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Yoga Poses for Migraine and Headache Relief

8 min read
Yoga Poses for Migraine and Headache Relief

Migraine is a neurological condition that causes periodic headaches with moderate to high intensity. It occurs in one half of the head and lasts for anywhere between two hours to two days. During the headache, the patient may become exceedingly sensitive to light or noise. It could be prevented by avoiding the triggers of the condition.

Can Yoga Help With Migraines?

Since ancient times, India has been known for yoga that provides therapy to the mind and body. Yoga can treat the condition of migraine and reduce its intensity as well as frequency. This is possible through meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga poses for migraine.

As per studies, yoga asanas for headaches are known to promote mental well-being. These poses help recover from conditions of stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

To cure this condition, yoga poses for migraines relieve the stress areas of the body. It includes the neck, shoulders, and head that accumulate stress resulting in disorders such as migraine. Yoga for headaches releases this stress and hence reduces the effect of the headache.

Yoga is a natural process to cure migraine without hurting the body in the process. To be clear, yoga poses for migraine are not an alternative to treat migraine. However, practising yoga for migraine regularly lessens the impact of the same. Eventually, the condition may ease out and stop permanently.

How Do You Treat Migraine?

To treat a patient suffering from migraine, the sufferer has a number of medical solutions to relieve pain. Some of these medical treatments involve Occipital nerve stimulation, Beta-blockers, arterial or muscle surgery and many more.

All these treatments have certain side effects along with them. Hypertension, heart issues, and insomnia are some of them. One way to treat the condition is by preventing the activation triggers.

Medications that cure the factors of migraine such as stress, tension can be used. To cure the migraine effects, practising yoga for tension headaches is a natural remedy. The poses of yoga are easy to practise as below.

Yoga For Migraine

Yoga is an age-old Indian practice that is used for mind and body therapy. Hence, yoga poses are a great way to treat migraine. But which poses should you try?

To answer this question, listed below are some yoga asanas for headaches. They will help reduce the intensity and frequency of migraine. Practising these poses properly could prove beneficial to manage migraine. In case of doubt, you should always consult your doctor before practising the below-listed poses.

1. The Bridge Pose

Setu Bandhasana or the Bridge pose is useful for treating cases of anxiety. It is an inversion (blood flows towards the brain) pose that helps remove the stress hormones, as yogis believe, "opens up the space around the heart."

This provides mental relief. To carry out this pose:

  1. Lie down on your back with bent knees. Keep your feet and legs parallel to each other with hip distance apart.
  2. Move your buttocks and feet together, press your feet firmly downwards. Inhale deep and raise your hips from the pubic bone rather than the navel.
  3. Now hold both your hands together in a clasp under your back. As you broaden your collarbones, gradually rise higher on the support of your shoulders. Moving the upper thighs inwards, press the heels on the ground to raise the thighs higher. Ensure that you have the thighs parallel.
  4. To end the pose, exhale while you release your hands from the clasp. Lower them to the floor and slowly rest your back down on the floor. You will feel spaciousness within your chest. Allow your knees to sink down, and then slowly get yourself in an upright position.

2. The Child’s Pose

Shishuasana or the Child’s pose is especially useful for providing relief to the nervous system. It stimulates the tension points in your neck, back, and shoulders. This eventually promotes steady breathing and relaxes the body's sensory nerves. To practise this pose:

  1. Kneel down on the mat. Keeping your toes together, spread out your knees as far as possible. Now lower your buttocks onto your heels.
  2. Sit upright and allow your body to absorb this pose.
  3. Exhale slowly. After your exhale, bend down so that your head and chest come either on the top or between your thighs. Your forehead may rest on the floor.
  4. With the palms facing the ground, keep your arms extended.
  5. Hold this pose for a minute. This allows your neck and complete body tension.
  6. To end the pose, slowly raise yourself by pushing with your hands and upright on your heels.

3. The Downward Facing Dog

The Adho Mukha Svanasana, also known as the downward-facing dog, is a good yoga pose for migraine effects. It also helps in improving blood circulation to the brain. This is possible as the pose puts hips above your heart and heart on the above side of your head. The inversion helps facilitate blood flow. To practise this pose:

  1. Stand on your hands and knees. Now align your wrists beneath your shoulders and knees under your hips.
  2. Ease your upper back, and now stretch your elbows gradually. You will feel your weight distributing equally all over. Widen your fingers if needed and keep a firm hold on the ground.
  3. In this step, slowly raise your knees from the floor, keeping them steady. Ensure that they do not get locked or hurt.
  4. Lift your pelvis off and elongate your spine. Hold steady for about two minutes.
  5. To end the pose, gradually bend your knees. Rest on your hands and knees as you go down. Lie down with both palms open.

4. The Corpse Pose

Shavasana or the Corpse pose is the simplest pose of all poses. The pose relaxes your muscles, especially the lower back. Alongside, it also targets the abs, biceps, chest, calves, and neck, acting on the stress points. It helps in relieving joint pains, restores mental balance, and gives you a deep state of meditation.

  1. Lie down on the ground with your back completely relaxed.
  2. Move the arms to your side and let your legs spread out a bit. Relax and let your palms rest facing towards the ceiling.
  3. Hold this pose for anywhere between five minutes to half an hour. Light music may feel good in this pose. However, this varies from person to person.
  4. To end the pose, wiggle your toes and palms. Make movements along your spine to feel your back.
  5. Now roll on one side and stay steady for a moment. Then move to the upright position.

