Healing Yoga Practices for Headaches.

My Detox Day went quite well yesterday, but for one thing.  By the time I went to bed last night, despite the copious amount of water, coconut juice and 3 nutritious raw smoothies/juices, I had a wicked headache.  Unfortunately headaches like me…a lot, they always have.  I managed to pass out but I woke up this morning with that same killer pain in my brain!  I brushed and showered and neti-potted, drank some water and tried to crack my neck but to no avail, this headache wasn’t budging.  I walked into our practice room and leaned down to roll out my mat but I immediately sprung upright because it felt like my head was literally going to explode!

At this point, I sort of felt like turning around and returning to bed with some aspirin.  But I didn’t, and I’m really glad I made that decision, because here I am, just a few hours later, happily sitting in front of my computer with a smoothie and NO headache!

Here’s what worked for me today….

I lay on my mat and consciously scanned my body, relaxing all of my muscles into the floor.  Breathing deeply and moving slowly I held some long supine twists.  Twists are very clearing and detoxing.  All gentle twists are very beneficial for banishing headaches!

I lay in supta baddha konasana (my fav pose ever) for a while, with my hands on my belly, consciously drawing my breath fully down into my belly and pelvis.  I rolled a few times back and forth and then up and down on the spine and then stretched around on the floor for a bit before sitting up for some Kundalini-style spinal flexes, spinal twists, neck rolls, shoulder rolling and shoulder shrugs.  I circled my ankles and wrists, stood up and gave some circling, stabilizing action to the knees (a Qi Gung exercise that’s been helping with my meniscus pain).  I brought awareness to all my joints with easeful spiraling actions and deep directed breath.

I returned to a cross-legged seat for a little more twisting and a bit of shoulder stretching.  Then I remembered that there is this super powerful Kundalini Kriya called “Self Hypnosis to Force Your Body to Heal Itself” (keep scrolling for the how-to).  I practiced this meditation for awhile in India for my shoulder/knee pain, but today I remembered that in the description Yogi Bhajan says: “If you have a headache, try doing this and see how your headache will disappear.  This will give you faith to use this technique”.  And that’s what I did…..just for 3 minutes and my headache practically evaporated!

With a clearer head I was able to stretch my legs out in dandasana to activate my bandhas and practice ujjayi pranayam.  And since I wasn’t facing possible combustion in my dome, I could now do some nice forward folds – pascimotanasana, baddha konasana, janu sirsasana and upvistha konasana.  Lovely.

I stood up for 5 Surya As and 5 Suryas Bs to get some more chi flowing and then after a not-so pleasant headrush with padangustasana/padahastasana, I decided to quit while I was ahead.  I did a gentle bridge pose for some backbending before heading over to my little corner to practice Viparita Karani.  Since I didn’t want to disturb my headache, I chose to practice this mild inversion rather than Shoulderstand or Headstand which might bring too much blood flow to my head.  For a little extra support, I propped my head on a blanket activating Jalandhara Bandh for 10 minutes of long, deep breathing.  So nice.  I sat up for a few minutes of closing meditation and prayers and then went on my merry way, feeling a zillion times better than when I woke up.

Practices like this remind me of how incredibly healing yoga is.  My yoga this morning wasn’t about mastering a hard posture or getting a sweaty workout or finding my edge, but instead it was about breathing, listening to my body, honoring my limitations and needs and thus finding healing through this self-loving and self-caring practice of mindfulness.

I love this Kundalini Kriya and hope you might find the time to try it.  It’s powerful!  I wouldn’t recommend this kriya to absolute beginners because it requires kumbaka, or breath retention, which can be challenging and sometimes panic-inducing to newbies.

You only need a few minutes to feel benefit from this kriya.  For a regular practice, start with 7 to 11 minutes and then you can gradually increase the time from there.  This meditation increases your extra sensory hypnotic power and that is then turned inwards to heal yourself.

Remember to TUNE-IN with the Adi Mantra: ONG NAMO GURU DEV NAMO


Sit comfortably with a straight spin, chin slightly drawn-in to elongate the back of the neck.

MUDRA:  Interlace your fingers so the right pinkie finger is on the bottom.  Place the palms flat against the center of the chest.  Thumbs point upwards toward the chin – they are your antennae!  Stretch your elbows out to the sides, parallel to the earth.

EYES are closed.

BREATH: Breathe in deeply and hold the body’s positive energy to go and eat up the sickness or anything negative in the body.  Direct your prana to exactly where you need healing.  Use the visualization techniques that work for you.  When you cannot easily the hold the breath any longer, slowly exhale with control.  Continue with this pattern of retention.  Mentally direct the energy hypnotically.  Use your breath rhythm to hypnotize yourself.

Practice for a set time and then to end, INHALE deeply, hold the breath in, squeeze the whole body and press the hands against your chest as hard as you can.  HOLD for 15 seconds then make an O-shape with your mouth and forcefully canon-fire your breath out.  Repeat this twice but hold only for 5 seconds.  Then sit still or lie down and RELAX.

Yogi Bhajan taught this meditation to give people the tool to heal themselves and regulate their own bodies and biorhythms.  He explained that this conscious direction of prana and oxygen tells your white cells to literally go and eat up the dead cells.  He gave this meditation to students with cancer and it had very profound healing effects.  He also said this meditation is highly effective for people addicted to cigarettes.  He explained that the oxygenation of the brain that happens with this kriya replaces that need for nicotine.  Eating disorders, headaches, depression and other diseases and disorders can be healed by this practice.  It’s up to you to direct the prana and the power that it holds.

Let me know how it goes.





3 thoughts on “Healing Yoga Practices for Headaches.

  1. Thanks for sharing this Frances! I don’t think I’m quite ready for the Kriya yet, but your words ring very true for me, especially… “My yoga this morning wasn’t about mastering a hard posture or getting a sweaty workout or finding my edge, but instead it was about breathing, listening to my body, honoring my limitations and needs and thus finding healing through this self-loving and self-caring practice of mindfulness.” I am constantly re-learning this lesson: to listen to my body, honor my limitations and love myself unconditionally. It’s always supportive to hear that someone else is struggling with, learning, and succeeding at the same things.

    • Thanks dear Ashley. I think you could definitely try this kriya, as long as you are conscious about not holding your breath for too long, you know? 🙂 Anyways, yes, such a process this re-learning of that very lesson…in fact I remember having a conversation of this nature with you 3 years ago on a beach in Australia… this life, this evolution is so cyclical, but each return around the spiral there is new understanding and greater knowledge. Much LOVE, F

  2. Pingback: I’m Getting Rolfed | Lila

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