When Stress = Headaches, Hop on Your Yoga Mat

When Stress = Headaches| Hop on Your Yoga Mat

When you’re suffering from a dull| tension headache| try these yoga poses before reaching for medication. They’re a series of forward bends and reclining poses that will soothe your head and release tension from your neck. They’ll also improve circulation| slow down your breath| and calm your mind.

| Standing Forward Bend

Begin with your feet together and fold forward| coming into a Standing Forward Bend. Use your abdominal muscles to draw your torso closer to your thighs. Shake your head gently from side to side to relieve tension in your neck. Hold for at least five breaths.

| Downward Facing Dog

Slowly walk your feet back coming into Downward Facing Dog. Lengthen through your spine and relax your head between your shoulders. Close your eyes and allow blood to circulate to your head. Stay for at least five breaths| breathing deeply.

| Child’s Pose

Lower your knees and shins to the floor and fold your torso forward coming into Child’s Pose. You can keep your knees together or separate them to increase the stretch in your lower back and hips. Either extend your arms out in front of you| or rest them beside your legs. Close your eyes and hold this stretch for five breaths or longer.

| Head to Knee

Sit up and extend your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee and place the sole of your foot against your left inner thigh. Then fold over your left leg| coming into Head to Knee Pose. Stay for as long as you want and then do the other side.

| Butterfly

Bend you knees and bring your feet together. Using your hands| open your feet up like a book and use your elbows to press your knees toward the floor. Lengthen your spine| drawing your belly button in| holding Butterfly. Relax your shoulders and gaze either in front of you or toward your feet| staying for five breaths.

| Half Wheel

Lower onto your back. Bend your knees and place your heels as close as you can toward your bum. Interlace your hands underneath you and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Lift your hips off the ground| coming into Half Wheel| also known as Bridge. If your ankles are close enough| you can hold onto them instead. Stay here for at least five breaths| feeling an opening in the shoulders and the front of the body.

| Legs Up the Wall

Stand up and walk over to a wall. Place a pillow or folded blanket against the wall| sit down on it| lift your legs up and come into Legs Up the Wall. Allow the wall to support the weight of your legs. Stay here for as long as you want| just keep breathing.

| Corpse Pose

Move away from the wall| lie on your mat and extend your legs and arms. Release every muscle in your body| coming into Savasana| Corpse Pose. You can massage your head and neck a little and then place a soothing eye pillow over your eyes. Relax the muscles in your face and shoulders| and just follow your breath. Stay here for several minutes| and when you’re ready| sit up slowly.

Cure Headaches With These Yoga Poses

Cure Headaches With These Yoga Poses

If you’re not a fan of heading to the medicine cabinet when you feel a headache coming on, then head straight to your yoga mat. Headaches can be caused by a variety of reasons such as tension in your neck, tight shoulders, or back pain, and these yoga poses are designed to gently stretch and open those areas, while circulating blood to your head. You can do one pose, a few, or follow the entire sequence.

| Seated Neck Release

Sometimes headaches can be caused by neck pain, so stretch out this tight area with a Seated Neck Release. Sitting in a comfortable position, place your left hand on the right side of your head and gently tilt your head to the left. Hold for a few breaths and then slowly switch sides. Repeat on both sides a few times.

| Relaxed Quarter Dog

Here is a more relaxed version of Downward Facing Dog called Quarter Dog. It takes the pressure off your hands and wrists by having you rest on your forearms. Take deep breaths while in this pose, and just let your head hang between your shoulders. Circulating blood to your head can often be just the thing to relieve your headache.

| Grounded Tipover Tuck

Here’s another forward bend that’s perfect if your headache is caused by tight shoulders. Sit on the floor so your shins are parallel and hip distance apart. Interlace your hands behind you in a double fist and lean forward, coming into a variation of Child’s Pose. Stay here if this feels good, or lift your hips into the air so you’re now resting on the top of your head in Grounded Tipover Tuck. Lower your hands as much as you need to feel a stretch in your chest, shoulders, and the back of your neck. Stay for five or more breaths.

| Seated Heart Opener

The Grounded Tipover Tuck stretches the back of your neck, so do this counterpose to target the front of your neck and chest. It’ll also reduce tension in your back, which is one cause for headaches. Sitting on your heels, place your hands behind your feet about 10 inches or so and arch your head back. This Seated Heart Opener makes your head feel light and open, so stay for five breaths or more if you love it.

| Happy Baby

If you think your headache might be caused by back pain that’s radiating up your spine, or you just need to take a few minutes to relax, give Happy Baby a try. Lie on your back with your knees bent, holding on to your thighs or the outside edges of your feet. You can slowly rock from side to side to increase the stretch in your hips and lower back, and to gently lull your mind into a state of relaxation.

| Legs Up the Wall

This restorative yoga pose will instill a sense of calmness. All you need is a wall. Sit as close as you can to the wall. If this is uncomfortable, prop your bum and lower back on a folded blanket. Keep the legs together or spread them wide in a straddle. Just close your eyes and breathe, staying as long as you’d like.

Cure Headaches With These Yoga Poses

Cure Headaches With These Yoga Poses

If you’re not a fan of heading to the medicine cabinet when you feel a headache coming on| then head straight to your yoga mat. Headaches can be caused by a variety of reasons such as tension in your neck| tight shoulders| or back pain| and these yoga poses are designed to gently stretch and open those areas| while circulating blood to your head. You can do one pose| a few| or follow the entire sequence.

| Seated Neck Release

Sometimes headaches can be caused by neck pain| so stretch out this tight area with a Seated Neck Release. Sitting in a comfortable position| place your left hand on the right side of your head and gently tilt your head to the left. Hold for a few breaths and then slowly switch sides. Repeat on both sides a few times.

| Relaxed Quarter Dog

Here is a more relaxed version of Downward Facing Dog called Quarter Dog. It takes the pressure off your hands and wrists by having you rest on your forearms. Take deep breaths while in this pose| and just let your head hang between your shoulders. Circulating blood to your head can often be just the thing to relieve your headache.

| Grounded Tipover Tuck

Here’s another forward bend that’s perfect if your headache is caused by tight shoulders. Sit on the floor so your shins are parallel and hip distance apart. Interlace your hands behind you in a double fist and lean forward| coming into a variation of Child’s Pose. Stay here if this feels good| or lift your hips into the air so you’re now resting on the top of your head in Grounded Tipover Tuck. Lower your hands as much as you need to feel a stretch in your chest| shoulders| and the back of your neck. Stay for five or more breaths.

| Seated Heart Opener

The Grounded Tipover Tuck stretches the back of your neck| so do this counterpose to target the front of your neck and chest. It’ll also reduce tension in your back| which is one cause for headaches. Sitting on your heels| place your hands behind your feet about 10 inches or so and arch your head back. This Seated Heart Opener makes your head feel light and open| so stay for five breaths or more if you love it.

| Happy Baby

If you think your headache might be caused by back pain that’s radiating up your spine| or you just need to take a few minutes to relax| give Happy Baby a try. Lie on your back with your knees bent| holding on to your thighs or the outside edges of your feet. You can slowly rock from side to side to increase the stretch in your hips and lower back| and to gently lull your mind into a state of relaxation.

| Legs Up the Wall

This restorative yoga pose will instill a sense of calmness. All you need is a wall. Sit as close as you can to the wall. If this is uncomfortable| prop your bum and lower back on a folded blanket. Keep the legs together or spread them wide in a straddle. Just close your eyes and breathe| staying as long as you’d like.