If you have moderate to severe menstrual cramps, you would surely do almost anything to alleviate them. Something that you may not have tried is yoga. Some yogis recommend taking a break during your period to allow the body to rest and renew, but can yoga help with period pain? Yoga is a natural remedy for just about anything, and PMS (and the cramps that come with it!) Are no exception. Yoga trains deep breathing, which ensures that all tissues are supplied with oxygen and thus relieves pain. There are also certain yoga exercises that massage the abdominal muscles and then stretch them.
Yoga for period pain: what does science say?
According to a review of studies published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2017, yoga can help relieve common menstrual symptoms such as cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The systematic review analyzed the results of 15 studies examining how regular yoga practice affected a woman’s experience with convulsions, PMS, polycystic ovarian syndrome (which causes ovulation disorders), and premenstrual dysphoria (a severe form of PMS) affects. The subjects’ experiences related to both psychological and physical symptoms.
All of the studies found that yoga was associated with decreased symptom severity and pain relief. Some also observed reductions in gas and chest tenderness, improved mood, and greater relaxation and focus.
Yoga appears to relieve symptoms, both physical and mental. “The authors of these studies believe that yoga affects the body’s perception and interpretation of pain, possibly by stimulating the release of natural pain relievers in the body,” said report author Jennifer Oates, a senior lecturer in mental health at King’s College London.
The studies in the review included different types of yoga practices and intensities. Most of the subjects practiced yoga daily or every other day. According to Oats, more research is needed to determine exactly which types of yoga are best for menstrual health and whether they can offer long-term benefits.
Based on her current knowledge, she recommends that healthy women try yoga for menstrual pain. In most studies, women were asked to practice yoga throughout their cycle (rather than just their period) and results were measured over several weeks or months. “I would recommend taking more than one class before deciding whether or not yoga will work for you,” she says.
She also suggests that beginners should start with a gentle hatha class before trying other types of yoga. Courses that focus on breathing and relaxation techniques can also be beneficial for period pain and PMS, she says. Also interesting: 12 myths about yoga that you shouldn’t (anymore) believe
These yoga exercises help with period pain!
Are you plagued by menstrual pain? Try these yoga poses! They relax the abdomen and are simply good for you.
1. The Child Pose (Balasana) + The Rabbit (Shashankasana)
The Kind Pose (Balansana) is the posture of absolute relaxation in yoga and a great way to gently stretch various parts of the body, especially the back, hips, thighs and ankles. This asana can also help relieve back pain.
A variant of the child position that better activates the abdominal organs is Shashankasana. The knees are turned outwards. The focus in this pose is on the uterus, abdomen, groin, spine, shoulders and thighs. This asana improves digestion and relieves constipation.
That’s how it’s done: Kneel on the yoga mat and sit on your heels. Then bring your knees wide apart, with your toes touching. Bend your body forward until your forehead is on the floor. The arms come straight forward. The shoulders drop down. Close your eyes and breathe deeply in and out. Remain in this position for at least 30 seconds.
2. Standing forward bend (Uttanasana)
The standing forward bend is often done as part of the sun salutation routine and is considered a relaxing and stress-relieving asana. Uttanasana stretches the hamstrings and calves and brings flexibility to the spine and pelvis.
That’s how it’s done: The feet can be touching or hip-width apart. Imagine your basin is a bowl of water. Bend forward so the water flows out of the bowl. Take a deep breath and stretch your hands over your head. As you exhale, let your upper body fall forward, your arms hanging loosely. Hold the pose for a minute.
3. The reclining butterfly / goddess (Supta Baddha Konasana)
The reclining butterfly is another relaxing yoga exercise that also opens the hips. This asana relaxes and calms the mind. The muscle group known as the hip flexor is also tensed. Exercise can also relieve discomfort associated with pregnancy. For support, you can place a pillow lengthways behind your sit bones.
