Headaches are quite common and affect people of all ages. Depending on the cause and your medical history, headaches may be mild or severe.
If you happen to suffer from chronic headaches, then it could be a case of migraine. It is advisable to consult a medical physician and get a proper diagnosis.
Did you know that there are more than 10 different types of headaches?
This includes stress induced headaches, allergy or sinus, hormonal changes, dehydration, exertion and hypertension.
You could also try to alter your diet, sleeping patterns and include yoga in your daily routine.
Eliminating or reducing the consumption of products like caffeine and alcohol can lower the chances of what is known as trigger headaches.
Here are some of the triggers that could cause or aggravate your headache or migraine.
Allergies and allergic reactions
Bright lights, loud noises, flickering lights, smoky rooms, temperature changes, strong smells and certain odors or perfumes
Physical or emotional stress, tension, anxiety, depression, excitement
Physical triggers such as tiredness, jet lag, exercise
Changes in sleep patterns or irregular sleep
Smoking or exposure to smoke
Skipping meals or fasting causing low blood sugar
Hormonal triggers such as menstrual cycle fluctuations, birth control pills, menopause
Foods containing tyramine (red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and some beans), monosodium glutamate (MSG), or nitrates (like bacon, hot dogs and salami)
Other foods such as chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, banana, citrus, onions, dairy products and fermented or pickled foods
Medication such as sleeping tablets, contraceptive pills, hormone replacement therapy.
Yoga encourages a quiet and calm state of mind.
While the postures benefit you physically adding strength, flexibility and vitality to your body, you can also improve your mental well-being. By adopting healthier habits, you can regulate your lifestyle to avoid headaches altogether.
Practice these following yoga poses and pranayama techniques to reduce stress and anxiety which are major factors for headaches or migraines.
Sukhasana (Happy Pose)
Sit in an upright position with both legs stretched out in Dandasana.
Fold the left leg and tuck it inside the right thigh.
Then fold the right leg and tuck it inside the left thigh.
Place your palms on the knees and sit erect with a straight spine.
Slowly drop down on your knees.
Place your pelvis on your heels and point your toes outward.
Here, your thighs should press your calf muscles.
Keep your heels close to each other.
Do not place the toes on top of the other, instead right and left must be next to each other.
Place your palms on your knees facing upward.
Straighten your back and look forward, and hold this asana for a while.
Begin by standing straight with your arms by the sides of your body.
Bend your knees, lower your pelvis and place it over your heels.
Ensure that your feet remain flat on the floor.
You may either place your palms on the floor beside your feet or join them in front of your chest in a gesture of prayer.
Spine remains erect.
To practice the following breathing exercises, you can sit in Sukhasan, Ardhapadmasan or Padmasana.
Choose a comfortable position and straighten your back. Close your eyes, and place your palms on your knees facing up (in Prapthi Mudra).
Maintain this awareness on your posture and focus on your breathing.
You may begin by practicing these breathing techniques for five minutes a day and gradually increase it with time.
Shanth Bhastrika Pranayama
Inhale and fill your lungs with air, and exhale completely. The inhalation and exhalation should be done in a 1:1 ratio.
For example, if you breathe in for 6 counts, you must take 6 counts to exhale.
Place your thumbs on the 'Tragus', the external flap outside on your ear. Place your index finger on your forehead; your middle finger on the Medial Canthus and ring finger on the corner of your nostril . Inhale and fill your lungs with air, and as you exhale, slowly make a buzzing sound like that of a bee, i.e., “mmmmmmm….” Keep your mouth closed the entire time.
Inhale deeply and fill your lungs with air. While exhaling, form a circle with your lips and chant "Om" for as long as you can.
If you are a beginner to yoga, then it is recommended that you start slowly. With regular and committed practice you will soon be able to experience the positive changes in yourself.
Yoga effectively transforms the mind and the body to remove stress, anxiety, depression etc. Yoga is a powerful transformative tool for your overall health and wellness.
To mark International Yoga Day on June 21st, Yoga Guru Grand Master Akshar has launched a 21-day campaign to help people maintain physical as well as mental wellness from the confines of their homes with the help of Yoga.
The campaign titled ‘Chalo Abhyas Badhayen’( चलो अभ्यास बढ़ाएँ).
The 21-day campaign was launched on 1 June and has already witnessed the participation of millions of people seeking holistic wellness from different parts of the world.
(Grand Master Akshar, an internationally acclaimed Yoga Master, Philanthropist, Spiritual Guru, Lifestyle Coach, Author. He has trained some renowned sports people of India, including cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and Matthew Hayden, and wrestling champions and sisters Geeta & Babita Phogat.)