Well, a migraine needs no introduction. For a common person, it might look like another type of headache but for those who are well acquainted with it, know what a nightmare it can be. The throbbing pain on one side of the head is often accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, pain in the eyes, temporary loss of vision, nausea, vomiting and seeing spots of flashlights.
Migraine is usually described as a neurological disorder often triggered by factors like stress, loud noise, hormonal changes and some foods. While a normal headache might subside after a while, episodes of migraine usually last from 2 hours to up to more than 2 days, thus compromising a person’s efficiency and overall productivity.
How Does Yoga Help?
Migraine has no absolute cure. It is the symptoms that are generally subdued to mitigate the pain a bit using prescription medications and certain lifestyle changes. Among the many triggers of migraine, stress is one of the leading ones. Hence a mindful approach towards relieving stress goes a long way by subduing the throbbing pain of migraine as well. Yoga is one such timeless therapy that promotes holistic living through a combination of postures and breathing techniques.
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We bring you 5 such excellent yoga postures which when practiced for a few minutes every day preparing one better for the next migraine episode.
Efficient Yoga Postures For Migraine
Sethubandhasana (Bridge Pose)
Start the posture by lying flat on your back. Now bend your knees and elbows. Place your feet flat on the floor close to the hips and your hands firmly on either side of the head. While supporting both your hands and legs on the ground, slowly try to lift your body up into the air. Hold this arching posture for 20-30 secs and slowly bring your body up into a standing pose.
The Bridge pose plays a pivotal role in relaxing the upper part of the body, specifically the shoulders and the neck which helps in subduing migraine pain. By lifting the heart at a raised level than that of the head, it facilitates blood circulation to even the most difficult and out of reach places. This asana also helps in relieving arthritic pain and strengthening the leg, thigh and back muscles.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing dog pose)
Come on all fours with your knees, hips-width apart and your hands shoulder-width apart. Now, slowly lift your hips off the floor and straighten your elbows and knees. Ensure that your body forms an inverted ‘V’. Now, press your hands into the ground and stretch your neck such that your ears should touch your inner arms, and you should turn your gaze towards your navel. Hold this position for five-eight breathes and then return to the original position.
Since the head is placed downwards and the heart is in an elevated position, the blood flow is reversed causing a surge of freshly oxygenated blood to reach the brain. Additionally, it not only stretches the spine and the shoulders but also releases trapped stress, and brings down high blood pressure.
Marjariasana (Cat Pose)
Bend on your knees and keep your head straight. Inhale deeply and lift your chin while pushing back your head a bit. Keep your buttocks firm and hold the posture for 30 seconds or as long as comfortable, while breathing deeply. Breathe out and bring your chin close to your chest. Relax your buttocks and arch the back as much as comfortably possible. Hold for some time and repeat the posture for 3 more times.
The Cat pose is essential in boosting blood flow and circulation, which potentially helps in bringing more oxygen to the brain, thus easing some of the pain due to the migraine headache. It also readily helps in releasing endorphins, which induces a feeling of relaxation within the mind and body, therefore relieving pain from all the joints.
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bent Pose)
Start the pose with your legs stretched out forward. While lifting your arms up, keep your back straight. Exhale and bend forward while keeping your arms horizontal to your legs. Try to hold your big toes with your fingers and keep this position for 30 seconds.
The seated forward bend pose is extremely beneficial for stretching out the spine and opening up the shoulders, which in turn subdues some of the tension and pain associated with migraine. Additionally, it not only promotes digestion but also prevents anxiety and relieves mental and body fatigue.
Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
Lie down on your back and close your eyes. Relax your body and mind. and think happy peaceful thoughts. Take your time while you do this. Breathe normally and do not hold your breath. After some time, stand up.
The Corpse Pose not only cools the body, calms the mind, and marks the end of the yoga session but also helps reduce the throbbing migraine pain. The deep breathing during this posture increases oxygen to your brain, improves concentration, patience and boosts overall mental well-being.