Yoga Remedy for Headaches
From the Desk of Katrina Sukola, Yoga Teacher… We’ve all felt it at one moment in our lives. An intense throbbing sensation or a dull ache like a vice is gripping your head. Almost everyone has suffered from tension headaches, migraines or other head pains.
Headaches may be triggered by any number of activities - prolonged computer or cell phone use, stress, caffeine, certain foods, smells or environmental situations. But posture can also play a role in head pain. Rounded shoulders, a curved upper back, or if your head protrudes slightly forward can all add to muscle tension that results in headaches. In fact, 75 percent of all headaches begin from muscle tension in the back of the neck due to poor posture. There are several yoga poses that can help ease the tension of some headaches. The next time you feel a throbbing in the back of your head, try these yoga poses for relieve:
Poses that open the chest, such as Salamba Balasana (Supported Child’s Pose) and Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) stretch and relax the upper back and neck. Place a block under your sacrum in bridge pose for a restorative variation, which has the added benefit of calming the brain and relaxing the shoulder muscles. Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose) is a cross between Child's Pose and Downward Facing Dog, and helps lengthen the spine and reduces tension in the neck. Forward folds such as Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend) can help a distracted mind unwind.
Other recommended poses include:
Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall pose)
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining bound angle pose)
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog)
Salamba Ardha Uttanasana (Supported half-standing forward bend)
Breathe deeply and slowly during all the postures, relaxing the forehead, eyes, jaw, and tongue. You’ll have the best results if you start stretching and releasing at the first sign of a headache. The next time you feel like being in a dark and quiet room with a pillow over their head to relieve your headache symptoms, try these yoga poses and let the tension melt away.
Katrina Sukola, Yoga Teacher
Katrina has had a lifelong relationship with movement. Dancing from a young age, including ballet and later studying other styles including flamenco and aerial dance. In 2001, she began exploring different styles of yoga such as Vinyasa, Restorative and Anusara yoga. Katrina completed her 200-hour certification with YogaWorks in 2010, training with master yoga teacher Natasha Rizopoulos. Her teaching is strongly influenced by this method, combining Ashtanga’s focus on connecting movement with breath and Iyengar’s attention to precise alignment. Other influences include her teachers Jillian Pransky, Barbara Benagh and Daniel Orlansky.
In both individual and small group settings, students will experience thoughtfully sequenced classes, cultivating body and mental awareness, and finding balance between effort and ease. Katrina teaches yoga for students to increase strength and flexibility while reducing stress and tension, calming both the body and mind. Through continuous practice, Katrina has experienced the powerful mental and physical benefits of yoga, both on and off the mat. Katrina teaches yoga throughout the Boston area and is a member of the dance company Round the Corner Movers. She continues learning and sharing this ancient practice of moving, breathing, and overall well-being.