2 Simple Yoga Breathing Exercises That Can Help Treat a Migraine

This is a guest post by Ms Lisa Shoreland, who is currently a resident blogger at Go College.

Although there are many Western treatments that are known to help treat migraines, many of them are packed full of chemicals that could cause side-effects or cause psychological and physical damage to your brain and/or body.

It is believed that migraines are caused by spasms in the arteries that supply blood to the brain, but scientific studies have proven that the cause of migraines could be related to stress and/or an imbalance in the body, such as improper digestion.

So if migraines are caused by stress or an imbalance in the brain or body, why pump your body full of chemicals when yoga can give you a healthy dose of relaxation and balance?
When you’re suffering from a migraine, going to a yoga class may seem like the last thing that will help treat the pounding in your head. Here are two simple breathing exercises you can try at home that are known to be effective in treating migraines:

1. Nadi Sodhana (Alternate nostril breathing)

  • Close your right nostril with your thumb
  • Use your left nostril to do all the breathing
  • Continue for 5 minutes
  • Repeat every two hours

This breathing exercise is extremely effective in helping to calm the brain and nervous system. Because we don’t breathe equally in both of our nostrils, doing this exercise can help clean the nasal passages and balance both sides of your brain. (It has been scientifically proven that the function of our nasal cycle is directly related to the function of our brain). Thus trying this breathing exercise will not only clean and rejuvenate your nasal passages, it will also help you feel more balanced as well.

2. Cooling Pranayama

  • Sit in a crossed-legged position
  • Curl the sides of your tongue so it forms a “tube” shape, or make an “o” shape with your mouth
  • Inhale through your tongue
  • Swallow
  • Exhale through your nose (be sure to keep your mouth closed)

As soon as you exhale you immediately start to feel relaxed as your body’s temperature begins to cool down, (hence the name of this exercise). Essentially the purpose of this breathing exercise is to supply your body with oxygen, which can help give energy to your brain, nerves, and other vital organs while stimulating the endocrine glands.

Bio: Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go College. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, practicing martial arts, and taking weekend trips.

3 thoughts on “2 Simple Yoga Breathing Exercises That Can Help Treat a Migraine”

  1. Dear Dr Hebbar,

    This is to inform you that we breath equally from both the nostrils but we don’t know as to when we are using which nostril. Our body is also governed by sun and moon effects. The brain needs to be heated up and simultaneous it requires to be cooled down at a perfect temperature. Our right nostril is related to sun and the left nostril is related to moon. When we breathe from the right nostril, our brain gets heated up and when we breathe with our left nostril, our brain gets cooled down. A proper balance of heating and cooling effect in the brain is utmost important for the body to function properly. In both cases, a particular temperature is maintained by breathing equally with each nostril. During sleep, we tend to change sides because of the temperature change in the brain. When brain is heated up, it requires to be cooled up so that the change of nostril becomes necessary and without changing sides we will not be able to change the breathing pattern to maintain the heating and cooling effects for the brain. This process takes place during sleep and one does not know as to why he or she is changing sides. Further more, if you have covered your body with a bed sheet, you must have observed that during your sleep, you have tried to throw the bed sheet when your brain is heated up and after changing sides you need to have that bed sheet again to cover your body due to the reason that your brain has reached its particular cooling point. Throwing and acceptance of bed sheet keeps happening in your sleep and this practice has already been experienced by everybody in their life but they never knew as to why this happens.

    This process keeps happening while you are sleeping without disturbing your sleep. Also, during the day time, our nostrils keep breathing and the process of heating and cooling up of brain continues. One can not breathe with right or left nostrils for a longer time to exceed the balanced heating and cooling effect in the brain and hence both the nostrils keep changing their function and keep doing their job without bothering us and it happens automatically.

    I am sure the above piece of information would be helpful to you and to the other readers as well.

    Until next time, take care and best of health!

    Best regards,
    Kunwar Singh

  2. Dear Dr Hebber,

    I think in Nadi Shodhana ( Alternative nostril breathing ) called as Nadi Shuddhi pranayam, breathing is done through alternate nostrils and not only through left nostril as mentioned above.

    Inhale through left , then exhale through right and then inhale through right and exhale through left…is one cycle or One Aavartan of pranayam.

    Please correct if I am wrong.



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