Vertigo is the feeling that you or your world is spinning -- making you feel dizzy and unbalanced. For many people, vertigo happens sporadically and infrequently. Vertigo is usually an inner ear issue stemming from calcium or fluid build-up or even a virus. Vertigo can also be caused by head or neck injuries and migraines. If you suffer from vertigo, yoga -- especially restorative yoga -- can help you feel grounded and balanced.
Modifications for Common Poses
Before starting any new exercise routine, you should discuss your vertigo with your doctor. If you experience vertigo from time to time, there are some modifications to common yoga poses that will keep you safe should you experience vertigo during your practice. First, practice close to a wall for stability with balancing postures. In forward-bending poses, make sure to stand or sit up slowly. Additionally, be mindful about the placement of your neck. Avoid looking up at your arm in poses such as Triangle or Side-Angle pose. Instead, look forward. Also, poses that have you flexing your neck, such back-bending poses, could cause you to feel dizzy. You may also want to avoid or modify poses such as Plow, Shoulder Stand and Bridge, as they can put pressure on your neck. Never hold your breath. If your vertigo persists stop your practice and come into Child's Pose.
Supported Child’s Pose
If you are in the middle of a vertigo attack, try restorative yoga poses. Supported Child’s Pose helps to relieve dizziness. For this pose, you’ll need a bolster or two to three folded blankets. Start in a kneeling position. Take your knees wide and place a bolster or folded, stacked blankets in between your knees. Fold your torso over the top of the bolster. Make sure your neck is in a comfortable, neutral position. If your knees hurt in this position, kneel on a folded blanket and try placing a rolled up blanket in between your calves and thighs. Hold this pose for up to five minutes.
Legs Up the Wall Pose
Legs Up the Wall Pose may benefit vertigo as it has mind-calming effects and can help with migraines. Variations of this pose use a prop to elevate your hips. However, if you are suffering from vertigo, you should avoid elevating your hips due to the potentially awkward placement of your neck. Practice this pose with your hips on the ground instead. To come into the pose, sit with one hip up against the wall. Work to roll onto your back, placing your legs up the wall. Relax your hands at your sides. Hold this pose for five to 10 minutes.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Reclining Bound Angle Pose helps induce relaxation and fight stress. The centering effects of this pose may help ease feelings of dizziness. For this pose, you will need two blankets. To start, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Bring the soles of your feet together and allow your legs to open to the sides. Place two, thickly rolled up blankets under each knee for support. Relax your hands at your sides. Stay in this pose for up to 15 minutes. This pose can also be done leaning back on a bolster or a stack of blankets.
- Department of Otolarynology/University of California: Vertigo
- Yoga Journal: What to Do About Dizziness During Yoga
- Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health; B.K.S. Iyengar and Daphne Razazan
- Yoga Journal: Supported Shoulderstand
- Yoga Journal: Legs Up the Wall Pose
- Yoga Journal: Reclining Bound Angle Pose