Yoga for Period Cramps: 5 Poses for Natural Pain Relief

At that time of the month, many women suffer from menstrual pain – or to give it its medical name, dysmenorrhea (pronounced dis–men–o–ree–a). The pain can be a dull throbbing or cramping in the lower abdomen that occurs just before and during your periods.

Pain relief medication can relieve the pain of cramps, but there are more natural solutions that can help fix the source of the pain. Contrary to the general period myth, exercise is actually recommended during your period as it helps to release endorphins – the body’s natural painkiller – meaning light workouts can reduce period cramps and pains.

Try these 5 yoga techniques to relieve your cramps, ranging from easy to advanced poses.

Child’s Pose Is Great For Lower Back Pain And Super Easy To Do.

Level: Easy

Child's Pose Yoga

How to do this pose: Begin in a kneeling position. Lower your buttocks towards your heels. Sit up straight, then exhale and stretch your body down and forward, so that your stomach rests on top of your thighs. Extend your arms above your head, and rest them along the floor, and rest your forehead on the mat. Keep your gaze drawn inward with your eyes closed. You should feel a light stretch in your shoulders and buttocks, and down the length of your spine and arms. Hold for up to a minute or longer, breathing softly. If you’d like to get into a deeper pose, you can open your hips by pointing your knees to the edge of the mat in a triangle formation.

To release, use your hands to gently walk your body upright and sit back on your heels.

Tip: If you have difficulty resting your buttocks on your heels, place a thickly folded blanket between the backs of your thighs and your calves.

Supine Twist Stretches and Strengthens the Lower Back To Ease Cramps.

Level: Easy

Supine Twist Yoga pose

How to do this pose: Begin be laying flat on your back with your legs extended. As you inhale, bring one knee to your chest and stretch it towards your shoulder. As you exhale, fold the knee across the body to the opposite side, all while one leg is still extended. Keep in mind that your back should still be flush against the ground, with just the hips rotating. Rotate your head so that it is facing away from the direction your knee is pointing. Now switch legs. Remember to assist your knee back to center with your arm. This pose is great for stretching the lower back and there is no need to move quickly. Also make sure every pose you do is repeated equally on both sides of the body.

Tip: If you have limited mobility in your hips, you can do this pose with a pillow resting under the pointed knee. If you need a deeper stretch, ask a friend to help you by applying pressure to your knee and opposite shoulder.

Happy Baby Massages Out the Spine and Gets You to Smile

Level: Intermediate

Happy Baby Yoga Pose

How to do this pose: If you’re new to yoga, the happy baby pose may look a bit silly, but it’s wonderful for rolling out your spine and harnessing natural kinetic movement. Lie on your back and bring your knees close to your chest with your heels parallel to the ceiling. Your knees should be close to your armpits. Grab the outside edges of your feet and slowly start to rock side to side and back and forth. Don’t forget to smile ear-to-ear and channel your inner child.

Tip: If your chin extends upward of your shoulders come off the ground from lack of flexibility, grab your ankles or shins instead. What’s important is that your chest remains open and flush against the ground.

Bow Pose Stretches The Whole Front Of Your Body Easing Cramps And Bloating.

Level: Intermediate

Bow Yoga Pose

How to do this pose: Begin by lying on your stomach with your feet hip width apart and your arms by your side. While exhaling, bend your knees and stretch out your hands to hold your outer ankles. Breathe in and lift your heels up towards the ceiling, raising your thighs up and off the mat. Your head and chest will also lift up off the mat. Draw your heels and thighs up higher and bring your shoulder blades into your upper back. Look forward while breathing softly. Hold the pose for fifteen to twenty seconds. To release, exhale and slowly lower your thighs before letting go of your ankles and lowering your legs and feet to the floor. Return to your starting position and relax.

Tip: Do not practice this pose if you have a low-back or neck injury, or have low or high blood pressure.

Camel Pose Stretches Both Abdominal Muscles And Hip Flexors, Relieving Pain And Discomfort.

Level: Advanced

Camel Pose Yoga

How to do this pose: Kneel on the mat, with your knees hip width apart. Place your hands on your hips. The tops of your feet should be resting on the mat.  Lengthen your spine and lean backwards, placing your hands on your heels. If it is difficult for you to touch your hands to your feet, tuck your toes in to elevate your heels. Elongate your neck and let your head curl backwards.  For a deeper stretch, raise one arm alongside your ear while holding your heel with the other. Hold for 2 breaths, and then change arms. Hold this pose for around 5 breaths.

Tip: Be careful not to bring your head so far back that you strain your neck. Keep your neck extended and in a comfortable position throughout the pose.

Yoga poses like the five above help to relieve period pain through gentle stretching. However, it should be noted that yoga poses that involve inversion (where the pelvis is raised above the head) are often discouraged for women during their period. Take it easy when you are doing yoga for period pains, and focus on soothing breathing and relaxation. If you go to yoga class, don’t feel pressured to keep up with the rest of the class – go at your pace and consider talking to your teacher before class. They’ll tell you the poses you should avoid.

After yoga practice, you can try a relaxing bath to help further soothe away aches or pains and help you feel like yourself again.

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