A pounding headache can leave you reeling under all-consuming pain and exhaustion. According to Ayurveda, there can be over twenty causes for a headache. But is there something that can be done for immediate relief from headache, without having to pop pills? There is.
Headaches are generally caused due to persistent buildup of stress, anxiety and tension in the body or sleeplessness, restlessness or indigestion, acidity, imbalances in Doshas, among many other causes. One of the most effective remedies for immediate relief for headache, severe or mild, is Mahashirsha Mudra or gesture of the great head.
Mudras are a healing modality. The Sanskrit word Mudra is broadly translated as a gesture. A Mudra generally involves the tips of the fingers and placement of the fingers in a certain fashion to give the desired result in balancing the three Doshas. Mudras, when used with breathing exercises, increase the flow of life force in the body, leaving you feeling energized and relaxed even after a long haul.
What is Mahashirsha Mudra?
Mahashirsha Mudra is known as a panacea for headaches among all the Mudras or yogic gestures. Since the head is the seat of Prana or life force, according to Ayurveda, increasing the life force in you through deep breathing, preferably Ujjai breathing, along with holding the Mahashirsha Mudra can release the tension and stress from your body, ease the blood circulation and bring total relaxation.
How is Mahashirsha Mudra done?
1) The index and the middle finger should be touching the tip of the thumb.
2) Ring finger should be touching the palm.
3) Hold this gesture in both the palms facing the sky.
4) While holding the Mudra, take deeper longer breaths. If you have learned the Ujjai breath, it is the most recommended breathing exercise to go along with the Mudras.
5) You can practice the Mudra along with deep breathing for 15-20 minutes. If you have chronic headaches, then you can practice it for 45 minutes every day.
Benefits of Mahashirsha Mudra
1) This Mudra relieves pains of all types of headaches, irrespective of the cause.
2) If you are feeling light-headed, this Mudra grounds you and if you are feeling heavy-headed, tensed or anxious, this Mudra will relax your frayed nerves.
3) The practice improves circulation in the system.
4) If you are undergoing severe mental stress, practicing this Mudra just for a few minutes can help you feel calmer with your head more relaxed.
5) This Mudra should be practiced ideally on an empty stomach.
6) Unless you have a headache at the time, refrain from practicing the Mudra at night since it increases the prana or life force in you. You do not want to stay awake feeling all charged-up.
Though this Mudra is highly effective in providing temporary relief, if your headache is chronic or has persisted for a while, it is advisable to get yourself examined by a practitioner of pulse diagnosis, or Nadi Pariksha.
Pulse diagnosis is a body of knowledge handed down in the Gurukula or teacher-student tradition. Its use as a diagnostic tool for discovering imbalances in physiology is not widely known or practiced because of the traditional way this knowledge has been passed on from a master to a disciple, thus producing few practitioners.
Apart from this powerhouse of a Mudra, if the headache is due to muscular tension, a really effective option is regular oil massages that can help relieve the tension, stress or stiffness from the concerned parts of the body. Shankara muscle release oil is an herbal oil known for its ability to relieve muscular tension, that is pain that emanates from neck or shoulder region. For headaches that have their origin in Vata imbalance can get reduced by applying specially formulated calming oils or calming essences, au naturale and deeply relieving. There are different soothing oil applications for headaches due to Pitta aggravation that you can use to treat your pounding headaches. These headaches are usually experienced on the sides of the head.