My post about getting migraines after doing power yoga or hot yoga seems to have struck a cord. I guess I’m not the only one who leaves a hot yoga class with a pounding headache! Migraine sufferers keep hearing about the benefits of yoga on their headaches, but maybe they need more information about what type of yoga to pick?
In his book Yoga as Medicine, Dr. Timothy McCall writes that yoga can actually trigger a migraine when pushing the edge too far. Hot yoga classes can mistakenly lead people to think they are more flexible than they really are, and these classes are often quite vigorous. And who wants to be the only person in child’s pose when everyone else is doing sun salutations?
Dr. McCall says part of the problem is that people tend to prefer practices that increase their constitutional tendencies, so migraine sufferers who are drawn to heat actually may need a cooling practice. These migraine sufferers usually benefit more from restorative yoga. That doesn’t mean that they can’t enjoy an intense class, but that they also need to balance it out with a more quiet practice to calm the nervous system.