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How Yoga Can Help With Headaches

November 7, 2013 by Normand Richard, Certified Exercise Physiologist

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Since moving to the West Coast, I've noticed how popular yoga is. As a matter of fact, I pass three studios when biking to work. I recently heard people talking about how yoga may help with headaches.

As someone who is aware of his body, I was interested in trying out a physical activity based remedy to try and treat the occasional headache I get. I figured I couldn’t go wrong with something like yoga and was pleasantly surprised by the results. Here are a couple ways yoga helps to prevent a headache:

  • Stretching: After a day at the office looking at computer screens my neck and back muscles can get tight. Yoga poses can help open up the chest and relax the neck muscles and avoid unnecessary tension. 
  • Relaxation/tension release: The deep breathing is what inspired me the most! The dim lights, relaxed atmosphere, and being away from my smartphone probably helped as well. Overall this "calming of the mind" was also efficient at reducing stress. 

Additional Health Benefits:

  • Strengthening core muscles: The more advanced classes will focus on strengthening some of your core muscles (the muscles of your back and stomach) which will help maintain good posture and reduces risk of injury. This was harder than I imagined and a good work out!
  • Good posture: Yoga will help you focus on maintaining a good posture, keeping your shoulders back, and your spine neutral. 

There are many types of yoga and most people can participate in classes. The Physical Activity Line has a few yoga veterans (not me!) who could help you find the best class for your needs.

As far as I'm concerned, it's no wonder yoga is so popular. It's good exercise and it helps to reduce headaches. That's a win win for me!


Photo: iStockphoto

Resources and References:
The Many Health Benefits of Yoga

Topic: 
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