Cluster Headache although rare has a characteristic pattern. It comes on suddenly, lasting 30-45 minutes at the same time each day lasting a few weeks. The attacks occur in “clusters” of a few weeks with headache free period of a few months to even a year. Although difficult to find out a specific cause we can call this as another lifestyle related disorder.
Yoga Techniques for Cluster Headache
During episodes of acute head ache the yogic understanding about the prana imbalances is useful to get immediate relief. The Integrated Approach of Yoga Therapy is to push yourself into Anandamaya Kosa which is free from pain and full of ease, and calmness. To achieve this you need to work at all levels.
At the Vijnanamaya kosa it is important to work with fearlessness. The notion “I have pain but must I suffer” has helped several patients with severe pain. Pain is yet another form of nerve impulse just like sensors of hot, cold, touch etc., “you should try and disconnect your feeling of suffering from the unpleasant nerve impulse. “This is very difficult but not impossible. I need you to detach from the body and become an objective observer.
coming down to the Manomaya Kosa, recognize the speeded up loop of thoughts in your mind which whirls around suffering. “Let me slow down the speed and violence in these thoughts” is the next difficult step. To assist this slowing down and develop the attitude of an observer, start working with the prana by using physical and breathing movements. Though vigorous movements of limbs and fast breathing see how you can diffuse the pain even temporarily. This temporary cassation or reduction in pain is due to release of blockage of prana in the nadis in the painful area. This is a manifestation of excessive speed and constriction of prana. Once you reduce the speed, you can now start diffusing the prana by an imagery of “unwinding the spring packed up in a box of your skull or “diffusion of light and heat from the hot painful source of light at the point of pain”.
What physical and breathing practices would help during painful days of cluster headache?
For immediate relief –
1. Spot jogging (20 – 40) with awareness of the feet and toes while counting the steps and suggesting that you are pushing the prana down to the feet.
2. Mukha Dhouti (20 – 40) with the same awareness of exhaling out the speeded up blocks from the head.
3. Chanting “AAA” 9 times to feel the soft vibrations in the Naval region.
4. sit in Shasankasana for 10 seconds to observe the painful zone.
Repeat this cycle of 5 minutes three times. Repeat this capsule of 15 minutes, 4 times a day on empty stomach.
Daily practice list of one hour after the severity has come down includes asanas, pranayama, chanting and Kriyas as given in the list below.
Special Practices for Headache
Loosening and Breathing Exercises
Rotation of shoulders, Neck Bending, Neck Rotation, Hand Stretch breathing, Tiger Breathing, Sasankasana Breathing, Head Rolling, Surya Namaskara Quick Relaxation Technique.
Kapalabhati, Vibhaga Pranayama, Candra Anuloma, Nadi Suddhi, Brahmari .
Meditation (Dharana Dhyana)
Nadanusandhana, OM Meditation
Jala Neti, Sütra Neti, Vaman Dhouti
1. Stand in Tadasana, bend forward, rest the palms on the floor adn take the legs back about 4 to 5 feet as if you are doing Adho Mukha Svanasana.
2. Turn the whole body sideways to the riht and balance on the right had and foot only. The outer side of the right foot should rest firmly on the floor. Place the left foot over the right one, rest the left palm on the left hip and balance, keeping the body straight. In order to learn the art of balancing in this position, be close to a wall so that the inner side of the right foot rests against it.
3. Exhale, bend the left leg at the knee, move the body slightly forward and catch left big toe between the thumb and the index and middle finger of the left hand. Pull the left arm and the left leg up vertically. Balance in this position, keeping the arms and legs rigid, with deep breathing, for about 20 to 30 seconds.
4. Release the toe grip, rest the left leg again over the right foot and lower the left hand to the hip once more.
5. Exhale, turn the body over to the left so that it balances only on the left hand and left foot. Repeat the pose on this side for the same length of time, following the technique stated above, reading right for left adn left for right.