Author: Manisha Ojha
It is said that until and unless you don’t get into someone’s shoes, you don’t understand their plight and the same goes for a migraine too! Yes, only a person who is suffering from migraine can tell how a cloudy sky causes stress and even a little outburst of emotion triggers a striking pain.
You would be amazed to know that one in seven people suffer from a migraine every year. According to Migrainetrust, migraine is the third most common disease in the world (after dental problem caused and tension-type headache) with an estimated global prevalence of 14.7%.
It is my personal experience that yoga can be the ultimate rescuer from the throbbing migraine pain. Even amidst all the hustle bustle and fast-paced life, you can resort to slowing the time around you by indulging in the most effective treatment that you can ever find, and that is Yoga. Yes! If still, you are in doubt about its efficacy, read ahead as I tell you all about yoga and its different asanas that can help you treat your migraine naturally.
A sneak peek on yoga for migraines
Yoga is a practice of mind and body in concert. It is a way to relieve your body from stress and provides you more than just physical fitness. It infuses calm and peace to your mind and body, as well as helps to fight against weakness such as pain, anxiety and depression.
Migraine is one such weakness. It is a neurological disorder that causes recurrent headaches of moderate to severe intensity. It is a throbbing pain, which triggers one side of the head and can last for 2 to 72 hours. It is often accompanied by dizziness, nausea and sensitivity to sound, smell and light.
Yoga for migraines helps you to release stress and tension in the body, as well as allows your body to relax. It improves the blood circulation throughout the body and the blood flow towards the brain. As a result, it keeps your body tension-free and aborts the oncoming migraine attacks.
As you all know, yoga is everywhere. According to a study conducted in 2017, over half of the 200 million Yoga practitioners are of Indian origin. India, the birthplace of this ancient practice has resurfaced for the global market. As per global statistics, the number of Yoga practitioners is predicted to rise to a staggering 55 million people, by 2020 in the USA alone.
Myth Busted: Exercise can worsen a migraine!
There are a lot of people who think that vigorous exercise or yoga can trigger a migraine attack. However, there are evidences, which suggest that moderate exercise or yoga can be beneficial in reducing migraine.
Naturopath and certified yoga instructor Lynn A. Anderson has explained in an interview with The Huffington Post, that yoga for migraine is the most natural way to reduce the frequency and intensity of the pain. The regular movement of yoga postures can be effective in eradicating migraine from the root as it stimulates your body to release pain by controlling chemicals such as endorphins and enkephalins.
Top 8 Asanas to cure migraine pain naturally
Yoga is a combination of different body postures and breathing techniques. Practicing yoga for a few minutes every day help you to feel stress-free, relaxed and away from the migraine attack.
Hastapadasana or Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
Stand straight, arms by your sides, feet close to each other. Bend forward and down to your feet. Rest your hands on the floor. This pose rejuvenates our nervous system by increasing blood supply and also calms the mind.
Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
Lie on your back with knees bent, extend your arms with your palms flat on the floor and lift your pelvic region upward. Keep your head and shoulders on the floor.
Shishuasana (Child Pose)
This is the simplest postures of all the asanas. Sit down on your knees, bend your body over knees and stretch your hands out on the ground. It calms down the nervous system and reduces the pain effectively.
Marjariasana (Cat Stretch)
Bend down with your feet and both palms on the ground, just like table. Keep your arms straight and look frontward. Raise your chin, push your head back and your navel downwards as well as raise your tailbone. This pose improves blood circulation and also relaxes the mind.
Paschimottanasana (Two-legged Forward Bend)
Sit straight with your legs stretched out in front and toes bend towards you. Bend forward and stretch your arms towards your toes. Lift your head slightly and stretch your spine. This pose improves digestion, reduces headaches and cures high blood pressure and infertility.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Bend down with your feet and both palms on the ground, just like table. Lift up your hips and straighten your elbows and knees forming a V-shaped posture. Touch your hands to the ground, head facing towards the knees and look forward to the navel. This pose improves blood circulation and digestion and reduces anxiety.
Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
Sit down with spine erect and legs stretched in the front. Cross both the legs at place it on opposite thigh. Ensure feet sole faces upwards and is close to the abdomen then place your hands on the knees in mudra position. This pose stimulates flow of energy in the body, relaxes the mind and eases headache.
Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
Lie on your back with your feet distance apart and allow your body to relax. This pose brings your body and mind to a meditative rest. You can end the yoga routine by performing Shavasana.
Tips for beginners to practice yoga for migraines
There are numerous types of yoga postures. It is important to analyze the postures that will be appropriate for you, keeping in mind your migraine record. Often, it is recommended that people with migraine issues should start from a gentle yoga session and eventually take it up to a moderate level. The range of gentle to moderate yoga mostly focuses on meditation and breathing postures, which is very effective to reduce the stress and relax the body.
Following are the pointers that every beginner should follow before joining the yoga classes for migraines:
- Share your migraine history with your yoga instructor on the first day itself.
- Avoid postures that strain your neck or shoulders.
- Let your instructor know if you experience increase pain in certain poses.
- Always keep yourself hydrated, carry a bottle of water to the class.
- Keep visiting the doctor to discuss any improvements or drawbacks you notice while practicing yoga.
Migraine is more intense than a common headache. The medical treatment of migraine is not the solution to problem. There are other preventive ways through which medication can be reduced such as arterial surgery, botox, nerve stimulation, antidepressants and so on. These methods may reduce the intensity of migraine but come with side effects. There is just one and only natural way, which has no side effects and only helps you to your fight ailments, YOGA.
Yoga is not an alternative to the medical treatment for migraines. However, the integration of yoga and medical treatment can prove to be an effective treatment mode. It stimulates your nervous system and allows your body to recover any type of stress. It enhances your ability to inhale more oxygen, improves your flexibility and postures, and decreases musculoskeletal tightness. Yoga for migraines is most beneficial when added to your daily health regimen.