Yogic Help for Headaches
Some of us suffer from minor headaches occasionally and we don’t always have or want to take something. This article is for you.
Sometimes we know what’s caused our headache—fumes from the engine my son started in the garage, bright sunlight, someone close by wearing too much perfume—yet many times we do not.
If you get consistent headaches, you might look at your diet, hormonal cycle, stress level, the amount you sleep and/or environmental factors. If you are someone who has severe, debilitating headaches, please consult a medical professional.
Sometimes we can apply yogic and alternative principles to alleviate symptoms in the moments when we feel a headache coming on. Try these techniques:
- Touch the headache acupressure point in the web between your thumb and index finger of each hand intermittently for two minutes. (See the adjacent photo.) Don’t press too hard. There will be some discomfort. Relax into it as much as possible.
- Sitting quietly for a few minutes and practicing a gentle, focused breath while extending the exhale. I like ujjayi breathing for this. To learn how to do ujjayi breathing, place your hand in front of your mouth and blow out as if you are trying to fog a mirror. Now close your mouth and do the same thing. When practicing ujjayi breathing, it will sound like the ocean or Darth Vader inside your head. It shouldn’t be audible to others in the area. It takes most of us a bit of practice to get this breath. You can use ujjayi on the inhale and exhale. When you are extending the exhalation, I suggest using it only on the exhalation.
- You might add a regular yoga nidra or guided meditation into your routine to help reduce stress.
- If you are experiencing sinus congestion or dryness, you might add neti pot and/or nasya oil into your morning and evening routine.
- Sometimes it’s nice to lie down, rid yourself of distractions in your environment, and use an eye pillow or gently wrap and ace bandage around your head (eyes and ears).
- Gentle asana (such as moon salutation) or a walk outside can stimulate circulation and energy flow, which can also alleviate headaches.
- Savasana with the legs slightly elevated and a sandbag resting on the ankles helps as well, as in the photo at the top of this post.
I’d love to hear about what works for you.