Yoga may help reduce the frequency of migraines. Migraines are painful, chronic headaches that can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. Migraine causes vary by individual but, for some, stress may be a trigger. Yoga is most effective as a preventative measure, because movement, especially inversions, can make migraines worse. During a migraine, the best poses are restorative poses, which allow the body to rest and quiet the mind. All of the restorative poses featured can be done on a bed or the floor.
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Preventative Pose -- Wide-Legged Forward Bend
Stand with your feet one leg length apart. Bend forward at your hips and place the palms of your hands on the floor. Rest the top of your head on the floor and relax into the pose. If you are unable to reach the floor, you can rest your head on a chair or bend your knees to assist the stretch. Hold the pose for 10 to 20 seconds.
Preventative Pose -- Downward-Facing Dog
Start on your hands and knees, with your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Lift your hips toward the ceiling so that your body forms an inverted V. Press both heels and the palms of your hands into the floor. Hold the pose for 10 to 20 seconds, then release back to your hands and knees. Repeat if desired.
Preventative Pose -- Extended Puppy Pose
Start on your hands and knees and extend your arms forward and lower your forehead to the floor. Your hips should be in the air, and there should be a slight arch in your back. Hold the pose for 10 to 20 seconds, then release back to your hands and knees. Repeat if desired.
Restorative Pose -- Legs Up the Wall Pose
Lie on your side, approximately 5 inches from a wall, with your hips facing the wall. Turn over onto your back and extend your legs up the wall. You should be able to relax and have your legs remain upright without any effort. If not, then adjust your position until your legs stay in place on their own. If needed, support your neck with a pillow or stack two folded blankets under your lower back. Rest your arms at your sides or on your belly. Cover your eyes with a cool compress or an eye pillow. Relax into the pose for up to 10 minutes. To release, roll onto your side and sit up.
Restorative Pose -- Reclining Bound Angle
Sit with your legs extended and bring the soles of your feet together, making a diamond shape with your legs. Support your knees with pillows if the stretch is too intense. Lie back and rest your hands on your belly. Cover your eyes with a cool compress or an eye pillow. If needed, support your neck and lower back with pillows. Relax into the pose for up to 10 minutes.
Restorative Pose -- Corpse Pose
Lie on your back with your legs extended and your arms relaxed at your sides. If needed, support your lower back and neck with pillows. Cover your eyes with a cool compress or an eye pillow. Relax into the pose for up to 10 minutes.