Six Yoga Poses to Relieve Headaches

Headaches are one of those ailments that can come out of nowhere and hit you hard. They are impossible to ignore and sometimes even harder to ease. The beautiful thing about yoga is the versatile ways it aids in health and healing, especially in a world that can have many triggers for headaches. One thing is for certain: yoga can only help the pain. So keep those lights dim, maybe even stay in bed, take a few deep breaths, and try some of these poses:

Marjaryasana/Bitilasana (Cat/Cow)

The fluidity it creates along the spine makes this pose a perfect start to any sequence of yoga. Wavelike movements help to release tension in the shoulders and neck.

As you do this, be sure to align your shoulders so that they are higher than your elbows and your wrists. Hug your stomach towards your spine on your exhale. On your inhalation, soften your stomach toward the floor. Relax your shoulders and lengthen your crown.

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)

You can get immediate relief by doing this minor inversion. This allows you to let your shoulders relax and allow your head to hang. This pose will enable you to ground yourself by placing all four limbs down on the mat. Close your eyes and take deep breaths to release whatever is not serving you.

Spread your fingers and toes as you do this. Tucking your chin towards your chest will lengthen your back and neck and relax the muscles in your neck or shoulders. Raise your hips to the sky, and breathe through your hands.

Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Angle Standing Forward Bend)

This position is similar to a Down dog in that it allows your neck and shoulders to relax. This position gives you a few options for your body. You can either keep your hands on the mat in the traditional position or clasp your fingers behind your back to create a deeper stretch of the shoulders. You can also hold on to the opposite shin one at a time and deepen your forward fold or place your back against a solid wall. Try different positions to see what works best for you.

As you stand in this position, root your feet deeply. As you inhale, lift your chest and engage your thigh muscles. As you exhale, keep your torso lengthened as you lean toward the ground. Plant your hands on the floor and hold this position for as long as you feel comfortable. Roll your shoulders away and release pressure.

Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)

This pose increases blood flow, which helps with many illnesses. This pose allows for a stretch of the spine and neck while opening up the heart and relieving stress.

This pose is best performed on your back. Bend your knees, and place your feet about hip distance apart. Press equally into both your shoulders and your feet on your inhale to lift your hips to the sky. This will raise your sternum towards your chin. If you want to go further, interlock your fingers under your body and roll your shoulders inward and under each other. This will cause a deeper stretch. Focus on elongating your body, relaxing your mind, and breathing deeply.

Janu Sirsasana

This variation of the forward fold is suitable for all levels of yogis. This position improves circulation and helps to release any lingering stiffness. Stretching forward improves structural alignment and removes any tension.

Start by sitting with one straight leg and the other bent. The heel of the bent leg should be pressed into the inner thigh of the opposite leg. As you inhale, press your sitting bones to lengthen your spine upwards. Exhaling, bend your chest forward and over the straight leg. Take a few deep breaths and then switch sides.

Viparita karani (Legs up The Wall)

Legs Up the Wall is an excellent pose for therapeutic purposes. Here, the focus is on restoration. Relaxation is important for relieving headaches. This position promotes peace and calm.

Get your bottom as near to the wall as possible. Use a blanket or pillow to raise your bottom if this is too uncomfortable. Use a scarf or strap to tie your legs as they reach the ceiling. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.

These poses are appropriate for all yogis. These poses are easy to do and maintain while you feel the headache disappear. Yoga is an all-purpose healer for headaches, no matter what the cause: stress, tension, or illness. When you start to feel pain, fold yourself into one of these positions. You will be surprised at how quickly your pain will subside!

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