Yoga has become more popular in a society where stress, illness, and pain are a prominent part of everyday life. Now migraines are on the list.
Research shows that migraineurs can benefit from this holistic approach, with specific poses helping to fight migraines during an attack, and others acting as a proactive element that reduces pain severity.
The yoga poses I’ve found in research and discovery have been used for hundreds of years in both Eastern and Western cultures, and all of them target high tension and stress areas. Yoga is something any physically able body can do with a bit of practice. It doesn’t just help with flexibility and strength; it helps the mind calm down and brings a sense of peace to the practitioner.
In this post, I’d like to look at what the research shows us review the top 5 poses that may help you with your migraines.
The Yoga – Migraine Research
In 2014, a study published in the International Journal of Yoga reported that the intensity and severity of migraines and other types of headaches could be reduced with the regular practice of Yoga. Every participant was on some sort of treatment regimen for migraines.
Yoga improved the circulatory and autonomic nervous systems in these patients. Disruptions or imbalances in these systems play a role in migraines. When these systems were regulated during regular Yoga practice, migraine symptoms were noticeably reduced.
The Top 5 Yoga Poses For Migraine
The below poses can be done in the order listed, your chosen order, or you can do a couple at a time. Stay in each pose for at least three deep breaths before moving to the next.
Pose 1 – Child’s Pose
- Kneel on a yoga mat or carpet, keeping knees and toes about shoulder width apart.
- Lay the top of your feet flat on the ground.
- Sit back on your heels and, on exhale, bring your forehead to the floor, reaching your arms straight out in front of you, palms to the ground.
- Breathe deep and allow your chest to move closer to the ground.
Pose 2 – Downward Facing Dog
- Start on hands and knees; knees should be aligned with hips, and hands with shoulders.
- Relax your upper back and extend your elbows.
- Lift yourself slowly off the ground, keeping your hands flat on the floor and extending your legs, but don’t lock your knees.
- Distribute weight evenly between hands and feet, focusing on deep breaths and lengthening your back.
- Keep your neck relaxed in a position where you are looking at the space between your feet.
Pose 3 – Upward Facing Dog
- Lie flat on your stomach with feet extended, with the bottoms facing up.
- Place your hands flat on the floor at waist or hip level.
- Extend your elbows and lift your torso up.
- Extend your neck to look up at the sky.
- Press shoulder muscles downward and extend the spine.
- Breathe deeply and focus on releasing tension.
Pose 4 – Wide Angle Standing Forward Bend
- Spread feet as wide apart as you can.
- Press feet and toes firmly to the ground.
- Lengthen your lower back and lean forward.
- Lay your hands on the ground under your head or hold your ankles.
- Relax your neck and lengthen the spine more, breathing deeply.
Tip for this pose: If you’re worried about balance, try this while leaning against a wall.
Pose 5 – Corpse
- Lie with your back flat on the floor.
- Allow your legs to relax and your feet to fall to either side.
- Lay your arms comfortably to the side, palms upward
- Close your eyes and take several breaths, focusing on relaxing all your muscles.
- Stay in this position for 5-30 minutes.
Whether you’re just getting started, or you’re a veteran to Yoga and physical exercise, these poses are designed to help relieve stress and tension during and after attacks. Migraine relief is as unique as you are, but I’m certain that stress is a culprit in everyone. Yoga will help with the stress relief, and thinking positively will accelerate your healing. Be sure to talk to your provider before getting started with any new regimens.
- Mind Body Green – 10 Yoga Poses to Heal Migraines
- The Art of Living – Yoga to Cure Migraine and Headache
- Healthline – What Can Yoga Do for Migraine Relief
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