Here at last is a medication-free solution to the problem of headaches, one that is both easy and enjoyable. Drawing upon the techniques and approach of Ananda Yoga™, Yoga Therapy for Over-coming Headaches offers step-by-step guidance for banishing the hard to treat problem of headaches.
The latest scientific research on the causes, diagnoses, and treatment of headaches, reviewed in the book, shows that that the techniques and approach of Ananda Yoga are especially effective in breaking the headache cycle. Ananda Yoga treats the underlying mental and physiological origins of headaches, using relaxation, stretching, breathing, and positive affirmation.
An epidemic problem
Roughly half the people in the United States have had a severe headache at least once in their lives. Chronic headaches over time tend to undermine the sufferer’s emotional and physical health. Ultimately, even close social relationships can deteriorate—people who suffer from recurring migraine headaches are three times more likely to develop depression than those without migraines.
Due to inadequate treatment options, treating chronic headaches can be a frustrating experience for both doctor and patient. A surprising number of headache sufferers are convinced that finding an effective treatment without side-effects is a hopeless task.
Ananda Yoga—an ideal headache treatment
Ananda Yoga works in three different ways to help prevent and treat headaches:
Gentle stretching: The postures promote deep relaxation through gentle, tension-relieving stretching, done with a meditative focus.
Affirmation: The affirmations accompanying each yoga posture help to realign thought patterns and release mental tensions.
Breathing: The Ananda Yoga breathing exercises deepen the level of mental and physical relaxation.
Stretches for the neck and shoulders
To prevent or relieve tension headaches, the neck and upper back need to be kept flexible. Many types of neck stretches are helpful, but most people won’t do them regularly enough to gain any real benefit. The Ananda Yoga system offers a balanced set of stretches that are safe, beneficial, and pleasant to do, making it easier to maintain a regular practice.
Bring your left arm up in front of you and bend it at the elbow, with your upper arm horizontal, and forearm vertical in front of your nose. Wrap your right arm underneath and around the left, until the palms come together.
Keeping your chest lifted and open, raise and lower your elbows until you find the position that affords the best stretch of your shoulders and upper back. As you hold the position and breathe easily feel the release of tension throughout your upper body: shoulders, upper back, arms, and wrists. With each exhalation, visualize the released energy pouring into your spine, your center.
Affirm mentally: “At the center of life’s storms I stand serene.”
Hold this position for at least 30 seconds, continuing the affirmation. Repeat on the other side, with left arm wrapping underneath right, for the same amount of time.
If you cannot bring your palms together (this is quite common), drape a yoga strap between your left thumb and forefinger. After wrapping your right arm as far as it will go around the left, grasp the strap with both hands and as your shoulders relax, gradually work your hands closer together.