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Yoga and Headaches

For some, headaches and migraines are a regular occurrence and can be debilitating. Although everyone is different, current research indicates that yoga might just help.

Some headaches can be caused by:

Dehydration Hunger Improper breathing Over exertion Stress

Bright lights Loud noise Sleep deprivation Improper Posture Tension

Tight muscles

Extensive research has shown that yoga may have the ability to:

  • Relieve stress. Yoga can reduce stress, a common trigger of headaches and migraines.

  • Promote better sleep. Sleep deprivation could worsen or cause headaches. The stress relieving effects of yoga can help you get better sleep.

  • Improve posture. Poor posture may contribute to head pain. Practicing yoga can benefit your posture and alignment.

  • Reduce musculoskeletal tightness. Muscle tension in your upper back, neck, and face can trigger headaches. The relaxing movements of yoga may help loosen these muscles.

Here are a selection of postures that are designed to gently stretch and open the areas in the body (such as you neck, shoulders or back) and circulate blood to the head. Next time you have a headache, take a detour from your medicine cabinet and give your yoga mat a try instead.

Childs Pose:

Child’s pose is a great way to release tension from the upper body and open up the shoulders, back, and spine, which can increase blood flow to the head. In addition, resting the forehead on the ground activates pressure points in the forehead that can relieve migraines and headaches.

Forward Fold

By allowing the head to bow towards the earth and letting go of all tension from the neck and spine, the gentle hug from gravity can help with headache pain, and create space in the neck and shoulders.

Downward Facing Dog

Because the heart is above the head in this pose, downward dog is a type of inversion. That means that it can reverse blood flow, causing a rush of freshly oxygenated blood to the brain.

Legs up the wall

Legs up the wall is an incredibly restorative pose. Blood flows in the opposite direction—towards the brain. And the more blood and oxygen in the brain, the less painful headaches might be.

Bridge Pose

One big reason for migraines? Holding tension in the shoulders and neck. Bridge pose relaxes the upper body and can increase blood to the brain as the heart is lifted above the head.


When you’re in savasana, the entire body is completely relaxed, supported by the ground below. That release can help reduce migraines, along with the deep breathing that accompanies this pose, which increases oxygen to your brain.

As you practice these poses, make a conscious effort to take deep breaths that start in your diaphragm and fill up your lungs. This will help get plenty of fresh oxygen circulating through your blood and in turn, help to relax you.

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