What a Headache!

Do you have a headache?  Sinus?  Migraine?  Tension?  A Cold?  There are few things as temporarily debilitating as a pounding headache.  In conversations with friends, it seems like people who get migraines have been getting them recently, and allergy-spawned sinus headaches are striking my family and others.  Stuff blowing around in the air and a sudden change in humidity levels might be the culprits, but really, who cares about that?  What matters is feeling better.  Fast.

The poses below have been said to help prevent or reduce headaches.  Since we are all built differently, you may have more success with some of these than others.  I recommend trying them all when you do not have a headache first.  In each pose, breathe slowly and deeply while you hold the pose for a minute or two (or more if it feels nice for you).  Keeping it real in these photos, as you will notice by my "come as you are" presentation.  ;)


Balasana (Child's Pose)  This pose is an active restorative pose.  While you rest, you get a nice stretch in your low back (and since pain in the low back often accompanies a tension headache, there you go!) and just about everywhere else too. Kneel and widen your knees, bringing your toes close together.  Reach toward the ground and forward, arms straight, armpits long, fingers spread.  Rest your forehead comfortably on the ground or on a cushion as your hips reach back and onto your heels.  

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)  There is a reason this one is so common in almost every yoga sequence you've ever practiced.  A true inversion, down dog allows for the head to hang heavy and for a deep stretch to occur.  It also lets your neck relax, and tension in the neck often leads to headaches.  Yoga Journal calls this one the "ultimate all-over, rejuvenating stretch". I like this "how to" to get to all the foundation points you need.   

Uttanasana  (Forward Fold) Inhale your arms up overhead, and on the exhale fold forward at your hips, bringing your belly toward your thighs.  Hands may reach the floor or gently fold behind the calves.  Head hangs heavy without trying to touch the knees.  Breathe a few full breaths, and come out of the pose slowly, being mindful of not raising the head quickly to avoid dizziness.  You might even decide to go directly to Child's Pose from here.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana  (Supported Bridge Pose)  Support the flat part of your low back on a block or cushion.  Alignment cues are to set your feet hip's width apart, knees pointing up, shoulders gently tucked beneath you, and chin lifted away from your chest.  Notice that knees are behind my toes and thighs are not pitching in or splaying out.  A gentle inversion, this gets the blood flowing toward your head without going upside down.  There are numerous ways in which Setu Bandha Sarvangasana helps to give you a wonderful stretch, and just the act of strrrrrrretcchhiinngg out can help to chase a headache away.

Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall)  Sit with the wall up against one side of your body, and then lie down and turn your seat up to the wall.  This gets your bottom as close to the wall was possible.  Keep your spine neutral to keep the low back at the ground as much as you can.  This pose is accredited for helping you with whatever ails you.  It's categorized as an inversion pose, but it's gently restorative too.  The idea is to relax while in the pose.  With a weighted sandbag (maybe lavender scented) across your forehead and eyes, Viparita Karani can be even more effective.  

Savasana (Corpse Pose) - Check back a couple of weeks in the blog, where we practiced this one before.  Savasana is especially helpful if you've done something leading up to it to help you to relax.  Extend your slow, deep breaths in order to reap the full benefits of Savasana.  Try the lavender or unscented weighted bag like with Viparita Karani, and this might be the ultimate "make the headache go away" pose.  

I hope your upcoming week is peaceful.

And now a few newsworthy items:

  • Loyalty Cards:  Ten Full-Priced Classes will earn you one free class.  Take a card after your next class, and get started earning your freebie.
  • Referral Program:  An Active Sankulpa Yoga student will earn a $5 class for every person he or she refers to attend a class.  Just ask that new student to name you as a referral source.  (Psst....you can even refer people via social media.)  The only restriction is that you must have first attended a class yourself in order to qualify.
  • Monday's Lunchtime Yoga at Noon is canceled this week.  I apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience while I work out the kinks in the schedule.  If you were really looking forward to a lunchtime practice this week, please contact me, and I will schedule something with you.  
  • Sankulpa Yoga would love to offer classes to your group at your group's chosen time and location.  Maybe your work place would like a lunchtime yoga?  Let me know and we can schedule it.  Perhaps your running group would like pre- or post- run yoga at the beginning or end of your route?  Sounds like fun.  Let me know.  (I might even run with you!)  Whatever group wants yoga, I am in!