If you get a headache after yoga, here's why

If you've recently finished a yoga session feeling worse than when you started thanks to a headache, you're not alone. While it's not common to end a yoga class with a splitting headache, there are a few reasons you're not feeling quite as relaxed and at ease as you might have hoped.

Improper alignment in certain postures, especially backbends, can cause headaches. If you notice that you're only having headaches after a class that includes back bends, you may be pinching your neck as you let your head fall backwards. You also may be putting too much pressure on your head during a headstand (via Yoga Journal). Proper alignment can be difficult if you're not in a class with a teacher who can offer specific pointers. 

If you're working hard in class, struggling to maintain poses and feeling more like you're doing a difficult workout than a gentle flow, muscle tension may be to blame. Ease back on the planks and spend more time in gentle postures instead, focusing on letting muscles relax.

Are there any other causes of a headache from yoga?

Dehydration is a well-known cause of headaches, and like any workout, if you're finishing up a hot yoga session, you may have lost a lot of water through sweat. Even a power yoga class that causes your heart rate to go up may be leading to a mild dehydration headache, so try sipping cool water throughout class, as well as beforehand and immediately afterwards (via Yoga Journal). Hunger may also be to blame, so consider a small snack alongside a post-workout drink to prevent a headache brought on by low blood sugar (via Healthline). 

On the flip side, yoga can actually help ease the pain of a headache, thanks to the improved blood flow and relaxed breathing that happens as you make your way through a session. Inversions in particular, including a simple forward fold or just laying on the mat with your legs boosted up against the wall, may alleviate pain (via Yoga Journal).