If you are prone to headaches, you probably know some of the triggers (stress, lack of sleep, hunger, allergies, sinus problems, eye strain) that cause them. But have you considered that your posture and a lack of oxygen could be to blame? Most of us sit and stand with rounded shoulders and head jutted forward. Our poor posture affects our respiration and circulation and can add up to muscle tension that results in headaches.
If your headaches are of the tension variety, yoga can help. The best time to treat a headache is at the first sign of the pain, before the muscles go into spasm. To reduce the amount of headaches you experience, incorporate the following yoga poses into your daily routine.
Simple Seated Twist
Sit straight on the edge of a chair, feet firmly planted on the floor, buttocks pressing down into the chair seat. Cross your right leg on top of your left at the knee. Take your right arm to the back of the chair and your left hand to your right knee. On an exhalation turn from the belly to the right. Keep your shoulders down and your chest open. Relax your eyes, jaw and tongue. Hold for ten seconds, breathing evenly. Return to center and repeat on the opposite side
Grabbling Opposite Elbows
Stand with the feet firmly planted on the floor, hipwidth apart. Clasp your elbows behind your back. If you have more flexibility, place your palms together behind your back, with your fingers pointed upward. Relax your eyes and jaw. Hold for 10 seconds, breathing evenly. Release.
Yoga helps with tension headaches by relaxing muscles in your head, back, and neck, boosting circulation to your brain and upper body, and improving your posture.
Yoga belt or tie
Stand with the feet firmly planted on the floor hip-width apart. Lift your right arm into the air beside your right ear. Bend your right elbow, reach your right hand behind back, palm facing your back and place it down between your shoulder blades. Bring your left arm behind your back and climb it up to clasp your right hand. If you have tight shoulders, use a yoga belt between your hands. Hold for 10 seconds, breathing evenly. Release and repeat on the opposite side.
Wrap your arms around your torso, right arm under left, hugging yourself. Bring your hands up, your left elbow resting in your right elbow, your hands rotated palms toward each other. Relax your eyes, jaw and shoulder blades. Hold for 10 seconds, breathing evenly. Release and repeat with your left arm under the right.
Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet hip-width apart and firmly planted on the floor. Lift your arms beside your head, taking hold of your left wrist with your right hand. On an exhalation, gently stretch to the right, pulling your left arm and wrist with your right hand. Press your weight down to the left buttock. Hold for 10 seconds, breathing evenly. Return to center and repeat on the opposite side.