Much of the western world in the 21st century thrives on accomplishment, driven to achieve no matter what the cost. It’s no wonder that 45 million Americans experience chronic headaches or that 74 percent of the U.S. population has had tension headaches.
In her renowned book Relax and Renew, Judith Lasater called restorative yoga “the antidote to stress.” Not enough time in your day to practice yoga? Think again! Lasater wrote that, when practiced regularly, simple yoga postures can help reverse the effects of stress in a mere 5 minutes per day.
If you suffer from tension headaches and need to let off a little steam, take 5 to 15 minutes out of your day to practice these restorative yoga poses. You may be surprised at how “en-lightened” you feel!
Each of these yoga poses for headaches is ideally practiced for 5 minutes or longer. Practice them separately, or together for maximum benefit.
Supported Half-Dog Pose
This pose utilizes a table, desk or low countertop.
- With your bare feet hip-width apart and parallel, hinge forward from the hips, resting your upper body on the table. Your legs should be straight. If your body is not at a 90-degree angle, you can place a folded blanket or two underneath your torso for added support.
- Rest your forehead on the table with your arms stretched out in front of you, or rest your forehead on folded arms. Breathe slowly and steadily as your whole upper body rests on the table.
- Bend your knees a little, and let gravity support your legs. Lengthen your back and neck as you breathe out. Breathe steadily in the pose for several minutes.
- When you are ready to come out of the pose, bend your knees a bit deeper and use your arms to help you rise up to standing. Stand tall and take a few slow, deep breaths.
Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose)
This is a mild inverted pose. You will need a bolster and one or more folded blankets for support.