That’s how it’s done: Lie on your back on the mat. The legs are loosely bent. Now let your knees fall to the sides. The soles of the feet are closed to each other. Lay your arms relaxed next to you with your palms facing up. If you are unable to rest your knees on the mat, no problem. The goal is to stay in the pose for 5 to 10 minutes while gravity deepens your stretch.
4. The grasshopper (Salabhasana)
The grasshopper is a full-body exercise that intensifies the pressure on the abdomen and thus improves digestion. The exercise strengthens the back and trunk muscles and improves the mobility of the spine. Many everyday activities (like sitting) flex the spine, while the grasshopper pose lengthens it. It opens your chest, which can be helpful in improving your posture. This will also help you breathe better, which can be energizing. This pose tightens the core muscles, glutes, hamstrings, adductors, and calves.
That’s how it’s done: Start from the prone position. As you inhale, lift your torso and legs evenly off the floor. Pull your arms a little towards your hips. Hold the position for as long as you can comfortably. As you exhale, put your legs back down.
5. The squat (Malasana)
The deep squat opens the hips and relieves pain in the groin area while it stretches and strengthens the feet and ankles. While squatting is a matter of course for children and is used as a resting position in many places on earth, most adults in today’s modern world have abandoned this habit. Many people find squatting extremely uncomfortable for their hips and feet.
That’s how it’s done: First, crouch down. Feet are parallel to each other with their entire surface on the floor. Keep your torso and shoulders at 90-degree angles. Open your thighs so that there is a space between them. As you exhale, bend forward and bring your upper body into the space that has been created. Now bring your hands together in front of your heart and press your elbows against the inside of your thighs. Take a stable position and stay in it for 15 to 20 seconds.
6. The bow (Dhanurasana)
The Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) is a yoga exercise that gently massages the abdominal muscles, thereby relieving menstrual pain. It is one of the 12 basic hatha yoga poses. Lifting your torso up and back will open your chest and stretch your back deeply. This pose is a great way to stretch your back after a long day at work. This yoga pose also opens the neck, shoulders, and abdomen. Dhanurasana improves flexibility in the back and promotes balance in the trunk and chest.
That’s how it’s done: Lie flat on your stomach on the mat. Arms bent at chest level. Now bend your knees towards your buttocks and bring your arms to your legs. Grasp your knuckles with your hands. As you inhale, lift your chest off the floor and slowly rock back and forth. After about 10 breaths, release the grip and relax your body.
The most important thing to remember: listen to what your body is telling you and only do the yoga poses that are comfortable for you. Every body is different, and what works for some people may not work for others. Be gentle with yourself and do everything slowly. Periods are a nuisance for women, but hopefully some gentle yoga will make them more bearable.
These yoga exercises should be avoided during your period
While there are certain yoga poses that can help with period pain, there are also some that you should avoid during your period. Many yoga textbooks and yogis advise against doing inverted postures such as head or forearm stances during these days. This includes poses like the bridge and the seated spine rotation.
When you lie on your back and swing your feet above your head, you pave the way for the energy to flow from your Mooladhar chakra (the uterus) to your Manipur chakra (the belly button), which is exactly the opposite of your body during the period is. There is no medical reason to avoid this pose, but it is an asana that can potentially build up excess heat around your pelvic region and generally lead to more discomfort.
Regardless of whether you are a beginner or an advanced yoga practitioner, you shouldn’t put too much strain on yourself during your period. If you’re looking for an alternative, just lie on your back and lean your legs against a wall with your hips on the floor. You will still feel a lower back relaxation without it being too intense.
The seated spine rotation can be overstimulating to the abdominal area, especially if you are doing the full version of the exercise. It puts pressure on your entire pelvic region and pulls it together tightly. This could also be quite painful if you are already experiencing menstrual cramps. While this pose has so many benefits for the back and shoulder girdles, it can cause abdominal pain.
The bridge stretches your pelvis high in the air, forcing you to vigorously stretch your entire core and anterior hip region – this would be painful to your ovaries. Many practitioners also completely forget to breathe while maintaining this posture. So if you want to do a back arch, choose the arch pose – Dhanurasana instead.