.
Headaches are the worst. All that pain and pressure in your head, face, and neck can make it nearly impossible to focus on anything other than getting rid of it! Headaches are often caused by stress and physical tension, so the key to getting rid of one is to find a way to relax. You don’t have to reach for the pain medications every time! Try practicing yoga instead.
Below are 8 yoga poses you can try to find natural relief from your headache and help prevent them in the future.
By Devakur Sandhu
Standing Forward Fold
Forward folds are an easy and very basic pose to help you get rid of a headache. Uttanasana revitalizes the nervous system by increasing the blood supply to the brain which in turn soothes the mind.
Keep your feet hip-width distance apart, hinge forward from your hips and allow your head to hang heavy. Next, grab opposite elbows, and hang like a ragdoll for ten deep breaths. Remember to keep your head and neck relaxed. Pro tip: Shake your head yes and no a few times to help relieve tension and tightness.
Any pain, tension, or tightness in the neck can also lead to a headache, which is why it’s important to give your neck some love and spend time gently stretching it to provide relief from tension headaches. This is particularly crucial for the many of us who spend hours hunched over a computer each day.
Sit comfortably, and keep your spine straight and neck lengthened. Bring your left hand to the right side of your head and gently tilt your head toward your left shoulder. Stay here for a few breaths and then slowly come back to center and switch sides. Repeat this gentle stretch several times per side.
The combination of Cat/Cow helps increase the blood circulation and oxygen between the head and the lower areas of the body. They’re also a great pose duo to practice linking breath with motion in a natural rhythm, which helps calm the mind and facilitate deep, conscious breathing. Performing Cat/Cow extends and contracts the spine – a nice way to hydrate the spinal column and keep it healthy and flexible.
Come into a tabletop position with hands below your shoulders and knees below hips. As you inhale, lift your gaze and your tailbone skyward as you drop your belly towards the mat for Cow. As you exhale, round into your spine and draw your forehead towards your tailbone for Cat. Repeat this simple flow for five full breath cycles.
Child’s Pose is a resting, restorative pose that calms your mind and opens up the back, shoulders and hips. It’s a nice way to slow your heart rate and reduce stress while relieving tension in the cervical spine.
Bring your big toes to touch and spread your knees apart as you relax your seat down towards your heels. Stretch your arms forward and rest your forehead on the mat. Take ten or more deep breaths and relax.
Legs Up the Wall
This is a simple pose that’s refreshing and soothing for mind and body. Legs Up the Wall helps increase blood circulation in the upper body and head and refreshes your body and soul if you are fatigued or stressed out. This pose is a yoga teacher favorite for stress-reduction.
Starting on your back with your mat up against a wall, lift your legs skyward and rest the back of your thighs on the wall. Bring your hands to rest on your belly, or spread them into a T-shape with palms pressing into the mat. Pro tip: You don’t need a wall – this pose can also be done at the center of your mat with your legs extended directly over your hips.
Headstand is often referred to as the “King of Asanas” and with good reason – it is a very effective pose for increasing blood circulation in the body and supplying fresh, oxygenated blood to the brain.
Interlace your fingers and place the top of your head on the mat, so the back of your head rests against your palms. Slowly lift your legs skyward and try to stay for at least several breaths. Pro tip: If Headstand is new to your practice, this pose can be done against a wall and/or assisted by your yoga instructor.
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All images courtesy of YogiApproved.com.