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Yoga for Headaches
Untitled Document

YOGA FOR HEADACHES

8 Yoga Poses to Reduce Stress, Tension, and Headache Pain

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Oh the pounding, the tension, the pressure! Headaches can interrupt your daily life, causing pain and discomfort and making it almost impossible to function. Some headaches are mere annoyances that happen every so often, while others are more frequent and severe, and feel physically debilitating. If you are experiencing the latter then I advise you to seek the advice of a Naturopathic, Homeopathic, or Western medical doctor as they may be the symptoms of something more serious happening inside your body.

WHAT CAUSES HEADACHES?

Many doctors believe that most headaches stem from tension in the neck. This could be caused by poor daily posture while sitting or standing, incorrect alignment while exercising, and of course that nasty word… stress. Other causes of headaches can be linked to an individual's daily diet. Headaches arise from mild dehydration, low blood sugar, a build up or a releasing of toxins in the blood, and the list goes on. It is important for you to assess the severity of the headache, try to log what times of the day they tend to occur, what you are eating and drinking, and what your exercise patterns are in order to find the root cause of the headache. Take the necessary steps to prevent them rather than just making them go away.

8 YOGA POSES TO RELIEVE HEADACHES

For those with mild headaches, let’s practice some yoga poses that help to ease the mind, relax the tension from the muscles and bring balance back to the body. The idea here is to ease into each of these postures and hold them for a longer length of time than may be possible in a group yoga class. Let your body (and more importantly your head) have time to adjust to each pose and find the mental calm that each of them offer.

Click on the following poses for individual pose instruction:

1. VIPARITA KARANI (Legs up the Wall)

Start sitting up tall with the soles of the feet flat to the mat and your left hip touching the wall. Lower down onto the ground with your head and torso as you swing your legs up the wall. Your tailbone should either be touching or be a couple of inches away from the wall. You can place a bolster or a blanket underneath your sacrum if you experience any low back pain. Your arms are either down by your side with your palms up, or forearms by your head with your palms facing up.

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2. SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA (Reclining Bound Angle)

Start in Baddha Konasana with the souls of the feet together and place one end of a bolster or folded blankets at your sacrum. Make a loop with your strap and take it around the fleshy part of the hips. Take the other end of the loop around the balls of the feet (the soles of your feet are still together). Tighten the loop enough so that it secures the position of your feet and legs. Now lay back on the bolster, taking your arms down by your sides with your palms facing up.

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3. ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA

(Downward-facing Dog w/Forehead on Block)

Follow the instructions to come into “Down Dog,” as it’s called for short, and place a block underneath the forehead. It’s important that the block is placed in the correct position so that the neck is free of tension and there is no “scrunching” in the back of the neck. It’s helpful to gaze between your feet to help find the alignment of the head and neck, then place the block underneath the forehead and close the eyes.

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4. BALASANA

(Child’s Pose with Head Resting on Bolster)

Come onto your knees with your big toes touching. Place your bolster or folded blankets a foot or two in front of you. Ease your sit bones down onto your heels and fold your torso forward, resting your forehead and forearms onto the bolster or blankets.

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5. UTTANASANA (Forward Fold with Forehead on a Block)

Come onto your knees with your big toes touching. Place your bolster or folded blankets a foot or two in front of you. Ease your sit bones down onto your heels and fold your torso forward, resting your forehead and forearms onto the bolster or blankets.

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6. JANU SIRSASANA (Head-to-Knee Pose with Head Supported)

Come onto your knees with your big toes touching. Place your bolster or folded blankets a foot or two in front of you. Ease your sit bones down onto your heels and fold your torso forward, resting your forehead and forearms onto the bolster or blankets.

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7. SETU BANDHA SARVANGSANA (Bridge Pose with Block)

Come onto your knees with your big toes touching. Place your bolster or folded blankets a foot or two in front of you. Ease your sit bones down onto your heels and fold your torso forward, resting your forehead and forearms onto the bolster or blankets.

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8. SAVASANA (Corpse Pose)

Come onto your knees with your big toes touching. Place your bolster or folded blankets a foot or two in front of you. Ease your sit bones down onto your heels and fold your torso forward, resting your forehead and forearms onto the bolster or blankets.

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Article Written By: Megan Helgeson is a freelance writer on health and wellness, a yoga instructor, and a personal lifestyle trainer--helping you get the most out of life with home organization, time management, nutrition, positive intention, and goal setting. Contact Megan at mmhelgeson@gmail.com**Don’t forget to ask about Diva Yoga Parties in Orange County.
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