Now, I don’t know if it is the season changing (grumble) or Denver’s rather erratic weather, but my allergies (which, I rarely get thanks to these tips– yep, tooting my own horn) are out of control this fall. And along with the itchy eyes, sniffle-y nose, and over all rather surly demeanor, I have been getting headaches like it is nobody’s business. Now generally speaking, I have a number of remedies I use for headaches- my favorite is Traumeel (yay holistic medicine!) but my box of headache helpers tends to stay in my medicine cabinet. So, when I felt a migraine coming on when I was teaching at the studio I pulled out some yoga moves and the headache subsided!
I find it fascinating how interconnected the human body is. I love that you can begin to stretch and maneuver your stressed out shoulders, back, groin, etcetera and loosen up the tension that causes headaches. Also, complete side note: when I am way too lazy to re-dye my purple hair it turns platinum blonde. I look crazy- don’t mind me!
The following five yoga poses are great for when you feel that dull roar of a headache coming on. Another thing that might help that headache (okay, maybe not but it will make you smile) is prAna’s new fall line, which they so graciously sent me samples of. These pants are SO amazing for ladies with voluptuous derrières, they fit without puckering and the pockets are a fun detail that helps you show off just a bit!
I teach from the Five Fundamental Yoga Poses be sure to check them out especially Staff which i’ve used a few times here!
Simple but effective, a seated forward fold helps ease tension and facilitate release in your hips where we so often carry the bulk of our stress. Start in Staff Pose and allow yourself to ground. Inhale to create length in your torso and raise your hands above your head and then exhale and hinge forward at your hips, melting your head and heart towards your legs. Stop where it feels comfortable. Don’t feel like you need to have straight legs if it is uncomfortable, even with knees bent, this act of forwarding into yourself releases tension and stress, allowing a headache to ease away.
Child’s Pose is a restful pose, sequenced in between vigorous asana flows, at the beginning of class, or as part of a cool down. There is something so incredibly calming about folding into ourselves, hugging our body, and just being in the little womb like state of safety. Start by kneeling, big toes touching then sit back onto your feet. You can keep your legs underneath you or keeping your big toes touching widen your thighs to about hip’s distance apart. Inhale to create length and nestle your body in between your legs.
You can outstretch your arms in front of you, let them float back to rest beside your side bodies or for a wonderful stress relieving shoulder opener clasp them behind your back and let your hands drift off your back.
Start in Staff Pose. With an inhale, draw your right heel in towards your pelvic region letting the sole of your right foot rest on your left inner thigh and the outside of your right leg rest on the floor (or blanket). Grow length in your torso, the crown of your head reaching towards the ceiling, and then slightly pivot your torso so that your midline (think of drawing a line from the top of your head, down to your nose, then to your chin, breastbone, and belly button) is perpendicular to the line of your leg. Keeping your sits bones grounded hinge at your hips and fold your torso over your right leg, letting your arms reach as far down towards your toes as feels comfortable. Using a strap looped around your foot and one side held in each hand is a great way to evenly elongate the spine if your hands don’t reach your feet. Inhale to sitting and repeat on the opposite side.
Start in Staff pose and lower your torso to the ground so that you are supine with your arms beside you. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor so that your feet are stacked underneath your knees. Pressing your feet, legs, and arms energetically to the floor, begin to lift your buttocks off of the floor. Continue to lift until your buttocks and thighs are just about parallel to the floor, so that your body forms a straight line. Make sure that you keep your feet, knees, and thighs parallel to each other, keeping them from drifting apart. If it is accessible, clasp your hands behind your back so that you can focus on your shoulders grounding to the floor. Lift your chin away from your chest, and breathe deeply, allowing your chest to lift away from the floor. Carefully lower back down to the ground, starting with your chest, buttocks, then knees.
Start by grounding yourself in Staff pose- if you feel most comfortable on the edge of a folded blanket use one! I like to use my hands to pull the flesh away from my sit bones so I feel more grounded. Cross your shins, pull your legs towards your body and let your knees drift out to the sides, and place your hands on your knees or in your lap. You should be sitting in a comfortable, but tall and engaged seat. Bring your fore arms to touch, and lift your elbows so your upper arms become parallel with the floor. Bring your right arm underneath your left so that the elbows are stacked and the tops of your fore arms touch each other. You may leave your arms here or bring your right hand around your left wrist and let your palms touch. Unwind your arms and switch sides.
Generally speaking Savasana doesn’t need an explanation! Let yourself become comfortable on your back and take up as much space as you feel comfortable. Close your eyes, focus on breathing deeply, and let your stress melt away!
Do you have a go-to pose, remedy, or routine for when you feel a headache creeping in? Let me know in the comments below!