I have a private meditation client who is suffering from Vertigo. Through research, I have compiled a list of Pranayama techniques as well as asanas (yoga poses) that help alleviate and supposedly, can completely eradicate the symptoms of Vertigo!
Poses that are beneficial for those suffering from Vertigo are those that activate the nervous system and the balance centers in the inner ear. The following practices listed below help improve blood circulation throughout the brain and body. Such methods have been proven to be effective natural remedies for Vertigo when performed regularly as an active solution for this disconcerting condition.
Our sense of balance is created by a complex interconnected relationship between the inner ear, eyes, skin on the bottom of the feet, muscle/ joint sense receptors, brain and the spinal cord. I recommend this particular order when completing these exercises. Please do not consult this blog in lieu of receiving professional help with your Vertigo, as the causes of Vertigo can vary widely between allergens such as dust, mold, and pollen, and range all the way into nerve diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and tumors. You may want to really be seen by a Doctor to ensure the Vertigo isn’t a symptom of a deeper issue.
Nadi Shodan Pranayama or Alternate Nostril Breathing
This particular kind of Pranayama enriches the blood with oxygen, balances the nervous system, and purifies the respiratory system.
Begin in a comfortable seated position. You can be sitting on your knees and ankles in Hero Pose, with the tops of the feet on the ground and toes pointing back behind you. Alternately, you could fold your left foot in so that your heel is in toward your groin, and fold the right leg in front of the left, instead of stacking the ankles in a regular cross legged pose, for ease and comfort.
Bring your left hand onto your lap with the palms up, fingers gently curling inward, resting the back of your hand comfortably on your left thigh. Bring your right hand to the right side of your face with your palm facing out forward the same direction as your face, fingers toward the sky and thumb naturally pointing to the face, like an unmoving wave of “Hello.” Drop the index and middle fingers of the right hand down to the palm. Use the thumb of the right hand to block the right nostril. Inhale deeply, smoothly, slowly from the left nostril. Once the lungs are filled, ribs expanded, let the ring finger drop down and press down on the outside of the left nostril, closing both nostrils now and holding the breath with the lungs full. The inhale should be a count of 4, hold lungs full for 2 counts, then lift the thumb and exhale out of the right nostril completely, letting the shoulders drop.
Then inhale through the right nostril you just exhaled out of for a count of 4, hold at the top for a count of 2, then lift the ring finger and exhale for a count of 6. The longer exhale releases carbon dioxide buildup in the bottom of the lungs and calms the heart rate, as it replicates the natural breathing rhythm of your sleep.
Throughout this practice, you are relaxing your face, sitting with your spine tall and chin level with the ground. The top of your head pulls toward the sky, but never in a straining way. Relaxation is the goal.
Malasana/ Garland Pose
Bring your feet to hip distance apart in a standing position with the toes pointing out, the heels in. Put your hands out in front of you toward the ground and start to drop your hips into a squat position. At first, you will sink down with your hands on the ground for balance, then let your palms come together with the thumbs at the center of the chest. Let the top of your head come up, pulling the crown toward the sky, the chin level with the ground. Stay here for about 20 seconds, then let the hands drop to the ground in between the feet, below the shoulders and about a foot away from the body, letting the forehead drop toward the ground. Stay here for another 20 seconds, breathing slowly and deeply to calm the heart and nervous system. Then lift the hips, and bring the hands under the body, putting the webbing inside of the first finger and thumb on the back of the ankles, with palms resting on the ground. If this isn’t possible for you just yet, try not to feel discouraged and simply do what you can today toward that objective. Let your forehead and the top of your head drop toward the ground, breathing deep and slow for 20 seconds. When you want to get out of this pose, lift the hips and drop onto the bottom slowly to not exacerbate the Vertigo symptoms. From a seated position, you can gently, carefully roll to one side and press yourself up to standing.
Halasana/ Plow Pose
This comforting pose improves memory, normalizes blood pressure, and increases spinal health and flexibility. Begin by lying on your back. Bring your feet straight up, straightening the legs and feet toward the sky with palms face down at your sides. Pressing into the mat with the hands and forearms, let your feet drop back behind your head, lifting your hips and letting your knees softly bend if that’s more comfortable for you. Stay here for a count of 50 to 100. To come out of it, slowly lift your feet and allow your spine to slowly uncurl with ultimate control, dropping one vertebrae at a time onto the mat from the upper back to the lower back, engaging your abs to slow the descent.
Salamba Sirsasana/ Supported Headstand
This pose has been touted to “cure” Vertigo! Start on your knees with your forearms on the ground, palms facing down. Bring the inside web of your forefinger and thumb and rest that on the inside of the elbows to measure the correct distance between your arms. The goal is to make a perfect triangle as your foundation, then to drop the very top of your head into the center of the triangle. Press strongly through the entire forearm, from the elbow to the inner wrists, and lightly clasp your fingers together without strain. Your knees are still on the ground, the toes are tucked under. From here, start to straighten the legs, keeping the balls of the feet on the ground, lifting the hips, and walk the feet in toward the body, lifting the hips higher until they are almost stacked above the shoulders.
Engage your abs fiercely, and start to lift the toes off of the ground, letting them begin to float up toward the sky. You’d be surprised, it seems perhaps difficult, but once you get into the position, your feet start to lift naturally. The most challenging part is keeping your balance as your feet come up. It helps to lift one leg at a time, finding your balance slowly. If this pose isn’t in your practice just yet, you can receive the same benefit from staying in Dolphin pose, with the forearms on the ground, hips lifted, legs straight, and toes resting on the ground on the balls of your feet. In this way, the head is still below the heart, and you are still receiving the benefits of the posture. Try to remain in this posture for 10 seconds, breathing slow and deep to stay calm.
Best of luck to you and your yoga practice. May you be healed quickly and feel relief from your Vertigo!