Yoga for headaches

Our headaches are usually a result of muscle tension in the back of the neck due to postural problems. For most people, restorative yoga poses and breathing techniques can relieve and help prevent the onset of all types of headaches.

Mountain pose is an active standing posture. Stand tall with the outer edges of the feet parallel to each other. Lift the kneecaps while engaging the thigh muscles. Press your shoulder blades together and then release them down the back. The neck is long, chin is parallel to the floor, eyes are soft.

This asana can help eliminate bad postural habits and serve as a reminder to lift the head up and away from the shoulders rather than crunching it into the neck.

Downward Facing Dog. Begin by kneeling with the hands and knees on the floor, hands under the shoulders, fingers spread wide, knees under the hips, spine straight. Push the hips upward, moving the body into and inverted V-shape. Legs and arms are straight, the elbows are engaged and the shoulders are wide and relaxed. The heels move toward the floor and the tummy can be engaged while the head and face are relaxed. Take several slow deep breaths and repeat as many times as you like.

Stretching and strengthening the muscles in the upper torso during this pose can also help relieve tension in the neck and head.

Bridge Pose. Lie on your back with the feet planted close to your buttocks, palms on the floor. Breathe in, and with an exhale, press the feet into your mat to lift the tailbone. Clasp your hands together underneath you and walk the shoulder blades closer together so that your weight rests on the posterior shoulders and feet. Lift your hips upward. Hold for several breaths and then slowly roll the spine down to the ground, one vertebra at a time.

This calms the brain while opening the chest and rejuvenating tired legs.

Wrapping the head with an Ace bandage while in restorative postures can also be helpful and the sensation it creates can be quite comforting.

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