When you feel a headache coming on, suddenly the only thing that matters is relieving that tension — and fast. But if you’re looking for a solution outside of a pill bottle, consider trying a yogic breathing exercise or a soothing spinal twist. With the ability to help relieve tension, boost circulation, and calm the mind, yoga can be a powerful natural remedy for headaches.
“Yoga helps to release tension and stress in the body, and the majority of headaches are usually tension-related,” Lynn A. Anderson, Ph.D., doctor of naturopathy and certified yoga instructor, tells The Huffington Post. “Yoga gives the individual an opportunity to slow down and relax, and also really improves circulation throughout the body. Anytime you improve circulation, that improves pain and stress.”
Specific poses can help target some of the underlying causes of your headaches, like stress and tightness, according to Anderson.
First, nutrition is crucial in all healing. Long-term solutions to health always require you to make a change to your diet. Cut out all allergenic foods – gluten, refined or artificial sugar, soy, dairy.
Secondly, get plenty of good quality water (free of fluoride and chlorine). And take Magnesium.
Yoga Poses to Get Rid of Your Headache
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.
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.
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.
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.
Legs Up the Wall
Sit sideways next to a wall. Lie down on one side, facing away from the wall with butt touching it. Using arms, lift legs up the wall as you roll over onto your back. Allow arms to fall on either side of you. Palms can face up for openness or down for an extra level of grounding. Breathe here for at least 10 breaths.
Place a bolster lengthwise behind your sitz bones and gently lie back so your upper back and head are supported by the bolster. Once comfortable, place feet together and knees apart (if this is uncomfortable for your hips, you can use two blocks or pillows to support your thighs), and allow arms to relax on either side. Breathe here for at least 10 deep breaths.