Suffering from headaches and migraines are quite common in today's times. Both are brought on by various factors, like sedentary lifestyles, lack of sleep, pollution, improper food habits or due to working in front of screens for long hours. Migraines especially, which are more intense and cause throbbing pain on one side of the head, are on the rise among millennials.
However, relief can be found in various yoga asanas, which help reduce the intensity of headaches, and at times, get rid of them entirely. Breathing exercises help you breathe evenly and deeply, and this in turn helps calm the nervous system, relax muscles and reduce pain. Such relaxation methods are an effective preventive strategy, particularly for people who have stress-related migraines.
Yoga asanas also help release tension and stress from the body, and practicing these asanas regularly helps improve blood circulation and restore the body's internal balance. Here are some asanas that can help alleviate the discomfort caused by headaches, but it's advisable to perform them under expert guidance.
—The writer is a yoga teacher and co-founder of Yoga Chetana Ashram and WeLiveYoga.com
This pose helps to revive the nervous system by increasing the blood supply and calming down the mind
Stand straight with your feet together and arms alongside the body, balancing your weight equally on both feet.
While breathing in, extend your arms overhead.
Then as you exhale, bend forward and down towards the feet.
Stay in the posture for 20-30 seconds and continue to breath deeply. Keep the legs and spine erect; hands resting either on the floor, or beside the feet or on the legs.
As your exhale, move your chest towards the knees and keep breathing deeply.
As you then inhale, stretch your arms forward and up. Slowly coming up to the standing position.
And finally breathing out, rest your arms to either sides.
This pose also helps assists in good blood flow and relaxes lower back, shoulders and neck
Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Keep the palms on the floor, under and in line with the shoulder.
Keep the distance between the palms and the knees about the same as that between the shoulders and the hips. The distance between the knees should be the same as the width of the waist. Keep the toes in line with the knees.
Relax the muscles in the trunk region and let the trunk descend under gravity and slowly look up.
Maintain this pose for a few breaths.
Then curve the back upwards so that it shapes like an arch. Relax the neck and hang the head down.
Draw the chin towards the chest and relax the abdomen. Maintain for a few breaths.
Stay in the pose for a few minutes and then relax
This pose helps assists in good blood flow and relaxes shoulders and neck
Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Keep your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders.
Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor.
Lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling as much as possible, soft lock the knees and try to push the heels towards the floor
Firm the outer arms and press the palm and fingers into the floor.
Firm your shoulder blades against your back then widen them keeping the head between the upper arms; don't let it hang.
To release the posture, drop the knee back on to the floor gently.
This pose helps to calm down your nervous system and relieves headaches
Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips.
Exhale and lower the forehead to the floor. Have the knees together or if not comfortable, just spread the knees slightly apart.
Either stretch your arms straight in the front with the palms on the floor, or stacked under the forehead.
Breathe slowly and deeply, actively pressing the belly against the thighs. Hold for about four-12 breaths.
To release: place the palms under the shoulders and slowly inhale while getting up to a seated position.