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YOGA FOR MIGRAINE

Introduction

Migarine
Migraine is a condition characterized by sudden bouts of throbbing headache often unilateral (pain localized to one side of the head). Migraine can last from a few hours to days. The pain may be accompanied by other manifestations like nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances. Each year, the number of people worldwide seeking medical treatment for recurrent headache has been on the increase. Tension headaches are very common and occur in adults of all ages and gender throughout the world. Women in their early childbearing years are the most susceptible, particularly just before or during menstrual periods.

Cluster headaches are most common in men of about 30-40 years of age. The incidence of migraine is much higher in those engaged in stressful work, involving much mental activity like businessmen and scientists. It is also more common in nervous and highly emotional individuals. Migraine affects more than 28 million Americans, and about 75% are women. The headaches typically begin in adolescence or early adulthood, but onset may be earlier or later in some cases. There is clustering in families, suggesting a genetic component. Scientists also think that imbalances in brain chemicals such as serotonin and magnesium may trigger Migraine attack.

Fluctuation in estrogen and progesterone also seem to cause Migraine attack in Women. Modify your lifestyle such that you get complete freedom from the tensions in your life. Pressure on brain should be minimized. It is almost impossible to change the lifestyle, but you may try to get adjusted to the better side of your life. The prevention of a migraine attack is by trying to identify any precipitating factor and avoiding the same. Avoiding alcohol, smoking and controlling hypertension is also essential. The use of counselling and psychotherapy is essential in highly stressed, nervous and emotional individuals.

Yoga and Migraine

Yoga Therapy for Migraine generally focuses on the prevention of the occurrence which includes stress reduction and avoidance of the various causes of the attacks. Yoga can also alleviate the headache pain by providing relief to sensory overload and relaxing your mind. A combination of Yoga poses, breathing exercises and relaxation may help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines, a new study suggests. Just as the mind affects the body, so the body affects the mind. Yoga asana, or postures, can help alleviate migraine headaches. Most sufferers can't do much other than retreat to bed once a severe migraine hits, but a full-blown attack is often preceded by a prodrome, a warning symptom, such as dizziness, drowsiness, muscle stiffness, or mood swings.

Developing sensitivity to such signals, and using them as a call to action, can help you halt the migraine before it begins, or at least reduce its severity. When you get a warning, make it a priority to stop what you are doing. It is also a very useful trick to rest and relax the muscles of the head. These techniques work by slowing down the mind. When you begin to enjoy a deep internal massage though the resonance of sound in your whole head, you will start to feel the tension release. Performing certain asanas before the migraine occurs, or just as it is making itself known, is most effective. There's no prescribed set of asanas guaranteed to conquer headaches, and each individual is different.

YOGA POSES FOR MIGRAINE

Lotus Yoga Pose

The Lotus Yoga Pose is usually done in Meditation. It is a classic seated posture which strengthens your ankles and knees, enhances concentration, and improves flexibility of your legs.

Bow pose

The alternating stretching and releasing of the abdominal muscles increases blood flow to this area and aids all sorts of digestive disorders and discomforts. The Bow works all parts of your back simultaneously. The pose is so named because as you hold it, your body is bent back like a bow and your arms are held straight and taut like a bowstring.

Spinal Twist Pose

The whole abdominal organs are properly toned and stimulated well by the increase of intra-abdominal pressure. Sluggishness of liver or hepatic torpidity disappears. It tones the bowels and removes constipation (ordinary, chronic and habitual). It awakens Kundalini.The important physiological aspects of this posture (asana) are that it stimulates the pancreas, liver, spleen, kidneys, stomach and ascending and descending colons.

Boat Pose

Perform the Boat Pose to strengthen your abdominal area and hip flexor, tone muscles in the midsection, improve digestion, and relieve stress. You can use a Yoga Strap to aid you in holding the pose longer or if you cannot keep your legs straight.

Tree Pose

The Tree Pose helps strengthen your thighs, calves, ankles and back. It can also increase the flexibility of your hips and groin. Your balance and concentration can also be improved with constant practice. This Yoga Pose is recommended for people who have sciatica and flat feet.

Legs up the Wall Pose

Legs-Up-The-Wall pose (Viparita Karani) is a wonderful yoga position that few of us take the time to do and most of us need. Much of the yoga currently practiced here in the US is active and often very vigorous. Yoga stresses the importance of balancing these yang (active) poses with yin (passive) poses. Legs-Up-The-Wall pose fits the bill perfectly. It is a gentle inversion that helps to relieve the effects of stress by soothing the nervous system, increasing circulation and allowing the mind to calm. It is especially great for people who spend too much time sitting and standing since it relieves swelling and fatigue in the legs and feet by reversing the effects of gravity.

Child Pose

The Child Pose is a gentle way of stretching your shoulders, hips, thighs, ankles, and back muscles. It is a relaxation posture which is done to normalize the circulation after performing the Headstand and to serve as counterpose after Backbends.



YOGA ASANAS FOR MIGRAINE

PASCHIMOTTANASANA

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

Steps

  • 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.

