Headaches occur for a number of reasons, from stress and hunger, to a lack of sleep and dehydration. Even poor posture, allergies and eye strain can cause tension headaches in millions of people every day. In various yoga forums, new members often complain about headaches after their first yoga session. Does this complaint warrant further investigation into yoga as a potential cause of headaches?
Examining Yoga and Headaches
Headaches come in two forms: tension and migraine. Tension headaches result from contracting head and neck muscles, due to depression, fatigue, varying hormone levels and other factors. Migraines occur due to hormonal fluctuations, chemical imbalances, stress and even certain foods. While curative techniques exist for tension headaches, migraines currently have no cure.
Yoga, when followed correctly, releases muscle tension and stress. It also increases blood circulation and stimulates the body's nervous system. Due to all of these reasons, yoga should prevent headaches, especially, when you consider the calming effects of yogic relaxation sequences. So, why do people have headaches after performing yoga?
Comments on Yoga and Healing
The mind-body connection is what enables the ancient practice of yoga the foundation upon which to bestow its benefits of calmness and serenity. ‘What happens to the mind also happens to the body and spirit,’ says yoga teacher, Donna Raskin, highlighting in essence what yoga, the Sanskrit word for ‘union’, is all about. Known to provide relief from physical discomfort and used to acquire a meditative state of mind, yoga can also be used to enhance function where mental and physical processes combine.
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Yoga is increasingly being used by those who are having a trouble in balancing their work and personal life. A stressful working environment and a hectic schedule has a telling impact on the personal lives of the modern day executives and so they are turning to yoga to bring about a peace of mind and a perfect work-life balance.
Breathing and Perspiration
Most people, who experience headaches after a yoga session, have been practicing a physical style, which consists of postures (asanas). During a typical asana practice session, people forget to focus on their breathing, unless they are constantly reminded by their teacher. Oftentimes, they naturally practice shallow breathing or hold their breath without realizing it. Shallow breathing causes headaches, as the brain does not receive the oxygen it needs to function properly. Therefore, people experience unconscious hyperventilation and develop tension headaches. As in meditation, a complete focus on the breath prevents headaches and ensures positive results.
Although physical styles of yoga do not consist of lifting heavy dumbbells or running around a track, they do involve a lot of warm-ups, postures, stretches and holds. During a stretch, the muscles release toxins into the body that escape through perspiration. The more the body moves, the more toxins it releases. Thus, it increases perspiration and the risk of dehydration. Without proper hydration before, during, and after yoga, people have a higher risk of developing headaches.
Cause and Effect
Yoga only causes headaches with the help of other factors; otherwise, it prevents headaches and helps to relieve tension. Go into each yoga session completely hydrated, and always breathe correctly through each pose. With proper form, focused breathing and a hydrated body, yoga encourages a positive spirit, greater flexibility, and reduced stress and anxiety.
Students should consult with their physicians before practicing physical forms of yoga. Teachers need to speak with students about their health concerns before a practice session. Teachers need to remind students about breathing during the entire practice. Some teachers reserve a special time during the class, which is devoted to yogic breathing (pranayama). This is very beneficial, but breath awareness should be part of the entire session. Students should be aware of the importance of being hydrated before, during, and after, a class.
Faye Martins, is a Yoga teacher and a graduate of the Yoga teacher training program at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. To read more or receive Free Yoga videos, reports, and articles about Yoga, please visit: http://www.facebook.com/AuraWellnessCenter
Yoga Headache Related Items For Sale
Yoga for Tension Headaches
In this episode we do a series of yoga poses to help with Tension Headaches.
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