It happens to all of us from time to time. Our busy schedules get the best of us or we spend far too many hours at work in front of a computer screen, and suddenly our heads are pounding and it’s impossible to focus. No matter what the cause, tension headaches can definitely put a crimp in your productivity, and it’s so tempting to pop a pill to ease the pain.
The problem with pain medication is that the more you take it, the less effective it is. In the time that it takes most over-the-counter pain pills to work, you could practice some restorative yoga to fight that tension naturally! Here are some simple poses to get you started.
1. Alternate Nostril Breathing
Sit up straight either cross-legged on the floor or in your chair. Close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths to ease yourself into the breathing exercise.
Hold out your right hand, spreading all 5 fingers. Fold your middle and pointer fingers toward your palm, so your thumb, ring, and pinky fingers are pointing out. This is the hand position you’ll maintain throughout the breathing. You can rest your left hand on your knee or thigh – whatever is comfortable for you.
Using your thumb to close your right nostril, take a deep breath in. Before exhaling, release the right nostril and use your right ring finger to close the left nostril. Repeat this cycle 4 or 5 times, finishing with a few deep breaths through your nose with both nostrils open.
2. Neck Rolls
We store so much stress in our necks and shoulders, sometimes just taking a few moments to focus on letting that out can make a huge difference! Sit on the floor with your legs crossed or in your desk chair with your feet flat on the floor. Imagine a string running up your spine toward the ceiling, drawing your back up straight.
Close your eyes, and let your chin fall toward your chest. As you inhale roll your head to the left so your left ear is directly over the left shoulder. Pause anywhere that you feel tension. On your next exhale, move your chin back to your chest, then inhale and roll your head to the right. Repeat these neck rolls up to 10 times.
Next: 3 more tension-headache fighters