Headaches and migraines can really throw off your daily stride. The throbbing tension in your head and neck can be painful, debilitating, and downright awful. Tension, fatigue, and stress can be some of the leading causes for many of those headaches you experience. Besides ibuprofen and other OTC medications, what else can you do to relieve the painful distress of a nagging headache? Actually there are several natural solutions including our Aculief wearable Acupressure Clip. It helps to relieve tension and pain associated with headaches by targeting the LI4 pressure point on your hand. That being said, we wanted to highlight another great alternative solution in this article to aid you in headache relief: yoga. Here are five yoga positions you can practice to help relieve the tension from a headache or migraine.
Downward Facing Dog
Standing Forward Fold
Legs Up The Wall
As you may already know, yoga can offer you the opportunity to slow down, be still, and ease your body and mind. Accompanied with some deep breathing, these yoga postures will begin the process of restoring a sense of calm.
Downward Facing Dog
This is a very common yoga pose and it can be helpful when relieving a tension headache. Essentially, it is an inverted yoga position. That means, your head is pointing toward the ground. It may seem counter intuitive to go upside down when you have a headache. Initially, more blood is sent to the head to help recirculate the build-up that is making your head throb.
Here's how to practice this pose. Start by coming to your hands and knees on the floor or yoga mat. Tuck your toes under, then proceed to lift your knees off the ground while raising your hips into the air. You will form an inverted V-shape with your body. Press your hands firmly into the mat to hold the posture. You can keep a bend in your knees while you continue to lift your hips toward the ceiling.
Allow your head to relax while you hold Downward Facing Dog. You want your upper back, neck, and head to feel relaxed in this posture. At first, you may feel the tension and tightness of the blood streaming to your head. Do your best to hold the posture for at least 5-10 breaths. Afterward, come out of the pose, and lie on your back until the tension passes.
One pose you may come to after Downward Facing Dog is Child's Pose. It is a soothing and relaxing posture that can further enhance the feeling of relaxation.
Come to your hands and knees to begin the pose. As you are able, sit back onto your heels while extending your arms forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor (or a soft pillow for extra comfort.) Hold this posture for as long as you like while taking slow steady breaths. The idea, like the other postures, are performed to bring more ease to the body and mind.
Standing Forward Fold
This yoga posture is a standard one. It is often practiced to stretch out tight hamstrings, but it can also be done to help relieve tension from a headache.
Stand tall with your feet about hip distance apart. With an inhale, raise both arms into the air. As you exhale slowly fold forward; hinge at the hips and bend your knees as you make your way down. If you're able, touch your toes, but that is not necessary for the benefit of this posture. Your hands can rest on your shins or knees for this posture.
This, of course, is another inverted posture where your head is pointing toward the ground. Take deep breaths while you hold the position. You certainly do not need to hold the posture too long. The idea is to produce and increase the blood flow so it can release the tension that feels bound up in your head. Feel free to hold the position for about 20 seconds, return slowly to a standing position, then return to the pose. Repeat 3-5 times.
Another benefit of a posture like this, is that it releases tension in your upper back, neck, and shoulders. These body parts, if tight, can contribute to your headaches. If you can relax all these parts, you are more likely to relieve yourself of the tension headache. When you hold the Standing Forward Fold, allow your arms to hang down to loosen up your shoulders and back. Gently nod your head yes and shake your head no to help free up tightness in your neck. You may even want to yawn, or open your mouth wide as if you are yawning. We tend to hold lots of tension in our jaw. This, too, could contribute to headaches.
Legs Up The Wall Pose
This posture is a combination of being inverted and practicing relaxation. If being upside down in Downward Facing Dog or Standing Forward Fold feels too intense, try this posture instead. You will lie on the floor for this pose which will relax your head, back, neck, and shoulders. At the same time, your legs are extended upward on a wall. This will provide a blood flow from the lower extremities to the upper body without adding more tension. This is a very relaxing posture. Hold here as long as you'd like.
Corpse Pose is often performed at the end of a yoga class, but you can do it any time. Simply lie on your back on the floor, yoga mat, or even in your bed. You want to be as comfortable as possible. While lying in stillness, focus on slow deep breaths. This will help good blood and oxygen flow to move through your body, particularly to your head where you are experiencing the discomfort.
What's wonderful about this pose is that you can hold it for as long as you'd like since it is intended to be quite relaxing. What the body and mind needs most when under stress is relaxation. This would be a good pose to practice as you're about to go to sleep. It will help you clear your active mind so you can drift off to sleep. Put on some soothing music, too, to accompany your relaxation.
If you're experiencing headaches and migraines and are looking for safe, healthy, and accessible modes of treatment for them, try these yoga postures. Keep track of how you feel over time. Notice if the frequency of headaches decrease and the intensity of your headaches lowers. Over time, you will be feeling so much better.