Yoga is such a versatile practice. Sure, it’s a great exercise, and the many styles of yoga can really get your heart racing and your body sweating, but it has so many other benefits. It can improve flexibility, and certain poses and flows can relieve muscle pain. It definitely calms the mind and body so it’s de-stressing and may even help you close your eyes. And like any exercise, it improves your mood.
You can also use yoga for headaches. Dani Schenone, RYT, Holistic Wellness Specialist at Mindbody, says yoga alleviates stress on a physiological level, which can make it part of your pain management plan. “How, you ask? Well, literally relieving the tension,” she explains. “Tension headaches are quite common and result from tight muscles around the head and neck. Yoga targets this by stretching and stretching those tight spots, which releases the tension that triggers the headache. , stress can be the cause of headaches., and yoga is a stress relieving practice that focuses on maintaining a sense of peace and calm. Additionally, yoga helps circulation and circulation, which can sometimes relieve the pain associated with headaches. “
Samantha Leonard, E-RYT 500, a Certified Viniyoga Therapist accredited by the International Association of Yoga Therapists (CIAYT) and a Noom Health Coach, adds that yoga has three main components that contribute to a healthier lifestyle: a greater sense of general well-being. being; structural alignment, balance and symmetry of muscle tone; and a decrease in the stress response. When these are not present, it can lead to headaches.
The movement of yoga can help you break free and become aware of patterns of muscle tension, Leonard explains. Mindful breathing can help relieve stress and aid in detoxification. And regular meditation can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression overall, which can lead to fewer headaches associated with these conditions, she adds.
Of course, the causes of headaches vary, and not all may be tension or stress. If you regularly suffer from headaches, it is advisable to make an appointment with your doctor. But if you want to try yoga to try and relieve stress, tension, and headaches, there are a few things to keep in mind. “Before the movement, think about how you are feeling that may be causing the headache,” says Leonard. “Is it related to stress? Is it related to lifestyle (alcohol, dehydration)? If it’s more complicated than that, you may need to see a yoga therapist who is trained to tailor the practices to your specific needs. The International Association of Yoga Therapists. is a great resource for finding qualified professionals.
And after your yoga session, rest for five to 10 minutes, breathing gently and letting the practice soak in, she adds. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
Yoga poses to try for headaches
Take a look at a few yoga poses below that can help relieve your headaches, but keep in mind that everyone’s practice may look or be different. “Generally speaking, the yoga profession shouldn’t ‘prescribe’ a pose for any condition,” says Leonard. “The true effectiveness of yoga for the conditions is not about performing the poses. Rather, it is what the poses can do for the person and how the person should do the poses for their specific abilities, needs and goals! “
1. Child pose
“The child’s pose is a great addition to a yoga practice for relieving tension,” says Schenone. “This is safe to practice before, during, and after a headache. Gently massage the center of the third eye (between the eyebrows) while rocking the head from side to side for additional tension relief.”
2. On the table
Leonard says that often the tension in the neck and shoulders is related to the tension in the middle or lower back, so she recommends a Tabletop-to-Child’s Pose movement. “Come on all fours (table position). Breathe in. Breathe out arching your back like a cat, and continuing the exhale, bring your hips back to your heels in a child’s posture,” she explains. “You can feel a stretch all over your back, but especially in the lower back. When repeated, these poses stretch and release the entire spine.”
3. Neck rollers
“This can be done from any comfortable seated position. Neck rollers stretch the muscles that are typically associated with headaches. For extra stretch, use the gravity of the hand above the head to guide the neck. ‘stretching,’ says Schenone.
4. Dynamic bridge installation
“Lie on your back with your knees bent and your hands at your sides. Inhale as you press down on your feet to lift your pelvis into a bridge pose. The upper back, neck, shoulders and arms will remain on the floor. Exhale and roll the spine to the floor, ”explains Leonard. “When repeated, this exercise ‘flattens’ folds throughout the spine, particularly focusing on the upper part of the spine, which is often very tight and can be compressed due to the retention patterns. stress and a forward head posture. “
5. Pose of tilted fish
Schenone recommends doing this pose with a bolster. “It’s a great way to relieve headaches. This pose stretches the anterior muscles that attach to the shoulder, relieving stress and tightness that can contribute to headaches,” she adds. .
6. Wide leg front curvature
“Stand with your feet apart and your hands on your hips. Exhale and slide your hands down your outer legs until you are in a comfortable forward fold, bending the knees as necessary. After getting in and out of this pose a few times, stay in the pose and let your head hang down, ”says Leonard. “This pose can help decompress the vertebrae, especially in the upper back and neck.”
7. Legs on the wall
“This pose facilitates blood flow and circulation and is a gentle pose that encourages relaxation and restoration. Plus, it lengthens the neck, allowing for gentle stretching of those possibly tense muscles,” says Schenone.
8. Liberation of the seated neck
“Sit in a chair or on the floor. Gently tilt your head towards a shoulder. Explore what it feels like to roll your face slightly down and then up again. Extend your opposite hand outward and outward. down, and move your hand in circles as you continue to explore the movements of the head, “says Leonard.” The action of the opposite arm as your head tilts will reveal and release all kinds of tension hidden in the muscles before and back of the neck that could be causing your headaches! “
“Rest for at least five minutes while you allow movement and breathing in your body and nervous system. For more relaxation, you can place your knees on a bolster or even a piece of furniture,” suggests Schenone.
Yoga equipment for your practice
Alo Yoga Warrior rug ($ 100)
Gaiam Yoga block (set of 2) ($ 15)
Ajna Yoga Bolster Pillow ($ 70)
Lululemon Limitless Stretch Strap ($ 16)
Amazon Basics 1/2 inch extra thick exercise yoga mat ($ 21)
Manduka Yoga block ($ 20)
Gaiam Rectangular Yoga Bolster Meditation Pillow ($ 45)
Lululemon The 5mm Reversible Mat ($ 88)
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This article originally appeared on The Thirty
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