When Your Head Is Killing You, Try Flowing Through These 7 Soothing Yoga Poses

by Georgina Berbari
Originally Published: 

There's nothing worse than a pair of pulsing temples that are threatening to ruin your entire day. Whether it's caused by stress, bodily tension, PMS, or literally anything else, headaches sure know how to destroy a good mood or any sense of productivity in a matter of moments. If an Advil just isn't doing the job, and you don't have time to power-nap it off, there are are a few yoga poses for headaches that will diminish your pesky brain pain in no time.

Practicing certain yoga poses opens up your shoulders, neck, and spine, which helps release any unnecessary bodily tension that might be contributing to your headache, according to Shape. The stretching and lengthening done in a yoga practice also encourages blood flow to your head and provides soothing sensations above the neck.

Keep in mind, though, no matter how much you stretch, stress often plays a huge role in amplifying, or even inducing headaches in the first place. Engaging in deep, calming breaths through your yoga practice can help lift some of that tension, and pretty soon, your head might just stop pounding.

Of course, if your headaches are getting to the point of a chronic struggle, and it's not something that can be fixed by a soothing yoga sequence or over-the-counter meds, it's best to speak to your doctor about what treatment might work for you.

But if you're simply dealing with the occasional nagging headache, slowly sink into any of these seven yoga poses to help relieve the pain.

Child's Pose (Balasana)
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Bring your knees wide so that your chest and upper body can sink between them as you extend your arms far ahead of you. Lengthen your tailbone down toward the earth, and tuck your chin gently in toward your chest.

Breathe deeply and slowly, allowing child's pose to fully envelop you. Notice the sensations in your neck as the pounding in your head gradually becomes more and more distant.

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
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Downward facing dog encourages blood flow to your head and allows you to release tension throughout your body as you support yourself with the stability of your leg and shoulder strength.

If the pain in your head doesn't seem to budge after a few moments of breathing and finding stillness in this pose, consider grabbing a bolster, block, or pillow to support your head and relieve any additional tension.

Keep your ears level in between your arms, and focus on the luxurious stretch in your hamstrings while you pedal out your feet.

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
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Swaying gently back and forth in a standing forward bend calms the mind, relieving those heavy feelings of stress breath by breath, according to Yoga Journal.

Uttanasana is an extremely powerful pose, and you can modify it to fit wherever you are in your practice. If your hamstrings aren't quite open yet, you can bend your knees and rest your upper body on your thighs. If you want to bring more weight and release into the pose, you can straighten your knees and take hold of opposite elbows, allowing your entire body to drape down like a rag doll.

Head-to-Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana)
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Turning inward in a soothing head-to-knee pose will also help slow down any mental chatter taking up space in your mind that might be contributing to your headache.

Only take this asana as far as feels comfortable for your body, never pushing or forcing anything for the purpose of getting deeper into the pose.

Supported Reclining Hero Pose (Supta Virasana)
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While reclining hero pose is amazingly therapeutic on its own, adding blankets, blocks, bolsters, and pillows to the situation will feel like an absolute dream for both your body and mind.

Set up your area of support, and then release your body slowly into a nourishing and restorative supta virasana. Close your eyes and maintain even breathing as you allow the calming nature of the pose to wash over you.

Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

Bring a comforting viparita karani into your yoga practice when all you can think about is your pounding temples, when you know you need a few moments to just lay back and relax.

Legs-up-the-wall pose calms the mind and encourages you to let go of any stress or tension you're holding onto. It stretches the back of your neck, as well, which could be helpful if there's some pain there that's making your head pound.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)
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When all else fails, break out the adult version of a meditative power nap, by slipping into a tranquil and relaxing savasana.

Do a mental scan of your whole body, from the tip of your head to the bottoms of your feet, relaxing every area of your being as you slowly make your way downward in your mind's eye.

Allow any lingering tension to spiral away from your body, imagining any aching sensations drifting outward from your head like wispy clouds moving gracefully through the sky.

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