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Yoga for Headache (Migraine)

How does stress cause head ache?

Migraine is due to sudden constriction of the blood vessels on the surface of the brain under the skull followed by sudden expansion leading to a throbbing bust of ha. This is now known to be caused by an imbalance in the chemicals that circulate around these blood vessels just under the skull. Stress at the psychological level which is experienced as excessive activity in the emotional cortex of the brain triggers this chemical imbalance which in turn leads to constriction followed by widening or expansion of the blood vessels.

According to the understanding by the yogis this condition is related to wrong life style that leads to a habit of speeded up activity in the emotional part of the mind. This results in a fixed bad habit of getting stuck in that speeded up loop of thoughts. This in turn causes an imbalance in the prana that is responsible for the harmonious functioning of the entire organism. This can only be detected as an irregular rate and rhythm of breathing and speeded up heart. When the life style of speed and greed continues for some more time this imbalance of the prana settles down as a new learnt habit of creating the chemical imbalance in the brain blood vessels resulting in headache. Why does this generalized response of stress to demanding situation settle down as aha and not any other health problem? This is because of the family tendency. It is well known that there are many persons in the family of a migraine patient who suffer form migraine.


STAGE - I (Forward and Backward Rolling)

Sthiti : Vajrasana
Bend the arms & place the top of the head on the floor.


  • Inhale. while exhaling carefully roll the head forward until you feel a gentle stretch along the back of the
     neck. Hold for a while.

  • Then, while inhaling roll the head backward until the forehead touches the floor.

  • This is one round. Rock back and forth in this way five rounds.

Note: (For all the four Stages)

  • While doing these practices, you must be well supported by the hands.

  • Avoid these practices when you have severe neck pain or any other severe neck pain or nay other severe neck problems. You can do it after the pain subsides.

  • Recognize the stretch and the relaxation of the neck muscles during each of the practices.

  • Feel the gentle massage of the surface region of the head and the forehead during practices.

  • You start with the top of the head (or the crown) on the floor only in case of forward, backward rolling. In rest of the cases, you start with the forehead on the floor.

  • Ensure that each of them knows the correct way of drawing a star and then only give practice of "Star Movement"

  • While doing any of these practices, the movement of the body should be quite free and comfortable so that the attention is not distracted.

  • Synchronize breathing with head movement wherever breathing is involved (i.e., in Stages - I and Stage II)

This article has been written by Dr. R. Nagarathna, Dean, Division of Yoga & Life-sciences, SVYASA
This article is published online courtesy
and Arogyadhama

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