Yoga RX: Headaches
The most common types of headaches are tension, stress-related, and migraines. These three usually occur due to muscle tightness in the head and neck. Yoga helps ease tension headaches by relaxing muscles in your head, back, and neck, enhancing circulation to your brain and upper body, and improving your posture.
When your headache starts, try these simple exercises to relieve the cause and the symptoms of your pain:
Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-knee forward bend)
Janu Sirsasana helps to release tension throughout the entire spine and neck. It relaxes the brain, as the mind detaches from the senses and restlessness and irritability is calmed. This pose is also associated with the limbic system of our brain, which regulates our moods and adds the positive or negative spin on our emotions.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
With proper alignment, Adho Mukha Svanasana extends the back muscles, directing circulation to the brain. The pose alleviates tension and headaches by elongating the cervical spine and neck and relaxing the head. Downward-facing dog lengthens and strengthens the back, which proves very beneficial to those who are hunched over at an office desk all day.
Garudasana Arms (Eagle Arms)
The simple crossed arm pose of Garudasana can be done in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) or any comfortable seated position. This back expander can reach far into the mid and upper back targeting problematic muscles around the shoulder blades and the base of the neck.
Other Beneficial Yoga Poses for Headaches
- Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Bend)
- Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose)
- Nadi Sodhana Pranayama
- Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
- Savasana (Corpse Pose)
- Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose)
- Halasana (Plow Pose)