Relieve Your Tension Headaches With These 5 Yoga Poses


If you suffer from tension headaches, you will know just how unpleasant and distracting they can be.  The constant throbbing pain can occur without warning, and can increase or decrease throughout its duration. This throbbing, gnawing sensation can seemingly settle in, lasting for hours or even days with little respite. If these headaches occur regularly, or refuse to budge, it can be a frustrating and painful time.

The Cause

There is often no one exact cause and fortunately, tension headaches are not hereditary which means isolating the trigger is a good step towards reducing them. Many people find that common factors as simple as the tightening of the muscles in the neck and scalp are responsible.

The nagging pain of a headache can quickly ensue thereafter, but there are other factors to consider, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Hunger
  • Depression
  • Emotional stress
  • Caffeine
  • Sinus problems
  • Colds or flu

External stressors can also play a part, including:

  • Work problems
  • Stress of a new environment
  • The birth of a new baby
  • Relationship problems
  • Starting a new job
  • Redundancy
  • Escalating workloads

If tension headaches are plaguing you, it’s best to try to isolate the cause. Poor posture can be improved fairly readily with yoga increasing your awareness of how you sit and stand.  Other triggers, once isolated, need to be improved or eradicated and the number of headaches and their severity should start to diminish.

It’s likely a number of factors could suddenly trigger off the first symptoms of a tension headache, with the pain escalating uncontrollably, leading to a decrease of concentration, impacting your ability to focus sometimes and even promoting feelings of nausea.

Yoga as a Solution

Rather than reaching for the painkillers, try yoga instead as the gentle postures with focus on the breath, can greatly improve the side effects associated with tension headaches. This can help to provide a clearer mindset aiding problem solving and improving a sense of well-being. Restorative postures can ease muscle stiffness of the neck and upper back.

Try the following postures at the first sign of a headache and you will start to feel the pain ease quickly:

The Cat Pose – Marjaryasana

The gentle arching of the spine back and forth in Cat Pose can help to release trapped tension from the spinal column and surrounding muscles. By focussing on the breath throughout, the flow of energy in body and mind can be increased.

Half Twist – Bharadvajasana 1

The half twist stretches the spine, hips and shoulders, while relieving neck pain, sciatica and lower back pain. It is an excellent gentle twist to help reduce tension and stiffness from the back and neck. Repeat on both sides to ensure overall flexibility.

Legs up the Wall Pose – Viparita Karani

This is a soothing posture excellent to help decrease tension and to ensure blood flow to the head area. It is ideal for anyone irrespective of flexibility and is a nurturing posture. It also serves to calm the mind.

Child’s Pose – Balasana

This is an excellent restorative pose that inverts the body just slightly allowing blood to flow towards the head more readily. For headache sufferers, resting your head on a pillow is beneficial and it is vital that the upper body is completely relaxed and supportive.

Alternative Nostril Breathing

This is a powerful but gentle way to reduce and eradicate the pain of tension headaches. It restores balance throughout and oxygen is greatly increased providing a sense of well-being and clarity.

Regular practice of yoga will help to keep the muscles in the shoulders and neck softer and more flexible and the benefits can be experienced in a number of days. Yoga also helps to ease the impact of stress upon the mind and body enabling you to be proactive at problem solving without feeling the increase of tension. Restorative yoga postures offer many benefits to a number of health issues, learn the postures well and your health will greatly improve as you tap into these simple but effective techniques.

Yogasync me! For even more poses that will help relieve those tension headaches, as well as tension in the neck and shoulders, click here:

Yoga for Headaches

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About Annette Young

Annette Young is a full-time writer now living deep within the tranquil countryside of the South of France. She has 11 books to her name including The Work-Place Stress Survival Guide. She is a qualified stress management, relaxation and addiction therapist with a passion for yoga, meditation and all things - natural health related. She has been teaching meditation for many years at yoga classes, workshops or at one to one sessions, she loves nature and is often seen power walking in the mountain foothills.

One Response to Relieve Your Tension Headaches With These 5 Yoga Poses

  1. Thanks for this, i think its incredibly useful for so many people having headaches. I looked at the YOGA FOR HEADACHES pink button…i had never even seen 5 of those poses before (with bolster and chair etc). THANK YOU! I love to try new stuff especially when its as simple as these. I also love doing a down dog if a slight headache is coming on to nip it in the bud :)