Headache is one of the most frequent of human discomforts. In today’s life headache is a regular feature. Most of the times a headache are more of a nagging nuisance than an indicator of a serious problem. But, in some cases the headache does warrant more serious attention as it can be the indicator of some significant problem. Tension headaches are due to tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw. They are often related to stress, depression or anxiety. You are more likely to get tension headaches if you work too much, don't get enough sleep, miss meals or use alcohol. Other common types of headaches include migraines, cluster headaches and sinus headaches. Most people can feel much better by making lifestyle changes, learning ways to relax and taking pain relievers.
Headaches can have many causes, but serious causes of headaches are rare. Sometimes headaches warn of a more serious disorder. Let your health care provider know if you have sudden, severe headaches. Get medical help right away if you have a headache after a blow to your head, or if you have a headache along with a stiff neck, fever, confusion, loss of consciousness or pain in the eye or ear. More than 40 million Americans suffer from serious or chronic headaches sometime during their lives, and Americans consume over 30,000 tons of over-the counter painkillers each year.
Yoga and Headache
Yoga Therapy is a revolutionary new approach to working with some of the most common physical and mental ailments. Simple Yoga techniques can serve as an alternative or supplement to other remedies for dealing with headaches, as both prevention and treatment. A regular routine of Yoga exercises, breathing techniques, and relaxation/meditation can help prevent chronic headaches or reduce their severity. Exercises that stretch your muscles can release the tension that often causes headaches. Exercises that increase overall circulation and promote strength and balance are also helpful as they promote physical and mental balance and can strengthen your immune system. Yoga also helps to increase self-awareness, enabling you to address physical symptoms before they become severe.
Headaches have been around even longer than yoga but now we know that combining this ancient affliction with the ancient fitness regimen can produce very effective results. The various styles of yoga that have made it to the West all share a common core: positioning the body into a particular posture while focusing mind and breathe. This art of positioning the body has been passed on for thousands of years, and encompasses one of the oldest cultural traditions known to exist. To practice yoga then is also to join with the ancient sages, drawing human history up into yourself and connecting with the past.
YOGA POSES FOR HEADACHE
Fish pose is another important yoga posture which helps in providing relief from tension and relaxes the mind and the body. It eases the pressure on the mind and provides support to the back and the shoulders. It is a comfortable Yoga pose which does not cause strain to the other organs of the body.
Downward Facing Dog Pose
Push butt up toward ceiling...fiercely. Push hands and heels of feet into floor and let head hang downward. Pull belly button up into spine. And breathe deeply. Avoid pinching shoulders. Push shoulders away from ears.
Start in a crawl position kneeling on the floor. Rest hands on floor in vertical alignment with shoulders. Sit butt back into heels of feet... inhale deeply. Now exhale and push head and torso forward into cobra. Do not push up with arms. Use chest and middle back muscles. The cobra is a backbend careful not to push in on lower back.
Gently roll torso back to floor... close eyes and breathe deeply. Avoid exercise if headache is acute or severe. Practice eye movements. Close eyes tightly...open widely. Roll eyes up and down and to the right and left. Circle eyes clock-wise and counter clock-wise. Palm eyes and forehead. Rub heels of palms together until warm, then place gently over eyes and feel the tension melt away as you visualize your happiest moments.
The Bridge Pose is also known as Setu Bandhasana which means construction of a bridge. It came from the words “setu” meaning bridge, “bandha” meaning lock, and “asana” meaning posture. Setu Bandhasana is effective in promoting relaxation and reducing stress. The legs and the hips do most of the work which helps in rejuvenating tired feet.
Cat Yoga Pose
The Cat Yoga Pose teaches you to initiate movement from your center and to coordinate your movement and breath. These are two of the most important themes in Yoga practice. Keep in mind that the Cat Pose may not be advisable if you have any chronic or recent back pain or injury.
Relaxation Yoga Pose
The first step in Yoga practice is to learn how to relax your body and mind properly. Learn how to do the corpse pose and other relaxation techniques. Know more about the art of physical, mental, and spiritual relaxation in this section.
Corpse Yoga Pose
The Corpse Yoga Pose is considered as a classic relaxation Yoga Pose and is practiced before or in between Asanas as well as a Final Relaxation. While it looks deceptively simple, it is actually difficult to perform.
Supported Cobbler's Pose
Sit, and place the soles of your feet together. Loop a strap around your sacrum and under your feet (run it between your legs), and lie back over a bolster with a blanket under your head. Place blocks or pillows under your thighs to relieve tension in the groin area.
