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2 Simple Yoga Breathing Exercises That Can Help Treat a Migraine

Nadi Sodhana

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.