Yoga for headache management
Headaches can be caused by
allergies, sinusitis, exhaustion or poor
posture. Types of
headaches vary according to the cause and so do the remedies.
Migraines and cluster headaches can be helped with
you must have the supervision and approval of your doctor.
Practice the following postures:
Downward Facing Dog (Adho
Push butt up toward ceiling...fiercely. Push hands and heels of feet into floor
and let head hang downward. Pull belly button up into spine. And breathe deeply. Avoid pinching
shoulders away from ears.
Start in a crawl position kneeling on the floor . Rest hands on floor in
vertical alignment with shoulders. Sit
butt back into heels of
feet... inhale deeply. Now exhale and push head and torso forward into cobra. Do
not push up with arms. Use chest and middle back muscles. The cobra is a backbend ... careful not to push in on
Seated Forward Bend (Paad-Paschimottanasana)
Sit on floor and extend legs
forward. Lift arms up overhead, bringing hands into direct vertical alignment
with ears, shoulders and
hips. Spine is now erect. Exhale and reach torso forward ... without
hunching or rounding middle spine. Push
toward thighs. Attach hands to calves, ankles or feet. Put a pillow over legs
and rest forehead on pillow to relax mind. Breathe deeply. Keep neck long ...
shoulders pressing away from ears.
Bend knees. Pull feet into groin. Inhale chest and rib cage upward. Exhale and
press down through inner thighs until knees touch floor. Continue to pull feet
in towards groin. directing the chin down into your lower body. Stretch head
upward to lengthen neck and back muscles. Lower chin down into chest and stretch
open the back of neck. Breath deeply.
Gently roll torso back to floor... close eyes and breathe deeply. Avoid exercise if headache is acute or severe. Practice eye
movements. Close eyes tightly...open widely. Roll eyes up and down and to the
right and left. Circle
and counter clock-wise. Palm eyes and forehead. Rub heels of palms together
until warm, then place gently over eyes and feel the tension melt away as you
visualize your happiest moments.
Alternate nostril breathing and shitali also help to cool the head. For
alternate nostril breathing check out whether your left or right nostril exhales
more forcibly. Close the stronger nostril and breathe through the opposite
nostril until the headache subsides.
Shitali literally means cooling and hence the name. It can safely be practiced
anywhere and at any time, as and when needed.
Sit in sukhasana or any other comfortable posture.
Stick your tongue out about an inch from your mouth,
rolled up at the side like the tube of a funnel.
Suck in air through this channel (to the count of 5)
Inhale in such a way that the air flows all over your
tongue, from the tip to the very base. See how cool it feels.
After a full inhalation, close your mouth and exhale
slowly through the nose.
This comprises one round. Increase the frequency
gradually, as required, up to 5 or 10 rounds.
Shitali is known to cool the body, mind and nervous system. Subsequently, it has
a pacifying and relieving effect on the mind and
It also has shown positive effects on blood circulation and body temperature,
while activating the spleen,
liver and flow of bile. It is also known to improve digestion and relieve
thirst, mouth ulcers and hyperacidity. Shitali
pranayama is also highly recommended as an immediate remedy for nervousness
and panic attacks.