Helpful exercises: This is how yoga helps against headaches and migraines

Helpful exercises: This is how yoga helps against headaches and migraines

Yoga as a therapy for headaches and migraines: If you don't want to constantly resort to medication for physical problems in the head area, you can find what you are looking for in the large treasure trove of yoga exercises when looking for alternative treatment methods.

Headaches and migraines often arise from poor physical posture and stress at work and in everyday life. The so-called tension headaches originate from the tense muscles in the shoulder and neck area.

Under certain conditions, yoga helps against headaches and migraines. In the best case scenario, you should talk to your doctor or a very experienced yoga teacher in advance about how to carry out the exercises correctly. Here we will show you some asanas (yoga exercises) and pranayamas (breathing techniques) that you can use to combat tension headaches and migraines.

How can yoga help with headaches?

If you want to use yoga therapeutically, the main focus is on relaxation. By gently practicing asanas and pranayamas, you release tension and promote oxygen supply and blood circulation in your body. Blood pressure is regulated and metabolism is stimulated.

Yoga for headaches is particularly effective if you practice regularly. With a daily yoga practice in which you integrate the following exercises, you can achieve a preventative effect.

There are many physical exercises in yoga that stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (= resting nerve or recovery nerve, as it is used for metabolism, recovery and the development of the body's own reserves) and thus have a calming effect on your nervous system. This happens, among other things, through the slight stretching and increased muscle activity. The activity of the sympathetic nervous system ( the sympathetic nervous system prepares the organism for physical and mental performance), on the other hand, is reduced and your stress resilience increases.

Many of the breathing exercises and meditation techniques have a similarly effective - and, above all, long-term - effect. It is not for nothing that many health insurance companies now see yoga as a health-promoting measure and contribute to the costs of courses.

Asanas: Simple yoga exercises for headaches and migraines

It is important that you do not overtax yourself or your body. Therefore, start the exercises as gently as possible to find out what helps you with the pain. If you notice that the exercise in question is good for you, you can slowly increase the intensity.

If you already have yoga experience, you can usually practice alone at home without any concerns. If you are a yoga beginner, it is best to seek advice from an experienced yoga teacher.

We will now show you some asanas that can help relieve headaches and migraines.

  • Child’s Pose – Balasana

    Balasana – the child’s pose – has a calming effect. If you manage to sink deeply into the exercise, this will relax the muscles in your back, neck and shoulders.

    You begin the exercise sitting on your heels. As you exhale, bend forward and place your forehead on the mat. Your arms lie relaxed next to your body, palms facing upwards. Your shoulders sink toward the floor, gently stretching your shoulder blades. If you want, you can also rest your head on a pillow or yoga block during the exercise. Alternatively, you can extend your arms forward or spread your knees further apart to create more space for your upper body between your legs. Child's pose
  • Cat – Majariasana

    The cat helps to relieve tension in the back. At the same time, you can strengthen all your back muscles with this asana and thereby prevent tension headaches.

    You start with the position on all fours. Make sure your wrists are under your shoulder joints and your knees are under your hip joints. Inhale in preparation, as you exhale, arch your back upwards and pull your chin towards your chest. With the next inhalation you come back to the neutral position. You can do this exercise a few times at your own breathing rhythm.
  • Downward Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana

    The downward dog has a calming and stress-reducing effect. On a physical level, it relieves headaches and activates the circulation.

    From the child's position you go into a four-legged position. From there, push your hips further up into Adho Mukha Svanasana so that your buttocks are the highest point of your body. Make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart on the mat and your fingers are spread wide. Your feet are hip-width apart. Feel free to bend your knees slightly to keep your back as straight as possible. You can either practice the dog dynamically or stay in the position for a few deep breaths. It's best to relax in the child's position afterwards. Downward-Facing Dog

Pranayama – Prevent headaches with breathing exercises

If you are plagued by headaches or migraines, in addition to asanas, meditative breathing exercises that stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system can help you. Due to the calming effect on the nervous system, the following pranayama exercises can help with current complaints.

You can usually do light breathing exercises on your own at home without any concerns. To practice, it's best to sit in a comfortable position where you can keep your back relaxed and straight. You are welcome to sit on a chair to do breathing exercises against headaches and migraines.

  • Deep abdominal breathing

    Deep abdominal breathing is a simple but effective yoga exercise for headaches and migraines. For the exercise you can position yourself comfortably on your back or sit in a sitting position that is comfortable for you. Place your hands on your stomach so that your fingertips touch your belly button. Breathe deeply for four seconds and feel your abdominal wall rise. If you can, hold your breath for four seconds and then breathe out very slowly and consciously for four seconds. Feel your abdominal wall sink back down. Repeat the exercise a few times

  • Nadi Shodhana – alternate breathing

    Nadi Shodhana is said to have a cleansing effect. The breathing technique strengthens the cardiovascular system and stimulates the flow of energy in the body. You will find a comfortable and upright sitting position for alternate breathing. Bend the index and middle fingers of your right hand. Place your left hand relaxed on your thigh. Exhale completely and close your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril and then close the left nostril with your ring finger. Take a short breather break, open your right nostril and breathe out through that nostril. Then breathe in to the right, close your nostril and take another breather break. Then breathe out on the left and repeat the exercise.

Yoga is a very good way to integrate more relaxation into your everyday life and thus prevent headaches and migraine symptoms. Practicing asanas and pranayamas regularly is definitely a good addition to conventional treatments for migraines and headaches.