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Conversations from the Mat

Top Five Yoga Poses to Halt Headaches by Rebecca Bardell

Yogawoman - Thursday, September 06, 2012
Headaches are no fun, and most people get them from time to time. Others get them to an extreme or on a daily basis. While Tylenol or other medications may take away the pain, I am in favor of using yoga poses before turning to pills. Yoga is a great way to halt headaches, and these five poses (asanas) are excellent for stretching the areas, such as the neck, shoulders and back that can become tight and cause headaches.

#1 Seated Neck Release
"Oh, you pain in the neck!" You've heard the expression, but sometimes headaches really can be caused by neck pain. If that is the case, the seated neck release will loosen this area and alleviate aches.

#2 Grounded Tipover Tuck
If tension in the shoulders is the cause of your headache, than the grounded tipover tuck is the yoga pose for you. This pose is similar to the child's pose, but it focuses on stretching the shoulders and back of the neck; whereas, child's pose stretches the ankles, hips and upper legs.

#3 Seated Heart Opener
The seated heart opener is the opposing pose to the grounded tipover tuck. While the grounded tipover tuck elongates the back of the neck, the seated heart opener lengthens the front of the neck and the chest. This asana will take pressure off of the head, making it feel as light as a feather.

#4 Quarter Dog
The quarter dog is simply a more tranquil form of the downward-facing dog. Rather than supporting your upper body with the hands, this adaptation allows you to rest on your forearms. Sometimes, allowing blood to go to the head is enough to relieve a headache, so be sure to allow your head to rest in a downward position between your upper arms. Take slow, full breaths while in quarter dog, allowing your body to melt into this relaxing asana.

#5 Happy Baby
The happy baby stretches the back of the spine, making it great for headaches caused by back pain. If you get tension headaches, this pose alleviates anxiety and stress, making it the perfect pose to happily halt your headache. Those with neck injuries should be extra cautious when performing this yoga pose by resting their head on a bulky blanket.

Next time you have a headache, try one or all of these yoga poses before reaching for the pain pills. You may find that you can stretch and relax your headache away without the use of medication.



Rebecca Bardell completed courses in Medical Terminology, Administrative Medical Assisting, and Coding and Billing. She is recognized by the National Healthcareer Association as a Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) and Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA). In addition, Rebecca is a former gymnast and is avid about yoga, swimming and other athletic activities. Follow her on Twitter @RebeccaBardelli.

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