Whether you contort your body in a yoga studio or your living room, you're likely doing so to reap the benefits of a more flexible body. The pluses that come after a session, like being relaxed, are just icing on the cake. However, the yogi's who created those pretzel-like moves did so with the intent to heal both mind and body. Centering on specific body parts, there are poses that can even help with vertigo.
The squat, a variation of Garland pose, relieves troubling vertigo by reducing anxiety. When you experience dizzying vertigo, your nervous system will go on red alert. Until it passes, you'll end up a spinning, anxious mess, unless you do the squat three times a week, says Tara Stiles in her book, "Slim, Calm, Sexy Yoga: 210 Proven Yoga moves for Mind/Body Bliss." Try the move by inhaling and standing with your feet hip-width apart. As you exhale, squat down. Lean forward so your torso rests on your thighs. Then interlock your hands, reaching them behind your head to cradle your neck. Bow your head and breathe deeply for 10 breaths.
Standing Forward Bend
According to Stiles, the key to beating vertigo is to get used to being upside down. The Standing Forward Bend will point your torso south, and recalibrate your equilibrium. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. As you exhale, bend forward at the hips. Bend your knees slightly to avoid strain in the lower back. Let your torso sink as far forward as it will go. Next, take each hand and grasp the opposite elbow. Hold this pose for 10 deep breaths.
Downward-Facing Dog angles the upper body down and relieves tension and anxiety, says YogaJournal.com. Begin this pose on your hands and knees. Make sure your knees are below your hips and then slide your hands toward the front, past your shoulders. Exhale and extend your legs, pointing your bottom skyward as you lean your torso forward and down. To support your weight, spread your fingers and press your palms firmly into the mat. Inhale and exhale as you keep your head centered between your upper arms, not letting it drop. Be careful not to lock your knees as you do this pose. Hold this pose for one to three minutes.
The Child's pose is another forward leaning pose that soothes the nerves, according to Yogajournal.com. Even Stiles touts the pose's ability to relieve anxiety that may add to or worsen vertigo by including it in a routine to fight the room-tilting symptom. To end your session with Child's pose, start on your knees with the tops of your feet flat on the floor. Bring your toes together and pull your knees apart. As you exhale, fold your upper body down to fit between your knees. As your head falls forward, take your arms to the side, tucking them next to your legs. Stay in this pose breathing deeply for 30 seconds to three minutes.
- Yoga Journal: Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing; Timothy McCall
Having studied at two top Midwestern universities, Catherine Field holds degrees in professional writing and patient safety. Writing since 2000, Field has worked with regional newspapers while publishing fiction online. She conducts medical communication research at a Midwestern medical institution and is slated to write a book based on her research findings.