What’s Inside –
- What is migraine and what are its causes
- How yoga can in preventing migraines
- Yoga poses to try
All in the Head – What are Migraines?
All of us have had some uncomfortable headaches from time to time, and they are certainly not something one would enjoy. For some part of the population however, these headaches can become extreme in the form of migraines.
Migraines include a throbbing or pulsing pain in the head, often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Ranging anywhere from a few hours to a few days, migraines can significantly compromise the wellbeing of individuals and reduce their productivity.
The causes of migraines are still not well understood, but a combination of genetic and environmental factors are believed to play a role. What is well known however is that migraine has a number of triggers – one diagnosed, an individual may face the onset or increase in the intensity of a migraine. These can include –
- Changes in the levels of the hormone in estrogen in women, caused due to periods, pregnancy or menopause can trigger migraines
- For some people, drastic changes in their sleeping patterns can induce migraines
- While exercise is often the remedy for most physical ailments, too much for physical exertion can cause migraines in some people
- Stress is one major factor that causes migraines
The Yogic Balm – How Does it Work?
Given that migraines involve both the mind and brain, you need an exercise that stimulates both – without becoming too strenuous, which in turn can trigger further migraines. Fortunately, there is a complete exercise package that includes all of the above specificities – yoga.
Studies have consistently shown that yoga is a great tool for relaxation and stress relief, which thus helps in tackling a major trigger of the condition. Additionally, yoga has also been found to bring balance to the autonomic-cardiac system, helping in prevention of migraines. The blood circulation that yoga promotes can also go a long way in relieving the intensity of your migraine headaches.
Poses To Try –
Here are some poses that you can try for migraine reduction, symptom control, and preventing triggers from acting out –
- Shavasana (Corpse Pose) – A deeply relaxing pose that is often used at the end of yogic sessions to bring the body back from its active state, this pose is an excellent way of releasing emotional and physical tension, and can also be conducive to meditation. While some may use music during this asana to enhance relaxation, you can avoid it if it can possibly trigger your migraine.
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog) – One of the most versatile and well-known asanas of yoga, this pose provides an all-around stretch to the body while strengthening the shoulders and opening the chest. The increased circulation to the brain and the relaxation that comes with asana can also help in prevention of migraines.
- Chakrasana (Wheel Pose) – Challenge your body and release the pent-up tension with this full back inversion that opens up your chest and engages your core and hips. Improving blood flow towards the brain, this asana also helps in relaxation and reducing physical tension from the body. Be sure to use support in the beginning to prevent injuries.
- Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose) – This asana helps in calming the brain and reducing anxiety and stress.It also helps in strengthening the shoulders, opening up the chest and engaging the core, and improves the capacities of the thighs and legs. Be sure to keep your shoulders away from your ears, and take the support of a yoga block if required to position your back.
- Balsana (Child’s Pose) – Yet another pose known for its calmness and stress-relief, this asana can help in reducing all sorts of physical pains in the body and also helps in calming down the nervous system. It also provides a good stretch to the spine and the hips.
- Padmasana (Lotus Pose) – While it can be a difficult pose to master, building up towards it can help in increasing the flexibility of your hips and legs. This pose is considered ideal for meditation, and in itself can also help in alleviating headache.
While yoga can be helpful in the days that you are suffering from a migraine, it is best that you integrate the practice into your daily workout to help you prevent the onset of these migraine attacks in the first place, or to help in minimizing their symptoms. It can also be helpful to supplement yoga with other healthy practices such as making notes of situations, foods, and other conditions that trigger your migraines, ensuring that you have adequate medical support to deal with the problem, and on some days, simply pausing and resting if the condition overwhelms you. Indeed, yoga is just one solution, and a multi-level and sustained effort will eventually be what helps you in managing your condition.