If you are one of the 88 percent of Americans who do not suffer from migraines, consider yourself fortunate. For the remaining 12% of us, migraines can be incapacitating (if you know, you know). Migraines are more than simply a nasty headache; from excruciating pain to nausea and vomiting to tingling and light sensitivity, they stink.
Migraine episodes, considered a neurological illness or sickness, often last between four and seventy-two hours. Migraines can affect men, women, and children, however, 85 percent of migraine victims are women. There are several drugs and therapies for migraines, but there are also natural remedies: yoga can not only aid in the recovery from migraines but also prevent them from happening.
Why do migraines occur?
Even though a variety of migraine triggers have been found — and each migraine sufferer is unique — migraines remain poorly understood and are frequently misdiagnosed and ignored. The most frequent migraine triggers include stress, hormones (for women), abnormal sleep patterns, weather changes, nutrition, odors, dehydration, and even the misuse of migraine drugs. Almost anything may cause a migraine, which is why the majority of us will do anything to prevent them or alleviate their discomfort once they begin.
How does yoga assist migraines?
Yoga is excellent for relieving stress, which is a leading cause of migraines and headaches in general. Yoga calms your entire parasympathetic nervous system, decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure. This facilitates recovery after a migraine attack. Even more, research indicates that regular yoga practice can lower the incidence and severity of migraines.
Whether you've previously discussed migraine relief with your doctor or you're seeking other ways to alleviate the pain, lay out your yoga mat and give these positions a try.
Asanas to perform during a migraine
Balasana (Child's Pose)
Why this yoga stance is beneficial for migraines: Child's Pose has a relaxing effect on the body and helps alleviate discomfort. This position can also be beneficial if the pressure on the forehead feels nice or alleviates discomfort. (Tip: Rest your forehead on an ice pack on the ground to alleviate the headache!)
How to: Kneel to the ground. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then place your knees approximately hip-width apart. Exhale and position your chest between your legs.
Expand your sacrum over the rear of your pelvis and narrow your hip points toward your navel so that they nestle into your inner thighs. Stretch the tailbone away from the rear of the pelvis while lifting the base of the head away from the back of the neck. Place your forehead against the mat.
Extend your arms forward with your palms facing down and fingers widely apart. Take anywhere from a few breaths to many minutes of rest here.
Marjariasana / Bitilasana (Cat-Cow Pose)
Why this yoga stance is beneficial for migraines: Cat-Cow promotes circulation, extends the neck and spine, and is both physically and mentally soothing.
Start in the Tabletop position on your hands and knees. Ensure that your knees are aligned with your hips and that your wrists, elbows, and shoulders are perpendicular to the floor. Maintain a neutral head posture with your eyes focused on the ground.
As you inhale, raise your sitting bones and chest to the ceiling and let your abdomen fall toward the floor. Raise your head to look directly ahead. As you exhale, curve your spine toward the ceiling while maintaining the position of your shoulders and legs. Don't push your chin to your chest; instead, relax your head toward the floor.
Repeat as necessary, following your natural inhalation and exhalation.
Savasana (Corpse Pose) (Corpse Pose)
Why this yoga stance is beneficial for migraines: When a migraine strikes and all you want to do is lie in a dark room, Corpse Pose can assist you to enter a meditative state or, at the absolute least, allow your mind to rest and provide pain relief.
How to: If feasible, have a partner help you position your head in Corpse Pose to maximize its benefits. Request that they gently cradle your head in their hands and pull the base of your skull away from the back of your neck, lengthening the shorter side of your neck, so that both ears are at the same distance from your shoulders. Then, request that your spouse place your head back on the floor, ensuring that the tip of your nose points squarely upwards. If you are alone, pull the base of your head away from the back of your neck with your hands before placing it back on the floor. If you have trouble doing so, place a folded blanket behind your head and neck for support.
Your body must be in a neutral position during Savasana. Check sure your legs and feet are inclined uniformly while supine on the floor and release both legs to relax your groin. Narrow the front of your pelvis and relax (but do not arch) your lower back. Reach your arms toward the ceiling and rock gently from side to side to elongate your rib cage and shoulder blades. Then, lower your arms to the ground. Place the backs of your hands against the ground. Breathe.
Asanas for preventing migraines with yoga
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
Why this yoga position prevents headaches: Bridge Pose helps to relieve upper-body strain. By elevating your heart over your head in this stance, you also enhance blood flow to the brain.
How to: Lie supine on the floor and, if required, tuck a blanket beneath your shoulders to protect your neck. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor with your heels as close as possible to your sitting bones. Exhale and, while actively pressing the inner feet and arms into the floor, elevate the buttocks off the ground. Maintain parallel thighs and inner feet. Clasp your hands below your pelvis and stretch your arms to assist you to maintain your shoulders' apexes. Raise the chin away from the sternum and push the top of the sternum toward the chin.
Maintain the posture for thirty seconds to one minute. Exhale and roll your spine softly onto the floor as you exhale.
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) (Standing Forward Bend)
Why this yoga position prevents headaches: The stress-relieving and circulation-improving benefits of the Standing Forward Bend can help manage hormone levels.
How to: Assume Tadasana with your hands on your hips. To stretch the front torso, exhale and bend forward from the hips, not the waist.
Bring your hands or fingertips to the floor slightly in front of or alongside your feet, or bring your palms to the backs of your ankles, if feasible, while maintaining straight knees. Alternatively, cross your forearms and grasp your elbows. Press the heels firmly into the floor and raise the sitting bones upwards.
With each breath, slightly raise your body. Each time you exhale, release a little bit more into the position. Allow your head to dangle from the base of your neck, which is located in the upper back, between the shoulder blades.
Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose)
Why this yoga position prevents headaches: This position is beneficial for a variety of conditions, including high and low blood pressure, depression, anxiety, headaches, and migraines.
For additional support, you may choose to fold one or two blankets and place them under your lower back. If you are rigid, the support should be lower and further from the wall; if you are flexible, the support should be higher and put closer to the wall. Depending on your height, you may need to modify your distance from the wall. If you are shorter, move closer to the wall; if you are taller, go farther away.
Start your support around 5 to 6 inches from the wall. With your side against the wall, sit sideways on the right or left end of the support, whichever side is more comfortable. Exhale and raise your legs onto the wall while lowering your shoulders and head to the floor softly. There is no need to force your buttocks on the wall, but they should fit between the support and the wall.
Raise and separate the base of your head from the rear of your neck, soften your throat, and maintain a natural position for your chin. Open your shoulder blades away from your spine and extend your arms and hands out to your sides with the palms facing up. Maintain firmness on your legs, just enough to hold them vertically in place. Hold the posture for five to fifteen minutes.