Ever had the sensation that the world is spinning around you? No, not when you are on a roller coaster in a fair. Have you ever experienced it while simply walking, standing or just lying down on your bed? This feeling may indicate that you are in fact experiencing a condition called vertigo. People with vertigo experience episodes that last for a few seconds, a few minutes and in worst condition – a few days. Vertigo is not a disease, it is a condition that states something is not normal. This dizziness causes a person to feel lightheaded.
It can vary from being acute to chronic and can last for even longer. It is recorded that around 90 million people in the U.S visit hospital due to vertigo, balance problem or dizziness. Vertigo is the second most common health issue and is most likely to occur in 70% of Americans.
Moreover, according to ear and brain specialist in Massachusetts, BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) is the most leading cause of vertigo. Other than this, low level of B12, migraine and some neurological issues are secondary causes of vertigo. You can overcome this condition by all those simple and easy yoga postures. Sounds incredible right? Yoga restores balance in you and your nervous system and brings back your life to the right shape.
Uses of Yoga for Vertigo
Vertigo is a condition of a human body where the person experiences episodes of spinning dizziness. In medical terms, it is the disorder that causes a disturbance in the sense of equilibrium in the brain. The imbalance in the inner ear is responsible for the direction of motion, hence causing vertigo. The following diseases of the ear contribute to vertigo
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo – This is caused by calcium buildups in the inner ear canals. The dizziness experience lasts from 20 seconds to 1 minute.
- Vestibular neuritis- This is caused by the infection which causes an inflammation of nerves in the inner ear. The dizziness can last for about 2 days.
- Meniere’s disease- It is caused by a buildup of pressure and fluid in the inner ear and can cause dizziness along with hearing loss.
[Read: Home Remedies for Vertigo]
Yoga for vertigo focuses on restoring that imbalance in the ear through different postures. Yoga activates the sympathetic nervous system and helps in improving blood circulation throughout the body. Asana, purifies the blood that goes to the brain cells, which is indeed the first step in curing vertigo. Here are some postures that focus on balancing centers in the inner ear, along with improving focus and concentration.
- Viparita Karani
5 Yoga Poses for Vertigo
Let us have a look at each of the aforementioned asanas(1) that help in curing symptoms of vertigo. Here is a step-by-step-procedure to perform each asana.
This asana helps in calming the mind. It can be used to overcome dizziness at the onset of a vertigo attack. With regular practice, the nervous system is strengthened. This asana also helps in keeping the internal organs of the body active. It is commonly called the child pose. Here is how this asana is performed.
- Sit on your heels on the floor.
- Place hands on the thigh or on the floor and keep the knees together.
- Slowly, exhale and bend forward, lowering your forehead to touch the floor.
- Face your palms down and reach out your arms frontwards.
- Gently press your chest on your thighs and hold for a minute.
- Inhale from your navel and pull it towards the spine. Exhale and soften your arms and body.
- Breathe in the same position for 4-12 sets.
- While relaxing in this position, place your arms under the shoulder and inhale and gradually return to the sitting position.
This asana helps vertigo by increasing the blood flow in balance centers and head, thus strengthening the nervous system. It helps to relieve stress by balancing emotions and relieving anxiety, anger, and irritability. This asana also helps in improving digestion and in relieving menstrual discomfort. In common terms, it is called a Seated Forward Bend pose. Here are the steps to perform this asana(2).
- Sit erect on the floor with legs, in front, stretched out. The toes should be bent towards you.
- Raise arms overhead and stretch while inhaling.
- Bend forward, and make sure your chin moves towards your toes while exhaling.
- Stretch your arms out letting them reach your toes. Do not stretch too far.
- Inhale and slightly lift your head while elongating the spine.
- Exhale, moving your navel towards knees.
- Repeat for a few times and hold the pose.
- Inhale and come back with arms stretched out, to the sitting position.
- Exhale and lower arms.
- Relax and come back to the starting position.
This asana is highly beneficial for people with vertigo as it relieves headaches often associated with it and also helps in calming the mind. The sense of balance is restored by closing the eyes. This asana also helps in curing backache and in relaxing the tired cramped legs. It is commonly called a leg Up the Wall pose(3). Here are the steps to perform this asana.
- Lie on your back with hands on the floor and breathe normally.
- Incline legs against the wall, slightly.
- Slowly raise your legs to 90 degrees, inhaling all the while. Hold legs firmly in a vertical plane.
- Release weight of your belly deeply and the heads of the thigh bones into your torso, toward the back of the pelvis.
- Look into your head and soften your eyes.
- Breathe normally and remain in position till you are comfortable.
- Relax and restart from the starting position.
This asana strengthens neck and also balances the inner ear and nervous system. It helps in tackling the side effects of vertigo. The other benefits of Halasana include curing asthma, making the spinal cord flexible, and curing dyspepsia(4). It is commonly referred to as plow pose. Here is how you can do it.
- Lie flat on your back and place your palms on the floor and breathe normally.
- Now take a deep breath. Raise your legs over the head and bend on your waist till your toes touch the floor. If you face difficulties in lifting your leg backward, support hips with your hands.
- Now place your palms flat on the floor.
- Hold this position for a few seconds if you are a beginner. With practice, the time to hold this position can also be increased.
- Now, exhale and release and come back to the starting position.
- Repeat this for 3-5 times.
This asana relaxes the body completely. It removes all stress and strain and helps in regaining focus. Shavasana(5) helps in combating dizziness instantly. Shavasana also has other benefits that include curing insomnia, relaxing muscles and reducing blood pressure. It is commonly known as Corpse Pose. Here is how you can do it.
- Lie flat on your back, with palms next to you and facing upwards.
- Feel comfortable and make sure that your body is in a straight line.
- Close your eyes.
- Try focusing on each and every part of the body.
- Take deep breaths.
- Meditate but do not fall asleep.
- Do it for long seconds.
Poses to Avoid When Facing Vertigo
Not all fingers perform a similar task, in the same way, not all yoga poses cater to the same result. Some of the yoga poses can cause you dizziness which can lead to vertigo. Here are a few yoga poses which you need to avoid to prevent vertigo.
Sirsasana is also known as headstand where a person experiences a rush of blood in the head which may later cause dizziness.
Also known as upward bow pose, this asana requires you to keep your head below your heart which leads to dizziness. It can also be dangerous for people having blood pressure issues.
Uttanasana is also known as standing forward bend. This type of asana is really rejuvenating but for people suffering from vertigo, it can work in a wrong way since the sudden return to an upright position after the bend can cause blood rush leading to unsteadiness or lightheadedness.
- For people already experiencing vertigo, here are some precautionary steps to follow. If you experience vertigo frequently, always practice balancing postures close to a wall for stability.
- Always stand up and sit-slowly.
- Look forward in the poses such as side-angle or triangle pose.
- Keep yourself hydrated always.
- Avoid practicing these balancing postures when you are pregnant.
- Always practice under the supervision of a trained teacher.
- Avoid practicing yoga asanas when you are experiencing severe pain.
- Avoid practicing yoga right after a meal.
Discuss your vertigo with a doctor and ask him/her for advice before starting yoga for vertigo.
Yoga is an excellent tool when it comes to activating the nervous system and restoring balance in the ears and the whole head. These simple postures can help change this condition in the long run. These balancing postures help in overcoming dizziness and also in improving the quality of life altogether. Yoga for vertigo in general increases the mental health by relieving the stress, anxiety and treating depression.