Yoga for Migraine Relief: 8 Yoga Poses and Practices That Work

Will

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Migraines are a common and debilitating condition that can greatly impact a person's quality of life. Symptoms can include intense headaches, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. While there are several medications available to treat migraines, many people also turn to complementary therapies such as yoga to manage their symptoms.

Causes and Triggers of Migraines

Migraines can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, hormonal changes, and certain foods. Common triggers include bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells. Identifying your personal triggers is an important step in managing your migraines, as it can help you make lifestyle changes to avoid them.

The Science Behind Yoga and Migraines

Yoga is a holistic practice that can help reduce stress and tension in the body, making it an effective complementary therapy for managing migraines. Scientific research has shown that practicing yoga regularly can reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. The practice of yoga has also been shown to increase serotonin levels, which can help regulate pain perception.


Yoga Poses for Migraines

Child's Pose: This pose can help relieve tension in the neck and shoulders, which can be a common trigger for migraines. Start on your hands and knees, then lower your hips back towards your heels and stretch your arms out in front of you. Rest your forehead on the ground and breathe deeply.


1. Downward-Facing Dog:

Downward Facing Dog Pose

This pose can help improve circulation and reduce stress, making it an effective choice for managing migraines. Start on your hands and knees, then lift your hips up and back to create an inverted V-shape with your body. Press your hands and feet into the ground and breathe deeply.

2. Head-to-Knee Forward Bend:

Head to Knee Forward bend pose

This pose can help reduce tension in the body and promote relaxation. Sit with your legs extended in front of you, then bend your right knee and place the sole of your foot against your left inner thigh. Reach your arms up and over your head, then fold forward over your left leg. Repeat on the other side.

3. Bridge Pose:

Bridge Pose

This pose can help reduce tension in the lower back and promote relaxation. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Press into your feet and lift your hips up towards the ceiling. Clasp your hands underneath your body and breathe deeply.

4. Legs Up the Wall Pose:

Legs Up the Wall Pose

This pose can help promote relaxation and reduce inflammation in the body. Lie on your back with your legs extended up against a wall. Rest your arms at your sides and breathe deeply.

5. Seated Forward Bend:

Seated Forward Bend Pose

This pose can help reduce tension in the body and promote relaxation. Sit with your legs extended in front of you, then reach your arms up and over your head. Fold forward over your legs and breathe deeply.

5. Cat-Cow Pose:

Cat-Cow Pose

This pose can help relieve tension in the neck and spine. Start on your hands and knees, then alternate between arching your back and rounding your spine. Breathe deeply as you move through the poses.

6. Eagle Pose:

Eagle Pose

This pose can help reduce tension in the shoulders and promote relaxation. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, then cross your right thigh over your left thigh. Wrap your right foot around your left calf, then bring your arms out to the sides and cross your right arm over your left arm. Hold for a few breaths, then repeat on the other side.

7. Reclining Bound Angle Pose:

Reclining Bound Angle Pose

This pose can help promote relaxation and reduce tension in the hips and groin. Lie on your back with the soles of your feet together and your knees bent out to the sides. Rest your arms at your sides and breathe deeply.

8. Corpse Pose:

Corpse Pose

This pose can help promote relaxation and reduce stress. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your palms facing up. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, allowing your body to fully relax.

Breathing Techniques for Migraines

In addition to yoga poses, there are also breathing techniques that can help manage migraines. Here are some to try:

Deep Belly Breathing: This technique involves breathing deeply into the belly, rather than just the chest. Start by sitting comfortably with your eyes closed. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Inhale deeply through your nose, feeling your belly expand as you breathe in. Exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling your belly deflate. Repeat for several minutes.

Alternate Nostril Breathing: This technique involves alternating between breathing through each nostril. Start by sitting comfortably with your eyes closed. Use your right thumb to close your right nostril, then inhale deeply through your left nostril. Use your ring finger to close your left nostril, then exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril, then close it with your thumb and exhale through your left nostril. Repeat for several rounds.

Cooling Breath: This technique involves breathing in a way that feels cool and refreshing. Start by sitting comfortably with your eyes closed. Purse your lips slightly, then inhale slowly through your mouth as if you were sipping in cool air. Exhale slowly through your nose. Repeat for several rounds.

Breath Counting: This technique involves counting your breaths as you inhale and exhale. Start by sitting comfortably with your eyes closed. Inhale deeply, counting to four as you breathe in. Hold your breath for a count of four. Exhale slowly, counting to four as you breathe out. Hold your breath for a count of four. Repeat for several rounds.

