If you’re prone to headaches, you probably know some of the triggers, such as stress, lack of sleep, hunger, allergies, sinus problems or eye fatigue.
But have you considered that your posture, and lack of oxygen, could bring on your headaches?
Many people sit or stand with their shoulders rounded and their head forward, poor posture affects the respiratory system and blood circulation to the brain, which can cause muscle tension and result in headaches.
If your headaches arise from tension, then you might want to consider practising yoga.
Yoga helps relieve tension headaches by relaxing the muscles of the head, back and neck, boosting circulation to the brain and upper body as well as improving posture.
The best time to treat a headache is at the first sign of pain, before the muscles go into spasm. To reduce the number of headaches you experience, incorporate the following yoga poses into your daily routine.
Simple seated twist
How to do it? Simple, sit up straight on the edge of a chair, plant your feet firmly on the floor, press your buttocks down into the seat of the chair, cross your right leg over the top of your left leg just at the knee, hold your right arm to the back of the chair and your left hand to your right knee, turn your belly to the right with an exhalation, keep your shoulders down and your chest open, relax your eyes, jaw and tongue, hold for 10 seconds breathing evenly, return to centre and repeat on the opposite side.
Holding opposite elbows
To do this, stand with your feet firmly planted on the floor hip width apart, lock your elbows behind your back, if you have more flexibility, place your palms behind your back, fingers facing up, relax your eyes and jaw, hold for 10 seconds breathing evenly.
Gomukhasana or Cow Face Pose
To do it sit with your legs firmly planted on the floor, raise your right arm in the air next to your right ear, bend your right elbow, place your right hand behind your back, the palm should face your back and place it between your shoulder blades, then bring your left arm behind your back and come up to grab the right hand, if your shoulders are tight, use a yoga belt or a loop between your hands, hold for 10 seconds breathing evenly, release and repeat on the opposite side.
To do this, wrap your arms around your torso, with your right arm under your left arm, hugging yourself, raise your hands, so that your left elbow rests on your right elbow, turn your hands and palms should face each other, relax your eyes, jaw and shoulder blades, hold for 10 seconds breathing evenly, release and repeat with your left arm under your right arm.
To perform this stretching pose sit on the edge of a chair with your feet hip-width apart, plant your feet firmly on the floor, raise your arms to the side of your head, grasp your left wrist with your right hand, on an exhalation, gently stretch to the right, pulling your left arm and wrist with your right hand, press your weight to your left buttock, hold for 10 seconds breathing evenly, return to centre and repeat on the opposite side.
Extended Side Angle Pose
This pose is very familiar, even to non-yogis, as most people who have worked out, either through cardio or weightlifting, have probably done or seen this move.
How to extend the side angle? Simple, start with your feet about three feet apart, anchor your heel and turn your left foot about 45 degrees, as long as you can stay flat and connected to the floor.
Rotate your right foot 90 degrees and feel the external rotation of your right thigh, your hips will slowly take unnecessary pressure off your lower back.
Slowly bend your right knee to form a perfect 90 degree angle, you must be very sturdy, keeping your knee directly over your right foot to ensure the safety of the knee, feel the connection between both feet, lift your torso and extend it, bring your arms up with palms at shoulder height resembling a warrior two pose.
Take a deep breath in and on your exhalation bring your right hand to the floor on the inside of your right foot, if this is too hard then bring your right elbow to rest gently on your right thigh and if the original direction is too easy, bring your right hand to the floor on the outside of your right foot.
The key to this posture is not to collapse your body keep it straight while positioning, try to think of your body on the right side as being as long as your body on the left side.
Next, take your left arm, lengthen it and bring it over your head, the angle of the left arm should be a continuation of the angle you have created with your left leg extended in a nice long line, hold and breathe, Extend then switch and do it on the other side.
The benefits of the extended side angle are enormous, done correctly and consistently, the most notable benefits include, strengthening and stretching the legs, knees and ankles, stretching the groin, spine, waist, chest, lungs and shoulders, stimulating the abdominal organs, increasing stamina, increasing respiratory capacity, establishing stability in the legs.
This pose is a great pose for building critical leg strength, it is important for building your yoga practice and is a great transition when you are planning a flowing vinyasa practice, the extended side angle helps the practitioner build tremendous strength in the spine.
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