9 Yoga Poses for Tension Headaches

I tend to get tension headaches more often than migraine headaches. This is because my stress levels are usually through the roof.

I haven't been really able to just catch a break in the last three years.  I feel like I'm on top for a day and then thrown under the bus the next.

While I'm not a yoga teacher, I hope to one day have the strength and pain control to do the training, I always turn to yoga first to see if there are any asana that can help before taking medicine. There are some of the poses I found.

9 Yoga Poses for Tension Headaches

1. Parsvottanasana Arms: Opening the Chest

Right Arm on Top

Left Arm on Top

Sitting in easy pose, propped up on a blanket or bolster. Grab opposite elbows (if you can) and stretch gently.  Hold for 30 seconds. Switch the cross (defined as switching which leg and which arm is on top) and put the opposite arm on top. Hold for another 30 seconds.

2. Garudasana Arms: Opening Between the Shoulder Blades

Stay sitting in easy pose. Hold your arms out.

  Swing your arms toward the body crossing one arm under the other and pull down.

Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat switching the cross. This is what it looks like all together.

3. Gomukhasana Arms: Stretching the Shoulders

Stay sitting in easy pose. Reach up with one arm and back with the opposite arm.

Grab hands behind your back.

Pull elbows away but keep your hands locked. Sit up out of the ribs and breathe. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch the cross, and put the opposite arm on top. Hold for another 30 seconds.

If you cannot reach, use a belt or a strap.

4. Simple Seated Twist: Relieving Strain in the Back, Rotating and Stretching the Neck

Sitting on a block if you need to, pull the left foot toward the right hip on the floor.  Bend the right leg. Place your right hand behind your back and extend your spine up. Gently and slowly put your left elbow behind your knee and twist to the right. Switch the cross and do the opposite side. Hold 30 seconds - 1 minute.

5. Supported Child's Pose: Resting the Upper Back and Releasing the Neck Hold for 1 - 3 minutes and move directly into...

6. Supported Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog): Deeply Stretching the Back, Shoulders, and Legs. Hold 30 seconds - 1 minute.

Moving gently from Child's Pose to Downward Dog

7. Supta Baddha Konasana: Passively Opening the Chest, Releasing Tension From the Neck

Place your bolster or about 4 tri-folded beach towels vertically behind you.

Sitting with your feet together slip the strap over your body and low on your hips.  Tuck the other end of the loop under your feet but over your knees. Tighten the strap

Using your arms to lift yourself up gently tilt your pelvis to the sky. Slowly lower down and even slower lean back on your bolster.

Using the strap here to help release the outer hip and inner thigh. Use blocks under your knees if you need the support.

This is what it looks like all together. Hold for 1 - 3 minutes.

8. Viparita Karani: Inverting the Blood Flow and Calming the Mind

Put your bolster about 3 fingers away from the wall, parallel to the wall. Facing the ground and on the far side of the bolster, place your bum right up on the wall. Now rotate your back down onto the bolster and bring your legs up the wall. Hold for 1 - 3 minutes. Breathe.  Rotate off the opposite direction.

9. Savasana (Corpse Pose): Relaxing Completely

Legs and arms open. Shoulder blades tucked under and palms facing the sky. Relax 3 - 5 minutes.