Only migraine sufferers will truly understand the pain and discomfort associated with the dreadful condition. Way more than just a throbbing headache, a migraine often brings aversion to light, nausea and sickness, and excruciating pain. Unfortunately, migraines are often brought on by our lifestyle and circumstances – some of which are unavoidable. However, heading to the yoga mat can keep the dreaded condition at bay. In this article, we explore yoga for migraine.
Before we begin, let’s discuss what a migraine is. It’s best described as a neurological disorder that causes repeated headaches, ranging from a moderate to high intensity. Typically, the pain is either on one-half of the head or on one side. The duration of the attack can be anything from hours, to days, or sometimes, even weeks. Many sufferers experience a huge aversion to light and sound and choose to shut themselves away in a dark, quiet space. Other symptoms include vomiting, nausea, and head pain that is aggravated by physical activity.
One of the most comforting postures of all time, Child’s Pose is ideal for those suffering from a migraine. Once you’re in the position, the pose requires little to no movement. With this in mind, your headache won’t be worsened by movement. For best results, relax your neck and shoulders throughout the asana. To practice Child’s Pose, start kneeling on your mat. Next, inhale deeply and sit back on your heels. As you exhale, walk your hands out in front of you until your chest is touching the mat. If it is comfortable, rest your forehead on the mat and relax your arms by your sides. You are in Child’s Pose. Hold the asana for around 30 seconds before rising slowly.
Forward Bend helps to boost your circulation without doing much work. When you’re suffering from a migraine, circulating the blood can provide some much-needed relief. To practice the asana, begin standing tall on your mat. Next, hinge at the waist and slowly lower your upper body towards the floor. To avoid aggravating your pain, be sure to move slowly throughout the pose. Keeping your legs straight, allow your arms and head to hang freely towards the ground. You are in Forward Bend. Hold the asana for around 30 seconds before slowly lifting yourself back to a standing position.
If you’re feeling sick, tired, or sluggish, an inversion such as Legs Up The Wall is ideal. Reversing gravity will boost your circulation without having to move your head. To practice the asana, place the shortest side of your yoga mat against a wall. When your mat is in place, sit down facing the wall. Gently lie back and extend both legs up the wall. Make sure that your bottom is almost touching the wall and that your legs are close together. You can either rest your hands on your stomach or on the mat. You are in Legs Up The Wall Pose. Close your eyes and relax, and hold the pose for around 1 minute.
Another great posture for migraine sufferers is Downward Dog. Often, a migraine stems from tight muscles in the back, shoulders, or neck. As well as boosting your circulation, the asana stretches the back and shoulders to release built-up tension.
To practice the asana, stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hinging at the waist, slowly lower your torso forward until your body forms a triangle. Your hands and feet should now be securely on the ground. If your shoulders or hamstrings feel too tight for the pose, try bending your knees slightly to make the posture easier. Spreading your fingers for balance, move your head forward until it is in-between your upper arms. You are in Downward Dog. For best results, breathe deeply and hang your head gently between your shoulders.
When suffering from a migraine, some people struggle to get out of bed. Thankfully, Head to Knee Pose can be practised from the comfort of your bedroom. Better still, you can lay down throughout the pose. To practice the asana, start by lying flat on your back. Gently bend both knees and place your feet on the ground. Next, lift your right leg off the mat and draw your knee into your chest. If it helps, you can use your hands to hold your knee in place. Slowly straighten your left leg and rest it down on the mat. Using your fingertips, gently grip the toes of your right foot. If possible, try to straighten your right leg. If you can’t straighten it all the way – don’t panic! As long as you can feel a stretch through your ankle and calf, the asana is doing its job. You are in Reclining Big Toe Pose. Hold the position for 30 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.
For migraine sufferers, sick days are inevitable. However, taking time off work can be stressful, particularly during busy periods. Unfortunately, worrying about everything you should be doing will only make your migraine worse. Opening the chest, heart, and shoulders, Bridge Pose can reduce your stress levels and lower anxiety. To practice the pose, lay on your back with your knees bent. The soles of your feet should remain on the ground. Next, relax your arms and let them drop to the sides of your body. Finally, tuck your chin into your chest and lift your bottom and back off the floor to create a bridge. You are in Bridge Pose. Hold for 30 seconds before lowering yourself back down to the mat.
If you feel a migraine coming on, stop it in its tracks by using the sequence above. When you’re feeling unwell, it’s important to be as comfy as possible. With this in mind, pick up a cosy yoga hoodie and some baggy sweatpants to practice in.