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Beat that headache with yoga!

April 7, 2008
Headaches can prove to be chronic ailments and can sap us completely. Some victims know the triggers, especially with migraines, and learn to avoid foods, situations or stressors that set off a headache. Where the trigger is psychosomatic yoga can offer immense help in preventing or relieving a bout.

Other headache triggers involve a weak neck, bad posture, work conditions that are not ergonomic, eyestrain (especially due to bad lighting or squinting) or weak eyesight that has been neglected.

Congestion in the respiratory system is yet another common cause. Some athletes or exercise freaks also suffer from a sudden attack from over-exertion. Such physical causes are naturally offset by a regular yoga sadhana.

Sometimes the causes for a headache may be hidden. Bad eating habits, including skipping meals, can trigger headaches caused by plummeting blood sugar levels. Overeating and chronic constipation may be other causes.

Certain medications can also have an allergic reaction that sets off a pulsating pain in the head. Any unusual physical activity done suddenly may set off a headache, called exertional headache. Certain foods like cheese and MSG used in Chinese food are also known triggers in chronic cases.

In such cases being aware of the trigger may help avoid it. Involving a medical practitioner would help you locate the cause faster. Once conventional therapy has been started, you may consider complementing it with a regular yoga sadhana which powers the body against such attacks.

Shameem Akthar, yoga acharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, Kerala, leads you through five yogic practices that help relieve headaches.

Text: Shameem Akthar
Photographs: Jahnavi Sheriff
Catch more of Shameem's yoga writings and about her upcoming workshops at

Harmony Foundation recently published Shameem Akthar's book, Yoga for Silvers. To place an order, please write to:

(This article only attempts to enthuse readers towards yoga practice and complement your existing practice. Yoga is best learnt under the personal guidance of a teacher.)
Also read: Yogic therapy for diabetes


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