Remember, if you experience a migraine, it's important to listen to your body and rest. These breathing techniques can be done at any time, even when you're not experiencing a migraine, to promote relaxation and reduce stress. However, if you experience chronic migraines or severe symptoms, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider.


Meditation and Mindfulness for Migraines

In addition to yoga poses and breathing techniques, meditation and mindfulness can also be effective in managing migraines. Here are some ways to incorporate them into your routine:

Body Scan Meditation: This technique involves focusing on each part of your body and noticing any tension or discomfort. Start by lying down in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Begin at the top of your head and work your way down to your toes, scanning each body part for tension or discomfort. As you notice each sensation, breathe deeply and imagine the tension melting away.

Guided Imagery: This technique involves visualizing a peaceful, calming scene. Start by sitting comfortably with your eyes closed. Imagine a place where you feel calm and relaxed, such as a beach or a forest. Picture yourself there, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells. As you do this, breathe deeply and allow yourself to fully immerse in the experience.

Mindfulness Meditation: This technique involves focusing on the present moment and being aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Start by sitting comfortably with your eyes closed. Focus on your breath, noticing each inhale and exhale. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to your breath without judgment.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This technique involves tensing and relaxing each muscle group in your body to promote relaxation. Start by lying down in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Tense your feet, then release the tension and allow them to relax. Move up to your calves, then your thighs, and so on until you've tensed and relaxed each muscle group in your body.

Incorporating these techniques into your routine can help promote relaxation, reduce stress, and manage migraines. Remember, it's important to listen to your body and rest when you need to. If you experience chronic migraines or severe symptoms, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider.

Additional Lifestyle Changes to Help Manage Migraines

In addition to yoga, there are several other lifestyle changes that can help manage migraines. Getting regular exercise, for example, can help reduce stress and tension in the body. Getting enough sleep is also important, as lack of sleep can be a trigger for migraines. Avoiding trigger foods, such as caffeine and alcohol, can also be helpful.

Precautions and Contraindications

While yoga, breathing techniques, and meditation can be effective tools for managing migraines, it's important to keep in mind some precautions and contraindications.

Consult with your healthcare provider: Before starting any new exercise or relaxation practice, it's important to speak with your healthcare provider, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

Listen to your body: While practicing yoga or any relaxation technique, it's important to listen to your body and not push beyond your limits. If any pose or technique causes pain or discomfort, modify or stop the practice altogether.

Avoid certain poses: Some yoga poses, such as inversions and deep backbends, may not be suitable for those who experience migraines. It's important to avoid any pose that causes discomfort or exacerbates your symptoms.

Use props: Using props such as blocks, bolsters, or blankets can help you achieve proper alignment and support, which can be especially helpful when experiencing migraines.

Take breaks: If you feel fatigued or overwhelmed, take a break or rest in Child's Pose or Savasana. Remember, it's important to listen to your body and not push beyond your limits.

By incorporating yoga into your routine, along with other lifestyle changes, you can effectively manage your migraines and reduce their frequency and severity. With a little patience and practice, you can find relief from migraine symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life. Remember to be kind to yourself, listen to your body, and seek professional medical advice if needed.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q.How can yoga help with migraines and overall body strength?

Ans:Yoga can help with migraines by improving blood flow, reducing stress, and promoting relaxation. It can also improve overall body strength by building muscle, improving flexibility, and increasing endurance.


Q.How to control migraine with yoga?

Ans: Yoga can be used to control migraines through a combination of physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. These practices can help reduce stress and tension, improve blood flow, and promote relaxation.

Q.What yoga poses should you avoid with a migraine?

Ans:Yoga poses that involve deep backbends or inversions should be avoided with a migraine, as they can increase pressure in the head and exacerbate symptoms. It's important to listen to your body and avoid any pose that causes discomfort or pain.

Q.What is the best way to manage migraines?

Ans: The best way to manage migraines is to develop a personalized treatment plan with your healthcare provider. This may include medication, lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques, and other therapies.


Q.What are different ways you can treat a migraine?

Ans: Different ways to treat a migraine include medication, relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation, lifestyle changes such as reducing stress and getting adequate sleep, and other therapies such as acupuncture or massage.

Q.What is good for migraines naturally?

Ans: Natural remedies for migraines may include practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation, using aromatherapy or essential oils, applying heat or cold therapy, and avoiding trigger foods or activities. However, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider before trying any new treatment.

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