Yoga helps to stretch your muscles and relax your body.
Not only that.
Yoga can help to release tension and pain, such as backaches and headaches.
When I was pregnant I was suffering from terrible headaches. Natural remedies didn’t work for me but I didn’t want to rely on medication during this important time of fetus development. I was wondering if yoga could help me to release headaches without using any medication.
Turned out it could!
It’s because headaches can be caused by tension in your neck, tight shoulders, or back pain.
Certain yoga poses are designed to gently stretch and open those areas while circulating blood to the head. Combining with deep breathing – to bring lots of oxygen to your brain, – and lots of water – to keep you hydrated, – yoga can help to release tension and eliminate those awful headaches pretty fast.
I was actually surprised how well it worked for me. After about 10-15 min of this yoga sequence that I share below the headaches would just go away and won’t come back.
That’s why I wanted to share with you these 10 amazing yoga poses that help to relieve headaches – to help anyone who has ever suffered from headaches and who is looking for a solution to relive an awful pain without using medication.
So here they are. 10 best yoga poses to relieve headaches.
1. Deep Breathing (Pranayama)
Start out with ten deep breaths to release tension in the neck and shoulders and bring more oxygen to the brain. You are going to feel a real release of tension afterwards.
Sitting cross-legged, close your eyes and inhale to the count of five. Exhale to the count of five.
2. Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana) & (Bitilasana)
This gentle Cat-Cow warm up sequence helps to relieve tension in the spine, shoulders, and neck, and boost circulation.
1. Begin with your hands and knees on the floor with your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips.
2. Start by moving into Cow Pose. Inhale as you drop your belly towards the mat. Lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling.
3. As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling to move into Cat Pose. The pose should look like a cat stretching its back. Release the crown of your head toward the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest.
Repeat 4 -8 times.
3. Modified Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
“Eagle Arms” pose helps to relive upper body tension, especially in the shoulders.
Sitting with your legs straight in front of you, cross your left thigh over the right. Extend your arms straight in front of your body. Drop your left arm under your right. Bend your elbows, and then raise your forearms perpendicular to the floor. Wrap your arms and hands, and press your palms together (or as close as you can get them). Lift your elbows and reach your fingertips toward the ceiling. Keep your shoulder blades pressing down your back, toward your waist. Breathe smoothly and evenly. Hold for 5 breaths or for up to one minute.
Repeat on the opposite side.
You can also perform this pose sitting cross-legged or in the Mountain Pose – standing with your feet together and pressing your weight evenly across the balls and arches of your feet.
4. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
Seated Forward Bend takes the pressure of the heart and moves the blood up towards the brain. It also helps to unwind and calm the mind.
Siting on the floor with the legs straight in front of you, feet flexed, start bending forward at the waist and reaching the arms straight ahead, relaxing into the pose while keeping the knees straight. Hold for 5 deep breaths or for up to a minute.
Note: Consult your doctor before doing forward bends if you have glaucoma, a herniated disk or heart problems.
5. Knees-To-Chest Pose (Apasana)
To loosen the muscles up the back and get the blood flow going try knees-to-chest pose.
Lie down on your back bringing the knees up to the chest and holding the shins about two inches under the knee. Relax in the pose for 30-60 seconds, and then release down. Repeat 6-10 times.
6. Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Spinal Twists are a great way to stretch your shoulders, chest, energize the spine and even stimulate the digestive system.
Begin seated on your mat with your legs extended in front of you. Bend your right knee and place it over your left knee. Plant it on the floor so your right ankle is next to your left knee.
Reach your right arm behind you and place your palm on the floor. Then bend your left elbow and cross it over the outer side of your right knee. Keep your elbow bent.
Continue pressing your left arm into your right knee. Inhale and lengthen the spine. Exhale and rotate further to the right.
Stay here for five or six breaths. Release the twist and straighten your legs out in front of you. Repeat on the other side.
7. Head to Knee Pose (Janusirsasana)
This mild spinal twist deeply stretches the spine, groins, and hamstrings. It also helps to boost the blood flow, calm the mind, relieve anxiety, fatigue, and even help with depression.
1. Sit on the mat with your legs extended in front of you. Bend your left leg and bring the sole of your left foot to the inside of your right thigh. Place your left leg on the mat.
2. Keeping your spine long exhale as you bend at your waist to fold over your right leg. Hold onto your right leg’s shin, ankle, or foot. You can also wrap a yoga strap or towel around the sole of your right foot and hold it firmly with both hands.
Hold for 5-6 breaths. With each inhalation, lengthen the front torso. With each exhalation, fold deeper.
8. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward-Facing Dog stretches the arches of your foot, calves, hamstrings, spine, shoulders, and hands.
Because your heart is higher than your head in this pose, the blood flows to your brain. This helps to relive headache, back pain, calms the nervous system, improves memory and concentration, and relieves stress.
1. Begin on your hands and knees. Place your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Spread your fingers wide and press firmly through your palms.
2. Tuck your toes, and lift your knees off the floor. Gently straighten your legs, make sure not to lock your knees. Reach your pelvis up toward the ceiling and draw your sit bones toward the wall behind you. Press down equally through your heels and the palms of your hands.
3. Draw your shoulder blades into your upper back ribs and toward your tailbone. Broaden across your collarbones. Gaze between your legs or toward your navel. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
9. Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
This restorative pose tops the list of the best yoga poses for anxiety. It also helps to quiet the mind, reduce fatigue, and bring the body into a state of deep relaxation and renewal. This pose brings relief to your legs, feet, spine, and the nervous system. Do it with your legs up in the air if you don’t have a wall nearby.
1. Lie down on the floor close to the wall. Scoot your buttocks closer to the wall bringing your legs up the wall. Rest your shoulders and head on the floor. Let your arms rest open at your sides, palms facing up. Close your eyes. Hold for at least 10 deep breaths or for up to 10 minutes, breathing with awareness.
10. Reverse Prayer Pose (Pashchima Namaskarasana)
And the last pose is the Reverse Prayer pose. It is a great stretch for the shoulder joints, pectoral muscle, and the upper back. It also opens the abdomen allowing deeper breaths.
1. Sitting cross-legged bring your arms behind your back and join the palms with fingertips facing downward.
2. As you inhale, turn the fingertips inwards towards the spine and bring them to face upwards, towards the sky. Stay in the position for a few breaths.
Note: If you have any arm or shoulder injury avoid doing this pose.
Finish this gentle yoga sequence with five to ten deep breaths sitting cross-legged or a few minutes of Shavasana (Corps Pose). Make sure to drink a full glass of water afterwards. You are going to feel a release of tension and pain from headache. Hope you’ll find this sequence helpful and make it a part of your yoga routing.
Thanks so much for reading!
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