YOGA ASANAS FOR HEADACHE
Paschimottanasana, the seated forward bend, is the fifth of the 12 basic postures of hatha yoga. There are many benefits of this posture; the main and most obvious one is to provide a complete stretch of the entire backside of the body from the back of the head through the heels. Immediately following this is the counter stretch, the inclined plane.
- Paschimottanasana begins by coming up to a seated position.
- Sit up straight with your legs together, stretched out in front of you. Point both feet straight up towards the ceiling.
- Be sure you are sitting straight up on the sitbones with your spine straight.
- Many people benefit at this point by removing the flesh from underneath the sitbones so as to help remove curvature in the spine.
- Inhale, and stretch your arms up over your head. Following the direction of your hands, at the same time lengthen the entire spine upwards.
This is a great chest-opener; many people who have depression coupled with anxiety often have feelings of tightness or pressure in the chest—this pose can help ease the pressure.
- Sit with your legs fully stretched out. Bend each leg at the knees and place your feet on the other hip joint. Both the heels are adjusted in such a way that each presses the adjacent portion of the abdomen. This forms the foot-lock in a sitting position.
- Bend backwards and, exhaling, rest your weight on the elbows. Push your neck backwards and slightly rise the hip upward thus making an arch of the spine.
- Then, by making hooks of the forefingers, hold your toes on the corresponding side without crossing your arms.This posture should be maintained for some time with slow and deep breathing.
- For reverting to the original position, release the foot-lock and return to the supine position by lowering the arch.
The Shoulder Stand stimulates and rejuvenates your entire body. In this exercise, you build up both power and a new structure in your back and you relax tension in well-known stress areas like the neck and the lower back. The muscles of your lower back get stronger, the chest and shoulders can move more freely and the back gets straighter.
- Lie flat on your back. Inhale deeply while raising your legs and spine until the toes point to the ceiling.
The body rests on the shoulders and the back of the neck.
- The body is supported by the hands, which are placed on the center of the spine between the waist and the shoulder blades. Keep your spine and legs straight.
- Breathe slowly and deeply with the abdomen and concentrate on the thyroid gland. On a male, the thyroid gland is located behind the adams apple. For women, it is located in the same area which is a few inches above the sternal notch (hollow of the neck where the neck joins the rest of the body.) or approximately half way up the neck from the sternal notch. Stay in this position for about two minutes.
- To come out of this posture, just bend your knees, curve your back and slowly return to lying on the floor while exhaling. First bend your knees, put the palms on the floor, then curving the spine, gradually unfold it the way one unrolls a carpet. When your entire back touches the floor, straighten the knees, take a deep breath and slowly lower your legs to the ground while breathing out.
- If you wish, you may go straight into the next posture (the 'reverse posture') instead of lying down.
Halasana is also called the Plow pose because when you reach to the final position of this pose your body resembles the shape of Hala the Indian plough.Halasana is also called the Plow pose because when you reach to the final position of this pose your body resembles the shape of Hala the Indian plough.
- Lie flat on your back.
- Raise the legs slowly and touch the ground with the toes above the ground.
- Keep the palms flat on the ground.
- Do this asana for 1to 2 minutes.
Pavan Muktasana strengthens the abdominal muscles and liver, spleen, pancreas and stomach. It eases excess gas from the abdomen. Persons suffering from constipation must do this after drinking lukewarm water for proper evacuation of bowels in the morning. Pavan Muktasana is the best asana to expel gas by compression of the abdomen.
- Keep your hands by the side of your body in a supine position. While inhaling, raise both your legs to 90 and bend them at the knees.
- Make a finger-lock with both your hands around them, a little below the knees. While exhaling, bring your thighs close to the chest by contracting the abdominal muscles. Maintain this posture for a few seconds.
- Then return to the original posture in the reverse order as Ardha Pavan Muktasana. Repeat the asana three to four times
Relieving tension within the upper back and neck, this yoga pose also massages the digestive organs and stimulates the energies of the manipura and Svadhishthana Chakra.Shashankasana is a relaxing and rejuvenating pose, and therefore can be used when you are extremely weary or tired. After a hard day's work, it is often useful to wind down with this pose. It can also be used immediately after you wake up and get ready, as it gives you the energy to flow through another day. If you are able to relax in the morning with Shashankasana, you will glide through the day harmoniously.
- Sit in the Vajrasana position and hold your ankles with hands of the same side.
- Bend forward while exhaling and let the forehead touch the ground.
- Hold yourself in this position as long as you feel comfortable and come back to Vajrasana position.
- Do this at least 10 to 15 times to have maximum benefit.