SETUBANDHASANA

Setubandhasana
Supported Bridge Pose helps regulate and balance blood pressure. Women are more prone to elevated blood pressure when the protective effect of estrogen is withdrawn. As you stay in the pose, feel the effect deep inside the whole belly area. The effect of dropping the belly, uterus and ovaries in the pelvic bowl helps to balance the hormonal secretions and thus helps ease the hormonal fluctuations of menopause.

Steps

  • Lie down in Shavasana posture. Raise your knees and bring your feet nearer to the hips keeping them apart. Keep your hands near the thighs.
  • While inhaling, raise your hips and hands upwards simultaneously. Keep your hands over your head on the floor. back your hands and hips to the original position while exhaling. Repeat three to four times and relax.
  • When you are ready to come out, bend your knees, turn to your side, and relax on the floor for a few more breaths before you slowly sit up.

SARVANGASANA

Sarvangasana
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.

Steps

  • 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.

JANUSIRSASANA

Janusirsasana
Janu means knee and sirsa means the head. Asana means pose in Sanskrit. It is a pose to enjoy asymmetry. The potential is to free up constriction in different parts of the back and to loosen the hamstrings.

Steps

  • Sit on the floor with your buttocks lifted on a folded blanket and your legs straight in front of you. Inhale, bend your right knee, and draw the heel back toward your perineum. Rest your right foot sole lightly against your inner left thigh, and lay the outer right leg on the floor, with the shin at a right angle to the left leg (if your right knee doesn't rest comfortably on the floor, support it with a folded blanket).
  • Press your right hand against the inner right groin, where the thigh joins the pelvis, and your left hand on the floor beside the hip. Exhale and turn the torso slightly to the left, lifting the torso as you push down on and ground the inner right thigh. Line up your navel with the middle of the left thigh. You can just stay here, using a strap to help you lengthen the spine evenly, grounding through the sitting bones.
  • When you are ready, you can drop the strap and reach out with your right hand to take the inner left foot, thumb on the sole. Inhale and lift the front torso, pressing the top of the left thigh into the floor and extending actively through the left heel. Use the pressure of the left hand on the floor to increase the twist to the left. Then reach your left hand to the outside of the foot. With the arms fully extended, lengthen the front torso from the pubis to the top of the sternum.
  • Exhale and extend forward from the groins, not the hips. Be sure not to pull yourself forcefully into the forward bend, hunching the back and shortening the front torso. As you descend, bend your elbows out to the sides and lift them away from the floor.
  • Lengthen forward into a comfortable stretch. The lower belly should touch the thighs first, the head last. Stay in the pose anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes. Come up with an inhalation and repeat the instructions with the legs reversed for the same length of time.

JALANDHARABANDHA

The meaning of the word Jalandhar, " Jal " means " Net ", in this case, net of Nadis (energy channels) and the word " Dhar " means to stop or to hold the flow of the fluid (Amrut), flowing through the nadis.This exercise is known to be the "destroyer of old age." You can do this exercise in any yoga posture, though most people prefer to be in Padmasana or lotus posture to do this exercise. In this posture, the neck is bent a little to do the bandh. In this all the muscles of the neck and throat are contracted and a force is exerted on the seven paths of the throat.
Jalandharabandha

Steps

  • Sit in a comfortable pose.
  • Firm your shoulder blades against your back torso to lift your sternum. Be careful not to push your front ribs forward.
  • Full Jalandhara requires the chin to rest comfortably on the sternum (neck flexion). Many beginners make the mistake of only lowering the chin; in fact your chin should be met half-way by the elevated sternum.
  • The focus of these complementary movements is the "crook" of the throat, where the underside of the chin meets the front of the neck. Draw this crook diagonally up and into your skull (toward the top of your spine).Your head should pivot and your chin should descend over this action, which simultaneously draws the top of the sternum upward.
  • Work on lengthening the back of your neck, releasing your shoulders, and opening your chest in poses like Sarvangasana and Setu Bandha Sarvangasana. Never force your chin to your sternum.
  • If you're a beginner, don't hold this bandha continuously throughout your practice. Begin your inhalation with your head upright. Apply Jalandhara as you near the end of the inhale, hold during the retention and the exhale, and then raise your head to a neutral position for the next inhale.

VIPARITAKARANI

Viparitakarani
This is a wonderful yoga position that few of us take the time to do and most of us need. Much of the yoga currently practiced here in the US is active and often very vigorous. Yoga stresses the Importance of balancing these yang (active) poses with yin (passive) poses. Legs-Up-The-Wall pose fits the bill perfectly. It is a gentle inversion that helps to relieve the effects of stress by soothing the nervous system, increasing circulation and allowing the mind to calm. It is especially great for people who spend too much time sitting and standing since it relieves swelling and fatigue in the legs and feet by reversing the effects of gravity.

Steps

  • Place a bolster or two folded blankets about 2 inches away from the wall
  • Sit sideways on the bolster so your right hip and side are touching the wall. With the bolster under your bottom, lower yourself back, using the support of your elbows and forearms, and swivel around to take your right leg and then your left leg up the wall.
  • Stay in the pose for 10 minutes or longer. If you are tired, it is natural to fall asleep in this pose.
  • When you are ready to come out, bend your knees, turn to your side, and relax on the floor for a few more breaths before you slowly sit up.

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