Yoga Poses for Migraine Relief

Migraines are a form of chronic pain that affects energy levels, professional lives, and personal relationships. Oftentimes, this pain prevents those who suffer from migraines from participating in the activities they enjoy. Through a mix of poses, breathwork, and meditation, a regular yoga practice can be beneficial to managing migraines.

What causes migraines?

Typical trigger points for migraines include stress, lack of sleep, as well as sensitivity to heat and sound. Sometimes, migraines can be so severe that they reduce productivity and decrease quality of life, which can lead to feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and depression.

While these symptoms may seem impossible to relieve in the moment, you may benefit from moving through a few yoga poses. According to a study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a regular yoga practice can help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine episodes.

Below are some poses we recommend to help alleviate migraine symptoms. You may hold these poses for as long as they provide comfort to you.

Poses for Relief

Downward Facing Dog

This energizing pose will open up your shoulders and release tension in your neck—a common cause of migraine pain. For less weight bearing on your shoulders and wrists, try lifting your pelvis up with the strength of your hamstrings. Breathing into this pose, actively use your head to extend and elongate the body, relieving any tension in the upper body.

For further modifications, our Downward Dog 101 tutorial with Margi Young offers ways to customize this pose to fit your needs.

Child's Pose

Becoming more aware of your breath, Child’s Pose can calm your nerves, encourage blood flow, and restore energy by allowing your body to rest. Sitting on your heels with your knees widened, draw your hips back as you melt your arms and forehead into the Mat. For a deeper stretch, feel free to walk your hands further forward or to the side.

In our Supported Child’s Pose tutorial, Zoe Ho offers modifications using props. One modification she provides is resting a yoga block under your forehead so that it is level to your chest. You can also place a blanket on top of the block or underneath the knees for increased comfort and support.

Bridge Pose

Unwind your hamstrings and quiet the racing mind in a grounding Bridge pose. As you lift your chest, you will release tension in the shoulders, neck, and upper body. Cognizant of your breath, you will become sensitive to pain points throughout your body. This is a great pose for neck strain, especially if you have been sitting for prolonged periods of time. You will feel refreshed and open.

Alana Mitnick offers variations in her Strong and Supported Bridge practice.

Corpse Pose

After you try these poses, ease into a meditative Corpse Pose. Commonly referred to as Savasana, you will become more aware of your breath and transcend into deep relaxation. In addition to this pose's restful qualities, Corpse Pose can alleviate symptoms of stress and calm your nervous system. Enjoy this Guided Savasana practice with Arturo Peal.

We hope these poses provide some relief the next time you experience a migraine. Let us know in the comments if these tips work for you.

Heather McPherson
About the Author

Heather McPherson

Heather McPherson is the Social Media Coordinator for Yoga Anytime. She is an avid musician, writer, and traveler, who enjoys practicing yoga regularly. She resides in Los Angeles, CA.


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