5 Yoga Poses to Help with Menstrual Cramps
Yoga has been proven to assist in relieving period cramps and were here to share 5 yoga poses anyone can do to help with your menstrual cramps.
Did you know yoga can actually help relieve menstrual pain and cramps? No we didn't mean lying in savasana on your bed. We mean that there are certain poses that can be done to help provide some relief when you experience pain during your time of the month. If you practice yoga more often, these benefits will be heighted but even doing period yoga for 5 minutes can help ease your most stubborn period pains.
So why do Yoga for menstrual cramps?
Doing something physical may feel like the last thing you want to do but some yoga positions can be very effective in reducing pain. Yoga isn’t just about external flexibility. The impact of many poses also benefits your organs, acting as a sort of internal massage. Usually one will experience period pain/cramps in the belly, pelvis, hips, and lower back. These are all areas that can be targeted for pain relief through certain yoga poses. As well, the emotional symptoms of PMS can be reduced by yoga, providing an added benefit.
Different poses have different benefits but we’ve rounded up 5easy poses to help you get started. Whether you have yoga experience or not, watch the videos below to learn how to ease your period pains.
1. Bound Angle Pose
Diarrhea and constipation are par for the course when it comes to periods, thanks to the release of prostaglandins that cause your uterus to contract. Not super fun but, thankfully, bound angle pose can help. Not only does it soothe your digestive system but it can also provide relief from painful menstrual cramps.
Cat-cow is a moving pose that will target your back, neck, and abdominal muscles. You will start on hands and knees, hands aligned under your shoulders and knees aligned under your hips. For cow pose you will start by slowly breathing in while you stretch your tailbone towards the sky and drop your belly towards the ground beginning to arch the back, ending with lifting you head upwards. For the exhale we will move into cat pose where you will start by rounding the tailbone back under you, and rounding your spine from bottom to top. Your head will be the last to roll under as you gently push the ground away from you and stretch your back muscles. You will continue switching back and forth while you inhale and exhale and repeat 5-20 times.
3. Reclined Bound Angle
Reclined bound angle is similar to bound angle but you’re leaning back instead of forward. And the list of PMS symptoms that this pose helps is extensive—from fatigue and insomnia to anxiety to headaches, your period doesn’t stand a chance against this relaxing post. Since you’re leaning back into the pose, your abdominal muscles relax which can help ease cramping.
To start lie down on your back, and pull your heals towards your pelvis. Let your knees drop to the side as you press the soles of your feet together. Place your hands on your belly or beside your body. Make sure to breathe deeply and slowly, 5 second count inwards and 5 seconds out. Hold for a few minutes.
4. Child’s Pose
Child’s pose is one of the most familiar yoga poses and targets menstrual pain quite well. It does this by flexing your reproductive organs, as well as releasing tension in your back, shoulders, and neck. If you’re among the masses of uterus owners who feel achy in the muscles and joints during menstruation, you’ll love this simple pose. Stay in it as long as you want—the calming effects it has on your mind are just as beneficial as the relaxation your body will feel.
To get into a child's pose, start with your knees on the floor. You may want to widen your knees farther apart than you typically would for this pose to aid in relief in the hips. Fold forward, extend the arms out front, and bend down as far as you can comfortably go. If possible let your forehead rest on the mat. Breathe slowly for five counts in and five founts out, using your belly rather than your chest. You can also turn your head from one side to the other, or reach your arms to one diagonal and the other to increase the stretch through the lats.
5. Reclining Twist
One of the most popular poses for dealing with menstrual pain is the reclining twist. Why? Because it feels good and helps the lower back and lower belly greatly, which is much-needed if you’re dealing with aches and pains from your period. Also it is bringing fresh blood flow to your digestive organs.
First, lie flat on your back. Bend your left knee, and then lower it to the right side. Look to your left, and reach your arms out wide, your palms flat against the ground. You will want to stay here for five or more breaths.
Extend your left leg back to the ground, and repeat the pose with your right leg bending to the right. This pose should relax your back, hips, and shoulders. Repeat 5 to 10 times on each side.
Even if it doesn't feel like much, doing some form of exercise or stretching has been proven to help relieve period pain and cramps to varying degrees. Practicing yoga for a few minutes every day is something easy that can get you moving even on the worst days.
*Disclaimer: These poses are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any pain or issue you may have. Please contact your doctor for medical advice.