If you feel like your uterus is seeking some sort of revenge for not becoming pregnant during your period each month, you’re not alone! Over 80% of people with periods experience uncomfortable symptoms, including painful and sometimes debilitating cramps. And while sometimes we really don’t feel like moving out of bed or off the couch during our period, gentle movement such as yoga can actually be extremely effective for relieving period pain. Plus, keeping up a regular yoga practice throughout your cycle will make your mind feel that little bit more zen if your moods are a bit up and down, or if you are dealing with a more serious emotional condition such as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.
Here are 5 yoga poses for period cramps that you need to try:
Stretching forward in child’s pose helps to open the hips and stretch out the lower back to relieve aches and cramping. If you are doing a more active yoga practice, this is an excellent pose to return to when you need a rest. You can make the stretch more active by reaching your hands forward onto the floor and coming up onto your fingertips while pushing your hips towards the mat.
Seated forward fold
You know when your period pain is radiating down through your hips and legs? This is THE yoga pose for that. Forward folds help you to stretch out the hamstrings and relieve any tension your body may be holding in this zone during your period. Don’t worry if you can’t reach your toes, simply reach forward as far as you can while keeping your back relatively flat (avoid hunching over).
Seated spinal twist
Spinal twists are believed to help stimulate and detoxify the abdominal organs (think of it like wringing out a wet towel), and this posture will help to release lower back pain too. Hold for a few minutes on each side, while breathing into your belly to ease any tension in the body and mind.
Reclined butterfly pose
This soothing posture will help to ease any stress or anxiety you might be feeling during your period, while allowing you to completely relax your belly and the front of your body. If this stretch is too much for your hips, you can place yoga blocks or cushions under your knees to support them. Hold this posture for anywhere from 1-10 minutes, making a conscious effort to breathe deeply into your belly.
Bow pose is an energizing backbend and makes a great pick-me-up if you are feeling low energy during your period. This pose also stimulates the reproductive organs and offers a strong stretch through the front of the body to ease tension. If you aren’t able to reach your feet just yet, don’t worry - using a yoga strap to connect your hand to each foot makes this pose achievable even if you aren’t flexible.
Images: Eckhart Yoga