6 Best Yoga Exercises and Poses for Headache

Yoga exercises can help provide headache relief. (Photo via Unsplash/Usman Yousaf )
Yoga exercises can help provide headache relief. (Photo via Unsplash/Usman Yousaf )

A headache can keep you awake at night or, even worse, it can lead to a migraine. Whether from hangovers, stress or dehydration, when you experience a headache, all you want to do is get rid of the pain quickly. While taking medicine is the first thing that comes to mind, yoga is a natural way to fight against headaches without affecting or hurting your body in the process.

Regular yoga practice is amazing for reducing tension, a major cause of headaches in general. Yoga exercises help relax your parasympathetic system while also controlling your blood pressure and slowing your heart rate. In fact, studies have shown that practicing yoga regularly can potentially reduce the intensity and frequency of headaches.

So, the next time you experience a severe headache, roll out a mat and try out these poses to get quick relief.


6 Yoga Exercises for Headache Relief

Below are some of the most effective poses to get relief from a headache:

1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

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To do this pose:

  • Kneel on the floor with your big toes touching and sit straight on your heels.
  • Separate your knees as wide as your hips and slowly bend your torso between your thighs.
  • Narrow your hip points towards your belly button so that they get pushed down to your inner thighs.
  • Straighten your tailbone and move it away from the back of your pelvis.
  • Rest your forehead on the floor and stretch your arms forward.
  • Keep your palms facing down towards the floor and spread your fingers wide.
  • Stay in the position for as long as you can and take deep breaths.

2. Seated Forward Fold (Pashchimottanasana)

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To do this pose:

  • Sit tall on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
  • As you inhale, stretch both your arms over your head and then slowly fold forward from your hips, while reaching for your feet or shins, whichever is comfortable for you.
  • Keep your spine lengthened as you fold forward and move your head towards your toes.
  • You can also keep a slight bend on your knees to make the pose more comfortable.
  • Stay in this position, relax and feel the stretch.

3. Cat-Cow Pose (Bitilasana Marjaryasana)

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To do this pose:

  • Start in a tabletop position with your hands and knees on the floor.
  • Make sure your knees are positioned directly below your hips and your shoulders, wrists, and elbows are in line with the floor.
  • Keep your spine and head in the center and in a neutral position, and keep your gaze on the floor.
  • Now, lift your chest and sit towards the ceiling and allow your stomach to sink towards the ground.
  • Raise your head to look straight and then round your spine upwards while making sure your knees and shoulders are in position.
  • Move your head towards the floor but do not tuck your chin towards your chest.
  • Repeat the pose as many times as needed and breathe easily the entire time.

4. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

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To do this pose:

  • Start the pose in Tadasana (mountain pose) and position your hands on your hips.
  • Slowly bend forward at your hips and lengthen your front torso.
  • Keeping your knees straight, move your palms towards the floor or beside your feet, or simply hold the back of your ankles.
  • If this feels difficult, cross your forearms and grab your elbows.
  • Press your heels to the ground and raise your sitting bones towards the ceiling.
  • Allow your head to hang naturally from the root of your neck and stay in the position for as long as you want.

5. Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)

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To do this pose:

  • Sit tall on one end of the mat and let your hips touch a wall.
  • Slowly lean back and turn to lie straight on the mat.
  • Extend your legs up the wall and place your hands on your sides or your chest.
  • Make sure your hips are nearly touching the wall and your legs are up straight together.
  • Close your eyes and drop your chin.
  • Relax and breathe easily while maintaining this position.

6. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Savasana)

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To do this pose:

  • Start this yoga pose in a tabletop position.
  • Keep your toes under and raise your hips.
  • Sink your heels down towards the floor and move your biceps close to your ears.
  • Slowly lengthen through the back of your legs, and allow your neck and head to relax.
  • Maintain this posture for a few minutes and relax.

Takeaway

All the aforementioned yoga exercises, if performed correctly, are sure to provide you with relief from a headache. The key is to practice these poses mindfully, be gentle with your muscles, and listen to your body. If any pose starts to hurt or if you don’t feel right, just stop immediately. Moreover, it is always best to consult a doctor if you are new to yoga or have an ongoing health condition.

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Edited by Susrita Das