5. The Lotus Pose

Padmasana or the Lotus pose is another simple and effective pose for treating mental issues such as anxiety, panic, and insomnia. The regular breathing pattern empties the mind of tensions. It also relaxes the tight muscles and hence is a great cure to lessen the effect of headaches. To practise the pose:

  1. Sit upright on the floor with both your legs extended. Now bend your right knee to the side so as to cradle the right foot in your lap. Moving the right hip, guide your foot with your hand towards the left hip.
  2. Repeat the above procedure for the left knee. Ensure that your left foot is over the right foot.
  3. Now rest both the feet on your upper thighs and let your knees go loose towards the floor. Keep your ankles firm.
  4. Sit upright and elongate your spine. A soft base could help you stay upright for longer durations.
  5. Stay as long as comfortable. To end the pose, simply exhale and gradually let your spine bend.

6. The Cat Stretch Pose

Majariasana or the Cat Stretch pose helps the body relax and promotes blood circulation. This pose is known to improve focus by stretching dormant joints, stiff spine and activates your nerve extremes. It also relieves back pain. To practise the pose:

  1. As the name says, get on your hands and knees like a cat. Ensure that your arms are at 90 degrees to the floor. Your hands must be directly under your shoulder and palms flat on the ground.
  2. After ensuring that your knees are at hip-width, look straight in front and start Inhaling. As you do so, raise your chin, tilt the head backwards and now put an effort to raise your tailbone.
  3. Compress your buttocks. You might feel a tingling sensation by now. Hold the pose for a bit and take long, deep breaths.
  4. During the exhalation stage, do the countermove. Lower your chin up to the chest. Relax the buttocks and raise your back. Hold this pose until the next inhalation. Keep both movements steady for a few seconds before altering.
  5. Continue for about five to six rounds. Go slowly and steadily.

7. The Standing Forward Bend

Hasta Padasana or the standing forward bend yoga for headache relief is known to lower stress levels. Since your blood flows from your heart to the head, this gives a fresh supply of oxygen to the brain cells. This also helps relieve tense areas and ease the migraine pain. To carry out the pose:

  1. Stand upright with feet together. Inhale deeply and extend your arms over your head.
  2. Bend downwards so as to touch your feet with your palms while exhaling.
  3. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and continue breathing deeply.
  4. Now keep your legs and spine erect and place your palms beside your feet.
  5. Lift your hip, breathe deeply and bring your head towards your feet.
  6. To end the pose, bring your hands up, stand upright and bring your arms on your sides. Relax.

8. The Palming Pose

The Palming pose releases stress and helps you connect with your inner self. You will be able to pay more attention to your breathing. This pose can be practised anywhere. To carry out the pose:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position and practise deep breathing.
  2. During the exhalation stage, bring your palms close to your eyes and gently cup them. Shut off any light from entering the retina.
  3. As you inhale, remove the palms. Repeat this for as long as comfortable.

Also Read: 6 Yoga Asanas to Reduce Double Chin | Know More to Get a Chiseled Face


Adding yoga to your daily routine as an additional treatment to some medication for migraine may be beneficial. It does not ensure migraine treatment. However, practising it regularly could help in increasing the effectiveness of the treatment.

In case of doubt, always prefer speaking to your doctor first. Remember that yoga is not the one size fits all remedy. It may be beneficial to some sufferers, while some may not find migraine relief through yoga. Always make sure your body and mind feel comfortable while practising any yoga pose for migraine.

Other Ways To Prevent Migraine

Migraines could arise due to a number of causes. The question of how to avoid headaches has no specific answer. That is why, to prevent it and its effects, the following activities should be practised as preventive measures.

  1. Be conscious of your diet. Limit the consumption of alcohol, chocolate, and caffeine. These items may trigger a headache.
  2. Bright lights, sunshine, loud noise could lead to migraine triggers.
  3. Keep a proper schedule, sleeping patterns, proper eating habits, and sleeping schedule. Also, maintain sufficient exercise/cardio levels.
  4. Keep away from dust as it could irritate the nasal cavities, act as triggers for tension zones and hence activate migraine headaches. As per studies, there are higher odds of this during cold weather conditions.

Summing Up on Yoga for Migraine

There is no specific Know-For-Sure cure for migraine. To treat migraine, one could try and prevent the triggers of the same. For migraine patients, OTC medications, prescribed medications, transcranial medical stimulation (TMS), and acupuncture are available.

The practice of the above mentioned preventive medications alongside yoga is known to help in the treatment of migraine. As per studies, the practice of yoga therapy along with medication shows a visible reduction in frequency and intensity of migraine. Hence, yoga is good additional therapy for migraine patients undergoing medical treatment. Practising relaxing yoga poses that affect the neck, shoulder, and head are best for this purpose.


1) Is Migraine Curable in Ayurveda?

The effectiveness of Ayurveda in treating migraine is unproven. So one cannot completely rely on it for the cure. However, several treatments reduce the effects of the condition. Most ayurvedic doctors prescribe the following 5 tips for instant migraine relief.

  • Breathing exercises
  • Practising Yoga poses
  • Healthy eating
  • Meditation
  • Exercising sufficiently

2) Is Lemon Juice Good for Migraines?

Yes. Lemon juice could help treat the condition of migraine by acting upon its effects. Lemon juice is known to relieve fatigue and stress. Further, it is also rich in the mineral potassium, whose deficit may result in migraine headaches.

3) Is Migraine a Serious Problem?

When migraine is accompanied by auras (momentary impairment of visual or sensory sensations; dark or coloured spots, shimmering lights, limb weakness, etc.), it is a serious issue to worry about. It may be a sign of an increased risk of stroke. Consult your doctor if you experience similar symptoms regularly.