1) Use Yoga to release the hold of gravity on the spine. This can be accomplished through a few simple postures that require little-to-no assistance from others. Two examples of a simple forward bend (uttanasana), both employing a wall for assistance. The former (top) is easier; the latter (bottom) requires more flexibility in the hamstrings.
An added benefit of poses like these are that they permit clearing of the maxillary sinuses, which when blocked can lead to a build-up of pressure in the cranium.
Else, if a headstand is available to you, you can opt to headstand rather than forward bend. The headstand is the secret weapon in my anti-headache arsenal. All the better if you can get yourself to a yoga class or two each week – guidance and assistance from a competent instructor has no substitute.
2) Stop and take notice. Whatever you find yourself engaged in, slow your roll for just a moment. Take a deep breath in, and exhale as slowly and completely as you can. Repeat three-to-five times for enhanced effect. While breathing, notice what thoughts and feelings show up. Do those thoughts and feelings seem agitated? Disturbed? Angry? Fast-moving? Disheartening? There is no need to judge or to criticize them, least of all to intellectualize or rationalize them. The simple act of noticing can be a tremendous relief to a burdened mind and heavy head.
3) A foam roller. Invest in one. You won’t regret it. The neck and lower back are good spots to target – the cervical and lumbar regions of the spine tend to share their stress and pain. Try it out and see what you notice for yourself.
There are many ways to offer yourself freedom from the suffering of headaches without needing pharmaceuticals or excessive bed rest – begin with some of these, and see how they treat you.
Continued success to you all in achieving headache relief and psychic ease.
(Matthew Van Auken, RYT500, CAWC, TYT, MD/MPH Candidate 2014)