Yoga Poses for Menstrual Cramps- Stay Active and Pain-free
While it is a natural process for any women to have menstruation but the pain that comes with menstruation does not have to be part of your monthly cycle. Every women experiences menstruation differently, while some go through irritable mood and adequate mood swings, others feel nausea, pain and soreness which results in mood swings as well. That time of the month called menstruation cycle comes with the pain that throws apart all your regular activites, causes mood swings and imbalances work and life balance, thanks to menstruation for that urgh. While it feels better to rest during menstruation and of course you should slow down your activities during menstruation but our body also needs blood circulation and sufficient oxygen supply to the uterus to help ease the pain. Thus not moving around at all can worsen the pain.
It may seem convenient to pop painkillers but they only work to reduce your pain temporarily plus they have side-effects too. The side effects not only involve bleeding disorders and stomach problems but also could cause damage to your kidneys and lead to fertility issues based on a articles published by Medical Daily and Times of India. Another problem is with the increased dosage of pills, your body stops reacting to those painkillers and you will find yourself taking more pills to get rid of pain.
Why do you get cramps?
During periods, your body releases a hormone called prostaglandin which causes your uterus to contract strongly. These contractions reduce the supply of oxygen to the uterus and the lack of oxygen results in menstrual pain. That is why women who exercise atleast twice a week will experience little or no pain during menstruation.
I will share some yoga poses for menstrual cramps with you that stretches your pelvis, lower abdomen and lower back to help relieve pain, which will be followed by some natural yogic remedies for pain relief.
Yoga poses for Menstrual cramps
1. Twist the Spine Pose (Ardha Matyendrasana)
If your lower or upper back hurts then Twist the Spine pose is my favourite pose as it relieves both back pain and cramps in the stomach. The gentle twisting massages the spine and internal organs of the abdomen. This pose promotes blood and oxygen flow to the uterus, to reduce the frequency and impact of painful contractions.
2. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Prevent mood swings with Cobra Pose as it will calm your mind by reducing stress and anxiety. Cobra pose strengthens and stretches the back muscles and also helps relieve the most common problem during menstruation that is fatigue .This pose increases the oxygen intake which thereby helps rejuvenate the cells in your body.
3. Steps for the Seated Forward Bend Pose
- Sit down in a butterfly pose by bringing the inner part of both your feets to touch each other, so that your heels are pointing towards the pelvis.
- Keep your back straight
- Exhale and start bending gently forward without humping your back, do not force your body to bend too far, only bend as much as you can (place a bolster or pillow on your lap if you find it difficult).
- Continue deep breathing, With every exhale try to push your head a little closer to your feet.
- Stay in the pose as long as you can.
- Inhale and sit back straight.
- Continue this pose for 3-4 times.
4. Steps for the Butterfly pose (Baddha konasana)
- While sitting straight in the butterfly pose, pull your legs closer towards your pelvic.
- With both your hands hold your feet together so that the heels of your feet are closer to the pelvis.
- Slowly Start moving both your knees together in a up and down position like a butterfly.
This is a very powerful pose to reduce cramps on your thigh and feet, makes your legs stronger and opens up the hip. It strengthens the pelvic muscles and helps cure reproductive issues. Try practicing this pose before period as well, to help loosen your muscles and reduce soreness.
5. Steps for the Cat Pose (Marjariasana)
- Bring your body on your arms and knees like in a table top position.
- Shoulders should be aligned right above your wrists and hips right above your knees.
- Exhale and slowly tilt your hip towards the right side, turn your head to the right side to look at your hip.
- Inhale and bring your body back to the center.
- Again exhale and tilt your hip towards the left also turn your head to the left side to look at your hip.
- Repeat this 3 times on each side.
- Remain in the table top position and start to rotate your hips in circles.
- Continue the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
6. Steps for the Child Pose (Balasana)
- Bend your knees and sit down on your heels, with your big toes touching each other.
- Make sure your knees are wide apart.
- Exhale and gently start bending forward with your arms reaching out from the top of your head to the floor.
- Slowly reach your hands to the floor, with the support of your hands allow your body to continue to bend down all way on the floor.
- Keep your arms straight reaching out on the floor, with palms facing the floor.
- Allow your forehead to rest on the mat.
- Keep pushing yours hips towards the back to allow your spine to lengthen.
- Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to 5 minutes, continue deep breathing while concentrating on your breath.
- Inhale while placing your palms under your shoulders and slowly sit up straight.
- Continue doing this pose for another 1-2 times.
This is one of the best pose for your body to relax during transition. Its helps stretch and lengthen your spine thereby avoiding compression and back problems. Focusing on your breath relieves you from the stress and reduces your sensitivity to mood swings during menstruation.
7. Steps for Vajrasana Yoga Mudra (Pelvic Pose)
- Sit down with your spine straight on your heels, your toes should be flat.
- Knees should be touching each other but make sure toes don’t touch each other.
- Keep your shoulders away from your ears.
- Place your both your hands straight on your knees.
- Focus on your breath while breathing deeply.
- Sit for 2-5 minutes or as long as you can .
This is an excellent pose for calming your mind. Sitting on your legs helps improve blood flow to the abdomen area which helps ease stomach problems.
Caution– The invereted poses should be avoided during periods such as the shoulder stand, head stand and the plow poses. As blood flows downwards, we do not want to reverse the natural blood flow during period.
Besides trying my yoga poses for menstrual cramps, it is also a good idea to try these herbs out as they have proven to be very effective home remedies for pain relief.
Ginger has strong medicinal properties to treat muscle pain
Ginger is a very effective spice for relieving menstrual pain. While it can help to losen up stiff muscles, it can also prevent any irregularities in your period cycle. Simply boil a cup of water with ginger added to it, allow it to boil for 5 minutes. Add honey and lemon to it and you have your ginger tea ready. Drink it 3 times a day and you will see a difference in the pain. If you are not a big fan of ginger tea, then you might the options which are not as effective as the ginger tea but still helpful consider sucking on ginger candies or adding ginger to your food.
Fennel is added to colic water for babies for upset stomach
You must have heard of gripe water that is given to colicky babies or to help babies ease stomach discomfort? So the main ingredient in the gripe water is fennel as it has antiflammatory properties that help prevent stomach problems. Add fennel seeds to boling water, let it boil for 5 minutes, add one teaspoon honey and drink it warm. Start consuming this tea 3 days for 2 times daily before your cycle starts.
Our bodies are very delicate during menstruation. Any type of stress, change in diet can effect our menstruation cycle. Any kind of stress during menstruation adds up as we are mentally and physically sensitive therefore it effects us strongly. Menstruation is a time to nourish your body and take care of it, to allow it to self heal. Therefore yoga will help your body fight through stress and calm your mind and muscles to a relaxation state.