Migraine-Specific Yoga: Poses and Practices for Relief

Migraine-Specific Yoga: Poses and Practices for Relief


I have personally experienced the debilitating effects of crises de migraine and understand the importance of finding effective relief methods. One approach that has shown promise in managing crises de migraine is the practice of yoga. In this article, we will explore the concept of using yoga for migraine relief and learn about specific poses and practices that can provide relief and promote overall well-being.

Understanding Crises de migraine and Their Triggers

Crises de migraine are severe headaches that can be accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual disturbances. Common triggers for crises de migraine include stress, hormonal changes, certain foods, and environmental factors. Identifying these triggers can help in managing crises de migraine by avoiding or minimizing their impact.

Why Yoga for Crises de migraine?

Practicing yoga can be a beneficial complementary approach for managing crises de migraine. Some benefits of yoga for crises de migraine include:

  • Stress reduction: Yoga incorporates various relaxation techniques that can help reduce stress, a common trigger for crises de migraine.
  • Improved blood flow: Yoga poses and practices can improve circulation, including the flow of blood to the brain, potentially reducing the frequency and intensity of crises de migraine.
  • Relaxation of tense muscles: Many yoga poses focus on stretching and releasing tension in different muscle groups, including those in the neck and shoulders that can contribute to crises de migraine.
  • Promotion of overall well-being: Yoga is a holistic practice that promotes physical, mental, and emotional well-being, which can positively impact migraine management.

Research studies have also supported the effectiveness of yoga in reducing the frequency and intensity of crises de migraine. One study published in the journal Headache found that participants who practiced yoga experienced a significant reduction in the number of crises de migraine they had per month.

Preparing for a Migraine-Specific Yoga Practice

Before starting a migraine-specific yoga practice, it is important to create a suitable environment for relaxation and comfort. Follow these steps:

  • Find a quiet and comfortable space where you can practice without distractions.
  • Gather necessary props such as a yoga mat, blankets, and blocks to support your body during the poses.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing that allows for easy movement.
  • Approach the practice with an open mind and manage your expectations. Recognize that the goal is not to force your body into difficult positions, but rather to focus on gentle movements and deep breathing.

Migraine-Specific Yoga Poses

Here are some yoga poses that can help provide relief during a migraine attack:

Gentle Neck Stretches

Neck stretches can help release tension in the neck and shoulder muscles. Start by sitting or standing with your spine straight. Gently tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder. Hold for a few breaths and then repeat on the other side. You can also try gentle neck rolls, moving your head in a circular motion.

Supported Forward Folds

Supported forward folds can help calm the nervous system and promote relaxation. Sit on the edge of a folded blanket or bolster with your legs extended in front of you. Slowly fold forward from your hips, resting your forehead on the support in front of you. Relax your neck, shoulders, and back as you hold the pose for a few breaths.

Seated and Standing Twists

Twisting poses can help relieve tension in the spine and improve circulation. In a seated position, twist your torso gently to the right, placing your left hand on your right knee and your right hand behind you for support. Hold for a few breaths and then repeat on the other side. You can also try standing twists, such as the simple standing twist or the revolved triangle pose.

Supine Poses to Promote Relaxation

Lying down in supine poses can help promote deep relaxation. Try the legs-up-the-wall pose, where you lie on your back with your legs extended up against a wall or a supportive surface. Allow your body to relax completely and focus on your breath.

Gentle Inversions for Improved Blood Flow

Inversions, where the head is below the heart, can help improve blood flow to the brain. Gentle inversions such as the legs-up-the-wall pose mentioned earlier or the supported bridge pose can be beneficial during a migraine attack. Make sure to listen to your body and only practice inversions that feel comfortable for you.

Breathing Techniques for Calming the Nervous System

Deep breathing exercises can help activate the body’s relaxation response and calm the nervous system. Try a simple breathing technique called alternate nostril breathing. Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through your left nostril. Then close your left nostril with your ring finger and exhale through your right nostril. Continue this pattern for a few rounds, focusing on slow and steady breaths.

Creating a Migraine-Specific Yoga Routine

Consistency is key when it comes to practicing yoga for crises de migraine. Here are some tips for building a personalized yoga routine:

  • Consult a yoga instructor or therapist who has experience in working with individuals with crises de migraine. They can guide you in creating a routine that addresses your specific needs and limitations.
  • Incorporate both prevention and relief poses in your routine. Prevention poses focus on strengthening and stretching the muscles that are commonly tense during crises de migraine, while relief poses can be practiced during an attack to provide immediate relief.
  • Listen to your body and adjust the routine as needed. Some days, you may need more restorative poses, while others you may feel more energized and able to practice more challenging poses. Tailor your routine to what feels right for you.

Enhancing Your Practice with Meditation and Mindfulness

In addition to yoga poses, integrating meditation and mindfulness into your practice can further enhance the benefits of migraine-specific yoga. Benefits of meditation and mindfulness for migraine relief include:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Improved ability to manage triggers and cope with pain

You can incorporate simple meditation techniques, such as focusing on your breath or repeating a calming mantra, into your yoga routine. Additionally, practicing mindfulness throughout the day can help manage stress and prevent crises de migraine by staying present and aware of your body’s needs.

Yoga as a Complementary Approach to Other Migraine Treatments

It is important to note that yoga is not a standalone solution for managing crises de migraine. It is most effective when used as a complementary approach alongside other migraine treatments. Some complementary treatments to consider include:

  • Medication: Consult with your healthcare provider about appropriate medications to manage your crises de migraine.
  • Dietary changes: Identify and avoid potential trigger foods, such as processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Sleep hygiene: Establish a regular sleep schedule and create a conducive sleeping environment to support restful sleep.

It is recommended to consult with healthcare professionals to develop a holistic migraine management plan that incorporates yoga along with other treatments specific to your needs.


Migraine-specific yoga provides a holistic approach to managing crises de migraine by combining gentle movements, deep breathing, and relaxation techniques. The benefits of practicing yoga for crises de migraine include stress reduction, improved blood flow, relaxation of tense muscles, and promotion of overall well-being. By creating a personalized yoga routine and incorporating meditation and mindfulness, you can enhance the effectiveness of your practice. Remember to consult with healthcare professionals for a comprehensive migraine management plan that includes yoga as a complementary approach. Start exploring the world of migraine-specific yoga and discover the relief it can bring to your life.

Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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