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Yoga For Migraine

Severe headache in a part of the head is known as migraine. It is a common condition which may or may not be due to an underlying disease. It lasts for a few hours and may not come back for months. It is triggered by lights, sounds and certain medications. Some women may experience migraine as a part of premenstrual symptoms i.e. discomfort just before the onset of their monthly period. Yoga intervention can ease an ongoing migraine attack and also control the severity of future ones. This article describes migraine, its causes and how yoga practices can be helpful in dealing with migraine episodes.
Yoga Tips For Migraine


Migraine is a condition of the nervous system whose most commonly known symptom is a headache in any part of the head. Migraine is thought to be just a headache but some people have a variety of symptoms accompanying a migraine, making it serious and causing far more discomfort than an ordinary headache. There can be surprising physical features that a migraine brings with it, such as visual appearances of light flashes and dark or bright spots in the view of the person. The occurrence of an episode of migraine is sometimes called an attack. A migraine attack makes a person unable to do any reading, cooking, driving, cleaning, etc. and all regular activities. An attack may last for a few minutes to a few hours. Sometimes migraines can be triggered or worsened by strong smells, loud noise and peculiar sounds.


  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Fainting
  • Throbbing pain in the head
  • Sensitivity towards light and sound
  • Food craving or aversion
  • Lack of energy
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Irritation / being annoyed
  • One can see visuals i.e. shapes or flashes of light and dark simultaneously.

Causes And Risk Factors

Various factors contribute to the development of any condition in an individual. Those could originate from one’s lifestyle or routine, or be triggered by their anatomical and physiological constitution. On this basis we see causes of a disease as lifestyle factors or physical factors. Also, some factors decide the severity and susceptibility of a condition affecting a particular individual. Those factors are known as risk factors.

  • Hormones, especially female hormones
  • Stress and Tension
  • Lack of sleep
  • Jet lag
  • Some medications
  • Certain foods
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Genetic factors
  • Hunger or starvation
  • Certain smells
  • Physical exertion


Migraines can themselves lead to some conditions, or they may signal that some other conditions are developing in the body, such as:

  • Tumors in the head
  • Any structural abnormality of the skull or the brain
  • Serious disorders of the cardiovascular system, such as a heart stroke

Yoga For Managing Migraines

Although there is no permanent cure for migraine, which is why we say that prevention is better than cure. But individuals with a history of migraines respond positively towards therapy. Some yoga practices that are specifically relaxing and beneficial for easing migraines and their symptoms are mentioned below. These practices improve controlled blood flow in the brain and therefore ease migraines. These should be performed on an empty stomach, or at a gap of at least three hours after a medium sized meal.

Adhomukha Shvanasana

  • Stand on your mat, or the ground with the feet normally apart.
  • Raise both arms straight above upwards.
  • Start bending forwards until the palms rest on the ground /mat.
  • Now move the palms forwards and keep the buttocks pointing upwards.
  • Your body should form a symmetrical triangle.
  • This is the final position, stay in this position for around 10 seconds.
  • Repeat thrice.


  • Sit on a mat or your bed by kneeling. The hips should rest on the feet.
  • Inhale while raising your arms straight up.
  • Start bending forward with the arms still extended.
  • Exhale, and keep leaning forward until your face touches the bed/mat.
  • Let the arms rest on the floor/bed.
  • This is the final position. Keep eyes closed and breathe normally in the final position.
  • Stay in this position for upto thirty minutes.


  • Sit on the mat or your bed with legs straight in front of you.
  • Keeping the spine straight, raise and straighten the arms.
  • Inhale while doing so.
  • Lean forward until you can hold or touch your toes.
  • Exhale.
  • Touch your knees with the chin.
  • This is the final position.
  • Stay in the final position for at least 10 seconds.


  • Lie on your back with arms resting on the sides
  • The palms should be facing towards the floor.
  • Bend both the knees and bring the heels close to the hips, the heels still resting on the mat.
  • Raise the pelvis off the mat, pushing the mat with the heels and the palms.
  • The line joining the neck and the knees should be straight.
  • This is the final position.
  • Exhale while reaching the final position.
  • Resume normal breathing in the final position.
  • Stay in the final position for upto 20 seconds.
  • This is one round. Practice upto ten rounds.


  • Stand on the mat or the floor with both feet equally sharing the weight of the body.
  • Keep the body relaxed yet firm and straight in a neutral position.
  • Deeply inhale and raise both the arms upwards.
  • Slowly start bending forward.
  • Bring the arms downwards until you can touch the toes.
  • Bend a little more and stay in this position for a few seconds.
  • Practice normal breathing in this position.


  • Lie down on your back on the mat or a carpet, or even your bed.
  • The body should be relaxed.
  • The legs should be spread slightly apart and the arms should lie at both sides of the body with the palms exposed.
  • Close the eyes gently
  • Breathing should be deep.
  • Shavasana should be practiced for as long as one wants.
  • It can be combined with Yoga Nidra.

Lifestyle/Dietary Tips

Adapting a lifestyle that cuts out the physical factors contributing to worsening of any condition multiplies the benefits of a yoga routine by several times. The following tips are extremely beneficial for everyone with any or all symptoms of all kinds of migraines.

  • Quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Eat a diet balanced in all components.
  • Avoid packed and processed food.
  • Drink enough water (8-10 glasses per day).
  • Do not expose yourself to extreme noise and loud sounds.
  • Do not over exhaust yourself.
  • Do not starve yourself.
  • Keep blood glucose levels in check.
  • Have a balanced and good quality sleep.
  • Do not consume too much tea and coffee.
  • Try adding sugar as much as possible.
  • Get eye check up done and use corrective lenses if required.


Migraine is not a disease but just a condition that responds well to therapy. It is better prevented than cured. However, ongoing attacks of migraines can also be effectively eased with some yoga practices. Such practices have been described in this article along with those that can strengthen the nervous system so that future migraines are reduced in number as well as intensity. The practices described here are generally safe for all individuals. However, those with multiple conditions and pregnant women should begin any regime after due consultation with a competent yoga therapist. The lifestyle modifications given here should be followed strictly since a treatment is effective only when combined therapy is given with all components – diet, exercise and routine.
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Author Bio:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor - Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan

Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan


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Reviewed By:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan


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