How to Prevent Head Rushes in Yoga

Om Wrecker: Head Rushes From Inverting

Yoga is supposed to be all joy and bliss, but it's hard to feel peaceful when being in certain poses can cause dizziness. Holding the head below the heart and quickly coming up commonly results in a head rush; when blood rushes to and from your head too quickly it causes a drop in blood pressure, which can cause disorientation, spotty vision, foggy hearing, and can sometimes impair the ability to control movement. If this sounds familiar, here are ways to stop feeling like your head is spinning while trying to get your Om on.

  • Try variations: If you know doing a Wide-Legged Forward Bend (shown above) causes head pain or lightheadedness, only fold halfway. Or do this pose while sitting on the floor to get the same hamstring stretch without your head hanging below your heart. Do what's right for your body even if it means doing a completely different pose.
  • Take it slow: Sometimes it's not the actual pose that causes the dizziness, but the way you move in and out of it. Take a few breaths to get into poses that tend to make you dizzy so the blood doesn't rush to your head all at once. And the same goes for coming out of poses — stand up too quickly and you might feel so topsy-turvy that you end up falling to the ground. Take your time, and concentrate on moving slowly as you draw out each breath. When doing poses like Headstands where you're inverted for longer periods of time, don't be shy about resting in Child's Pose afterward until the blood has a chance to circulate back to the rest of your body.
  • Check out other styles of yoga: Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Jivamukti yoga are more fast-paced than other styles like Iyengar. You may experience a head rush when moving too quickly from seated to standing poses such as when doing Sun Salutations. If head rushes are happening every time you practice these types of yoga, try a slower-paced style next time.
  • Grab that reusable water bottle: Heading to a yoga class slightly dehydrated can increase your chance for these sort of dizzy spells, so be sure to sip water throughout the day before heading to the studio.

Sometimes a head rush is inevitable, so if you feel a dizzy spell coming on, sit down, tuck your chin into your chest, and breathe deeply until it passes. Then slowly move onto the next pose when you're ready.

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