use yoga to prevent and treat headaches

use yoga to prevent and treat headaches

by April 20, 2012

If you experience bad headaches, you might feel like nothing can help you and that nothing could have prevented them, but yoga may change all of that. Headaches can have many causes, from stress, a tense back, shoulders or neck…to food triggers. With its multi-faceted approach, yoga can target many of these causes to help prevent headaches from occurring or to help treat headaches while you’re experiencing one.

A good yoga practice can teach you awareness of your self and the world around you. When you become aware of the personal triggers that cause headaches, you are more likely to prevent them. If you realize certain situations stress you out, you can find ways to better deal with them. If certain foods cause headaches, you can replace them. If you notice the first signs of a headache, you might be able to stop it through relaxation before it becomes worse.

Many people get headaches when they are stressed. The poses in yoga, and the cardio aspects of some types, are forms of exercise, which helps reduce stress. Also, many yoga classes include numerous forms of relaxation, including meditation, visualization, deep breathing and focusing on relaxing your muscles. Yoga can also teach you to calm your mind and take a different perspective on life, so once you have a regular yoga routine, you might not become as stressed to triggers in life as you once would.

Tightness in your back, neck and shoulders can also lead to headaches. Yoga postures teach you proper posture and alignment, which can ease some of this pressure and tension. Plus, the stretching and relaxation in yoga might ease your tension.

If you haven’t been able to prevent a headache with yoga, yoga can also help with headache symptoms once one begins. Simply relaxing, breathing and focusing on calming your muscles can help you deal with the pain and might stop the headache or prevent it from worsening. With restorative poses, you can shut your eyes and focus internally, taking away some of the impact of sensory-overloading triggers like lights and sounds. Shut off the lights, play soothing music and try restorative poses like Corpse Pose, Supported Cobbler’s Pose and Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose. You’ll probably want to avoid certain poses during a headache, like forward bends where the blood flows to your head, but see how your body feels and what helps you personally.

Of course, headaches might have other causes than the ones mentioned above, so if you have constant headaches, check with a health professional.

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