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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Use Yoga To Get Headache Relief

By Jaks Lloyd

Well, I think that most people do, if only occasionally, mainly because of our hectic lifestyles and associated stresses.

It's all too easy to reach for the pills but why put what is effectively poison into your body if you can help it.

If your headaches are frequent, the wisest move is to consult your doctor but if they are only spasmodic then are some very useful yoga exercises that could help to drive the stress away. As soon as you start to feel a headache coming on, and obviously if it is convenient, you should begin the following yoga exercises. Any delay will make the headache more difficult to alleviate.

Yoga Position No. 1 - Balasana (Child's Pose)

Kneel down and with your feet touching each other, sit back onto your heels. Spread your knees apart as wide as your hips. Breathe in and then breathe out and while you do so lean forward so that your body is as close as possible to your thighs. Stretching out your arms, turn your palms upwards. Relax your shoulders to the floor. You should be able to feel a stretch between your shoulder blades. Stay like this for 30 seconds to a few minutes. Slowly and gently lengthen your body and breathe in and come up.

Yoga Position No. 2 - Downward Facing Dog

Kneel with your hands on the floor just in front of your shoulders, palms spread and facing forward, knees below the hips and the toes under and forward, feet slightly apart. Inhale slowly and start to lift up your knees and heels. As you do so round the tailbone away from the pelvis and by pushing forward with the hands raise your bottom towards the ceiling and tuck the top of your thighs into your groin area. Exhale slowly and as you do so straighten your legs until the knees are only slightly bent at the same time bringing the heels back into contact with the floor. Tense the muscles of the thighs and press lightly inwards. Gradually straighten the arms using the fingers for leverage, and then close the shoulder blades against each other, slight pause before widening them and push them down towards your bottom. The back will then become straight or slightly concave. Control your head as it stays between your arms, don't just let it hang loosely. Inhale and hold for 1-2 minutes then bend the knees slowly to the floor back to the start position exhaling as you do so.

Yoga Position No. 3 - Standing Forward Bend

Stand in a relaxed position with your hands on your hips. Breath in and out, as you exhale bend forward slowly from the hips. Imagine that your body is lengthening as you lift upwards. Keeping your knees as straight as you are able, place the palms of your hands on the floor either in front of you, besides your feet or at the back of your ankles. Breathe in and lift and lengthen your body slightly, breathe out and release a little more into the pose. Relax your head completely and stay in the pose for 30 seconds to one minute. To come up, place your hands on your hips, breathe in and straighten your spine slowly.

Yoga Position No. 4 - The Bridge Pose

Lie flat on the floor, preferably on a yoga mat. If, required, support your neck with a folded towel or similar. Bend your knees, bringing your feet as close to your bottom as possible. Exhale slowly, pressing your feet and arms down onto the floor. Push your tailbone upwards and into the pubis, firm your buttocks and lift them off the floor. Balance by putting your hands onto your pelvic area. Keep lifting until your thighs are level with the floor. Keep your knees directly over your heels, but push them forward away from your hips. Lift up your lower hips and bring in and upwards towards your naval. Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to one minute, breathe out and release, rolling the spine slowly down onto the floor.

Any or all of these poses should help you to fight off your headache.