Yoga For Tension Headaches

Published March 09, 2020 by Sheila Anne Murray

Do you work a desk job? Do you have shoulder/back pain? Do you stress? Do you think about stress? You likely suffer from tension headaches or tension in your upper body & I’m here with some yoga to ease the pain and get you back to business as usual once again!

Seated Neck Release, option 1

You may be seated on the floor / mat or up on a block or blanket if that is more comfortable for your hips. What’s important is that your spine is straight and your neck has the space to be long.

Seated Neck Release, option 1

Place your left hand on the right side of your head and gently tilt your head to the left, allowing gravity to do most of the work.

Allow your right shoulder to be heavy and slide down toward the ground, for more of a release.

Hold for a few breaths and then slowly switch sides.

Repeat on both sides a few times to reduce the intensity of the headache.

Seated Neck Release, option 2

Seated neck release, option 2

Clasp your hands together behind your back, then bring them, still clasped, to sit on your left hip, effectively moving your right shoulder down and back.

Tilt your head to the left, creating even more space for your neck and shoulder to lengthen.

Hold for a few breaths and then slowly switch sides.

Repeat on both sides a few times to reduce the intensity of the headache.

Supported Bridge Pose

This pose increases blood flow, opens the heartspace, and relaxes the neck and spine. Thisback-extension version of bridge pose also helps to relieve the hunch from poor posture and sitting.

You will need your yoga block or a similar solid bolster handy.

Supported bridge pose

Start on your back, with bent knees and feet flat on the floor.

Extend your arms on the floor, fingers reaching toward your heels.

Press down into the soles of your feet to lift your hips off the floor. Slide a yoga block or firm bolster under your sacrum (the area between your tailbone and lower back).

Your arms can stay outstretched on the floor next to your body, or your hands can come to rest on your lower belly. Keep your feet and thighs parallel and ensure that you feel fully supported by the block/bolster.

You can stay here several minutes, soaking up the benefits of the passive backbend. If this pose causes your back to hurt, remove the block and come down.

Legs Up The Wall

Also featured in Yoga For Anxiety, this pose gently stretches the muscles in your neck and relaxes you at the same time.

Legs up the wall from the ground

Place a firm pillow, folded blanket(s), or bolster against the wall.

Sit atop the prop, then maneuver yourself using your hands and hips so that your legs are up the wall, your glutes and hips are resting on the prop, and you can rest your back and upper body on the ground or mat.

Let your arms rest open at your sides, palms facing up.

Feel your legs release and relax, dropping down toward the back of your pelvis.

Breathe here for anywhere from 5 - 15 second and allow yourself to simply receive all of the amazing benefits!

Legs up the wall from above

Take great care as you release. Slowly push yourself away from the wall and slide your legs down to the right side. Use your hands to help press yourself back up into a seated position.

Thread the Needle
Thread the needle is a killer pose for opening the shoulders and stretching the spine, using the support of the floor.

Start in tabletop position (on your hands & knees)

Inhale your right arm toward the ceiling, allowing your chest to open up big.

Opening up heart space for thread the needle

Exhale as you thread your right hand through the space between your left side body. Inhale your arm to the ceiling once again. Repeat three times, incorporating the breath as much as you are the movement.

Finally thread the needle and pause, allowing your right arm to come to rest on the floor.

Continue shifting your right fingertips to the left until you feel a stretch. You can slide your right elbow toward your left knee, then extend your left arm overhead and walk your left fingertips toward the front of the mat.

Thread the needle, resting

Hold here, focus on your breathing, and ensure that you are not stretching past your body’s natural limitations.

Repeat on the other side.


Sheila Anne