Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose) – Part 5 of 8
With the back of the pelvis on a bolster placed 4 to 6 inches from the wall, swing the legs up the wall. Drop your sitting bones into the space between the blanket and the wall and open your arms out to the sides. If your hamstrings feel tight, try turning the legs slightly in or over the bolster closer to the wall. Relax into the pose, holding for a minimum of 5 minutes.
If you are prone to headaches, you probably know some of the triggers (stress, lack of sleep, hunger) that cause them. But have you taken stock of your posture lately? Rounded shoulders, a curved upper back and a head pitched slightly forward can all add up to muscle tension that results in head pain.
According to Tomas Brofeldt, M.D., at the University of California’s Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, 75 percent of all headaches arise from muscle tension in the back of the neck, specifically the semispinalis capitis muscles, due to problems in posture. Because the muscles of the neck and upper back connect to the head, tension arising in these areas can be referred to the forehead and behind the eyes.
“Anything that distorts the spinal curves has the potential to cause headaches,” explains Margaret Holiday, D.D., a chiropractor in Marin County, California. Because headaches arise so often from muscle tension, there is no substitute for a thorough, daily yoga program for treatment and prevention. Include poses in your practice that open the chest, such as Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose), and ones like Salamba Balasana (Supported Child’s Pose) that stretch and relax the upper back and neck. Breathe deeply and slowly during all the postures and remember to relax the forehead, eyes, jaw and tongue.
When it comes to treatment, you will have the best results if you start stretching and releasing at the first sign of a headache, before the muscles go into spasm. As for prevention, practicing yoga stretches every day will help foster a new awareness of your body’s unique trouble areas – and ultimately, reduce the amount of headaches you experience.
OTHER RECOMMENDED POSES
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
Salamba Ardha Uttanasana (Supported Half-Standing Forward Bend)