Thursday, December 13, 2007

Yoga for Migraines

Stretching, breathing, bending—none of these activities sound good to a migraineur in the throes of a headache, but they should.

Yoga is a physical and psychological discipline originating in India. Most modern yoga practiced in the West is hatha yoga, which is primarily concerned with asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), and meditation. Yoga is an excellent way to relieve stress, a common migraine trigger, and tone the body. Being active in a regular, low impact fitness program helps many migraineurs reduce the frequency and severity of their headaches. This makes yoga a good fit for migraineurs who want both less headaches and less pain medication in their lives.

As with any fitness plan, migraineurs need to consult their doctor before beginning a yoga regimen. Home fitness videos and books are great resources for beginners, but should not be the only resources a migraineur uses when starting yoga. Many poses may actually increase the likelihood of headaches. Migraineurs who are seriously planning to take up yoga as a complement to their migraine treatment plan should make an appointment with a skilled yoga instructor to discuss their condition and what poses are appropriate. If they have a book, they should bring it to the appointment to review with the instructor.

For migraineurs who are thinking about taking up yoga to help ease their symptoms, but are not ready to commit to spending money on it there are some great free resources on the web relating specifically to yoga for migraines.