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Headaches after yoga

Leela2010-07-04 21:46:44 +0000 #1
Hello...I am a "newer" yoga teacher, and one of my students who is prone to migraines, told me she sometimes experiences headaches after little while after finishing a yoga class, and sometimes during. The class was a yin class, mostly seated/floor poses, longer holds and not vigorous, and my advice to her was to try to keep her head up above her heart, and keep breathing. I plan to research good poses for headaches but I'm wondering if there is anything else I can suggest to her?

Best regards....L
justwannabe2010-07-04 21:51:39 +0000 #2
how does she eat?

does she drink or smoke?

to fix the headache one must get to the source of it

so what is the cause if the asanas are easy ones,

maybe she is releasing something and the headache is good for her

some people tend to think, headache=bad

some people may think diarrhea=bad, well having it may flush out toxins

just some thoughts,

good luck on the journey

seeker
InnerAthlete2010-07-04 22:27:56 +0000 #3
Hello Leela,

Obviously seeing the student in the poses in question would help greatly in assessing. Since that is not possible there are two reasons for headaches that immediately jump to mind, no pun intended.

The first is when the student is not used to breath. In that case the shallow breathing of their daily life is carried over into their asana practice. In order to discover such a thing with this student, inquire how long she has been practicing yoga and examine in what ways her breath of the day is the same or different than the breath of her practice. Also look at how you are instructing breath in the poses for this student particularly. Let her answers be revealing rather than your questions.

The second issue is tension in the muscles of the neck and upper back. This can come from improper action in asana or negligence in sequencing. I personally do not find the Yin practice to have an alignment focus and therefore the student, by their very position, may be impinging their Chi, prana, blood, energy by remaining in an unaligned position for five minutes at a time.

The student who does not have an awareness of the serratus anterior and it's action will have a difficult time releasing the muscles of the neck on their own. These two muscles are reciprocol inhibitors. It is the engagement of the serratus that frees the muscles of the upper back and neck.

Look at the student in Gomukhasana (in Virasana so you can focus on the arms) and Garudasana (in the same Virasana position). You can also assess or instruct serratus action in Adho Mukha Svanasana, Phalankasana (plank), Chaturanga Dandasana, Ardha Uttanasana (hands at the wall) Ardha Adho Mukha Vrksasana, Adho Mukha Vrksasana, Virabhadrasana III (hands at wall) and Sirsasana.
Lars Rimböck2010-07-04 22:55:04 +0000 #4
Hello Leela

For students with migraine problems additional to the postures, Yoga Nidra is a very powerfull relaxation.

I have a couple of those students and it helps them all.

All the best

Lars

__________________________________________________ __________

Patanjali Yoga Schule Münster: www.yoga-schule.org
Hubert2010-07-04 23:18:05 +0000 #5
Serratus anterior, huh ?

This again a new thing.

If I stick to this forum long enough, all your base will belong to us, InnerAthlete.

To not be totally off topic: migrenes also can be the effect of toxic byproducts of digestion, exposure to bright light (screens of al kinds). Sometimes the ill effects lurk beneath the surface of perceptible, and become apparent when awarness increases, or by slightly increasaed physical activity. In this case I recommend doing nothing:

I sometimes just lie down on my back, and I am not doing anything. Not even relaxing, or savasana, or breathing, but this is also not consciuous. And in this situation, I just do some movements, and I am just letting the body rearranging itself. Sometimees I feel like I am doing setu bandhasana, sometimes I do reclined bound angle. Sometimes I do modyfied poses I never heard of, and later I see them on some yoga site. No mental focus, nothing forced, the mind let to follow it's course. It is not important. It is important to develop a certain awarness, what is not the mundane clear focus, but a ceirtan detachment, even from asana practice, physical exercise, breathing, anything. It is hard to describe it, but it is very refreshing. I am calling it doing nothing, but it is not on purpose, if you know what I mean, because in fact I do things, but not with premeditation or aim in them. It is not yoga in the sense that is no aim in it, or any rule, or succestion. I am not doing to do this as yoga, I am doing it after I did my set, and before the final savasana.

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