Headaches are one of the most common ailments. Many variables can contribute to different types of headaches.
They may be caused by allergies and sinus problems, stress and tension, hormonal imbalances, and high blood pressure.
Some headaches are chronic and severe; these fall into the category of migraines or cluster headaches. They can last for hours or even days at time.
From a yogic perspective, headaches, and even migraines, are the result of problems with the sixth and seventh chakras. These energy centers include the eyes, brain and crown of the head.
Lack of energy in these chakras can result in confusion and poor memory. Over-stimulation can cause pain. Sometimes, the energy is blocked in that area of the body. Yogic postures are designed to help move the energy up to the crown of the head and then recirculate it throughout the other energy centers of the body.
The following yoga for headaches helps to bring energy up to the sixth and seventh chakras, and then redistribute it through the lower chakras, helping to maintain an even flow of energy. To prevent symptoms, practice these poses on a regular basis, preferably in the morning, before headaches occur.
Upward Salute Pose
Urdhva Hastasana, or Upward Salute Pose is the primary pose used to bring energy up to the crown chakra and keep it circulating throughout the other energy centers in the body. It is used to energize the mind and improve focus and concentration.
Begin standing on the mat in mountain pose, shoulders back and legs together. Inhale and bring your hands together overhead, palms facing each other. Lift through the shoulders and look forward. Hold for several deep breaths, then allow your hands to return slowly to your sides as you exhale. Repeat two or three more times, moving with your breath.
Warrior I Pose
Virabhadrasana I, or Warrior I Pose helps heat and energy to rise in the body. Like other standing postures, it improves focus, but also helps to strengthen the legs, arms and core muscles.
Begin standing on the mat in mountain pose. Step the right foot forward, and the left foot back. Inhale and reach up overhead, bringing the palms together. Exhale and bend the right knee, coming into a high lunge. Hold for several deep breaths, extending through the fingers. Exhale and release the hands, stepping the feet together. Repeat on the opposite side.
Warrior II Pose
Virabhadrasana II, or Warrior II Pose, also helps heat and energy to rise in the body. And, like Warrior I, it helps to improve focus while strengthening the arms, legs and large muscles of the body.
Take a wide stance on your mat, with the feet at least a foot wider than hip width. The wider the stance, the deeper the stretch. Turn the right toes out. Inhale and raise the arms parallel with the floor. Exhale and bend the right knee, sinking toward the floor, and turning the head to look over the right hand. Keep the hips square, only the head rotates. Hold for several deep breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.
Vrksasana, or Tree Pose, is a powerful pose used to bring the energy up to the crown chakra. It is used mainly to improve balance and concentration. However, it is a powerful pose to combat headaches and other ailments associated with the sixth and seventh chakras.
Begin standing upright on your mat. Shift your weight into your right leg. Bend the left knee and open it up to the side. Bring the foot up to the middle of the leg, or the thigh, resting the bottom of the foot on the inside of the leg. Inhale and raise both hands over head, bringing the palms together. Hold for several deep breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.
Child’s Pose (With Variation)
Balasana, or child’s pose, is a restorative posture used to relieve stress and tension in the body. This variation especially helps to relieve tension in the back of the neck and stimulate the crown chakra.
Begin kneeling on the mat. Inhale and reach both hands overhead. Exhale and reach forward, resting the hands, then the head on the mat in front of you. Next, gently roll up on top of the head. Rock back and forth massaging the crown of the head. Take several deep breaths, then rest back down in child’s pose. Repeat two or three more times.
Restorative poses are best used when a headache is already in progress. Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose helps to relieve stress and tension in the whole body. It is also helpful to practice at night before going to bed to combat insomnia, especially when the insomnia is associated with worry and anxiety.
Begin by placing your mat length-wise against a wall. Sit on the mat with your hips against the wall. Lie back on the floor and extend your legs, one at a time, up the wall. Your body should make a perfect “L” shape. Extend your arms out to your sides. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Stay in this posture for one to two minutes. Try to clear your mind and just breathe and relax.
1. Yoga Journal: Postures for Migraine Headaches – http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/974