I try and create content that my followers need and are looking for and lately I’ve been asked often how to find comfort for cramps. The question is, “Is there a yoga available to alleviate period pain?” I hear ya, having that monthly reminder that we are woman can be daunting but instead of shunning it or being upset I implore you to welcome it! Take this time to remind yourself to take some extra care of yourself. Nourish yourself and your body. Allow your schedule and body to slow down and soak up the fact that you are a WOMAN!
With over 80% of women experiencing pain-related periods, it’s important to treat your cramping and mood swings holistically. Instead of skipping out on things or allowing yourself to “suffer” through it, use yoga as a way to work through it.
Along with our period comes a hormonal shift.
It’s common to have things that didn’t normally bother you come up and you react, or something you’ve been dwelling on can be expressed. I recommend seizing this opportunity to go in, explore yourself and your emotions, look within and see what needs to be expressed.
Listen to your body.
It is debated that you should stay away from yoga while menstruating. Here is what I say to this, listen to your body. What is it telling you? If you start doing yoga and the poses just don’t feel right or hurt, then stop. If you have an extremely heavy menstrual cycle you may want to wait a day or two before practicing yoga. I just want you to realize that all women are different in regards to menstruation. There are no set rules to practicing during menstruation. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
Avoid these moves.
I also want to mention that there are some moves I would recommend that you stay away from. You should not do Inversions. Thinking about how we menstruate it’s good to allow gravity to work the way it should. By doing inversions you are putting pressure on your uterus and not allowing the blood to flow out. Avoid strong back bends, deep twist of the abdomen or any arm balances.
Lifestyle changes assist with menstruation.
To begin I would like to talk about how you can make subtle changes in your lifestyle to help negate negative side effects from your cycle.
1. Drink your water. Adding a little lemon to it for detoxification wouldn’t hurt.
2. Increase your healthy fats. Fish oil is an anti-inflammatory and very well tolerated. If you don’t have fish oils, head for your avocadoes, coconut oils and such.
3. Clean up your diet. Eating whole foods like fruits and veggies and avoid processed food and foods high in sugar that could cause additional inflammation in the body.
4. Exercise. We know that exercise not only increases blood flow throughout the body but it also releases endorphins. If you are able to use exercise as stress reliever, you’ll receive bonus happy effects.
Why choose yoga as your form of exercise?
Yoga stimulates reproductive organs which leads to them functioning better. It reduces stress and aids in relaxation, yoga regulates your metabolism and it works to balances your hormones.
Poses to help relieve menstrual pain.
I am going to show you a couple poses to perform on your own at home to help relieve some of the pain, but if you are looking for a full free version of my class (click here).
Child’s Pose- Balasana
Child’s pose is a great pose to allow your body to relax but it also flexes your reproductive organs, as well as releases tension in your back, shoulders, and neck. You can hold it as long as you would like. You can also walk your hands from side to side to help stretch your sides.
To get into child’s pose start in tabletop position with your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders. From tabletop, spread your knees out wide and bring your big toes to touch. Sit your hips back while extending your arms out. Bring your chest and forehead down to the mat.
Head to knee- Janu Sirsasana
Head to knee is a forward bend. This pose is good to help stimulate the abdomen and reproductive organs. Head to knee is nice because it can be modified to your experience level and still has the same benefits. This yoga pose supports your reproductive and digestive system, relieves anxiety, fatigue, headaches, menstrual cramps, and can even help sooth mild depression.
To get into Head to Knee, start in a seated position. Extend one leg out to the side while bending the other bringing your foot into your inner thigh. Ground in through your sit bones and then rotate your torso towards your straight leg. Inhale and on your exhale bring your hands to your shin, ankle, or foot and your chest towards your knee.
Leg up the wall- Viparita Karani
Now this is a slight inversion but just your legs are elevated. If you don’t have a door or wall to put your legs up then use a chair or your couch for a modified version. This pose is beneficial for so many reasons. It improves circulation and digestion, lowers blood pressure, boosts energy levels, and soothes the nervous system.
To get into it legs up the wall, lay sideways as close to your object as possible and kick your legs up while laying your abdomen down. You can keep your arms beside you or bend them and flip your palms up into cactus arms.
Reclining twist- bharadvaja
One of the most popular poses for dealing with menstrual pain is the reclining twist. Your back and hips get a nice gentle stretch and your digestive organs are getting just as much stimulation due to the fresh blood flow from this pose.
To get into Reclining Twist start on your back with your knees bent and feet on the mat. Lift your hips up and bring them to one side of the mat. Allow your bent legs to fall over to the opposite side of the mat. Open your arms out into a T position and look over your opposite shoulder from the knees.
These poses can be performed every day or when you feel like you need them most. Take your time while in each pose to tune into what your body is telling you about what your body needs. Be intentional about taking the time to slow down and tune in. You deserve it, especially during this time.