Every woman is different and everyone handles pain differently. There are certain symptoms that we will experience during our monthly cycles and these symptoms can vary depending on age and stage of life. Because our hormones control the menstrual cycle, our bodies go through many changes during the phases of the cycle. Some of them are physical such as bloating, pain in the abdomen and lower back pain while others are invisible, for example all emotional symptoms such as feelings of anxiety, tiredness or irritability.
Instead of indulging in cravings or taking pain meds, getting your body moving might be the solution for you. Studies have shown yoga to have immediate effect on pain besides many other positive benefits on the whole body. Since yoga helps us focusing more on breathing, it helps relieving pain and stress very effectively. When you are experiencing your worst PMS days try these easy yoga poses, you will be surprised how effective they are for menstrual cramps.
1. Head-to-Knee Forward Bend (Janu Sirsasana)
This yoga pose starts with you right leg out, left foot in, the sole of you foot creating a little pressure on your inner thigh. Bring your arms over your head, turn your torso to your straight leg and round down to grab your foot and rest your forehead on you knee. Bend your knee as much as you need to, the important part is that your forehead is rested on your knee and make sure to breath slowly and deeply in this position. Hold the pose for up to 5 minutes. This asana stretches the spine, and helps relieve menstrual discomfort and anxiety.
2. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
This yoga pose effectively opens the hips and groins, besides relieving pain and helping the ovaries to function properly. Begin the asana seated, make sure that your spine is straight. Press the soles of your feet together and let your knees drop open to both sides. Never force your knees, just gently let them drop open. Clasp your big toes with two fingers or hold on to your ankles, sit up straight and extend through the length of your entire spine. Stay in this pose for up to five minutes. Breathe!
3. One Legged King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
To get into this position correctly, you have to begin on all fours. Knees directly below the hips, hands slightly ahead of your shoulders, slide your right knee forward and bring your right foot to the front of your left knee. Now you can slowly slide your left leg back and straighten the left knee. If your hips are floating, you can place a blanket under your hip. Exhale and lay your torso down slowly on the inner left thigh. Stretch your arms forward, a couple of deep breaths here and lift your torso away from the thigh. Change sides.
4. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Bow pose is not only highly beneficial for your back but is also great for lengthening and stretching the front side of your body stimulating through the reproductive organs. Lay down on your belly, bend your knees, hold your feet just below your toes and lift up into a full bow pose. Hold this asana for 5 to 8 breaths and than gently lower down.
5. Wide Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Balasana or Child’s pose is a resting pose that helps relieve stress and also stretches the back and neck. It is especially effective on lower back pain. Kneel on the floor, make sure that the your big toes touch and sit on your heels. Widen your knees to a comfortable distance – about as wide as your hips – exhale, than lay your torso down between your thighs. Extending your arms in front of you rest your forehead on the floor. Stay in the pose for up to five minutes and breath deeply.
6. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Camel pose is fantastic for mild back pain, anxiety and menstrual discomfort. By stretching out the abs and the front of the hips, it can also relieve cramps. Start by kneeling on the mat, with your legs hip width apart, the sole of your feet facing the ceiling. Place your palms on the tops of the buttocks, fingers pointing to knees and slowly start bending backwards. If you are not comfortable going further stay there for a few breaths, or keep going backwards and drop your palms to the soles of the feet, or ankles. Stay in this posture for a couple of breaths.
7. Reclined Spinal Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana)
With the help of the Reclined Spinal Twist pose you can give a gentle massage to abdominal organs, encourage the fresh flow of blood throughout the body and improve digestion. Begin lying comfortably on your back, bend your right knee and extend your arms out alongside the body in a “T” formation. Place the right knee on the floor and look at opposite direction. You can hold your knee down with your left hand or just rest it on the floor. Breath into your belly and stay in the pose for a few minutes.
8. Yogic Squat (Malasana)
Malasana works wonders on the metabolism and also helps relieving menstrual cramps and constipation, plus relieves lower back pain. Begin standing, place your feet a little wider than hip distance apart. Slowly bend the knees and squat down, but don’t to let the knees extend forward beyond the alignment of the feet. Push your palms together in front of your chest and use the elbows to push back against the inner knees. Make sure that your back is straight and the feet are flat on the floor. If the heels come up place foam blocks or a rolled up blanket under them.
9. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
The Cobra pose is another great one, that stretches the abdomen thus relieving the body of menstrual pain. It also reduces fatigue and stress. Lie down on your belly with your feet hips distance apart. Place your hands flat on either side of your chest, inhale and lift your chest up and forward. It is important to keep the elbows slightly bent (instead of flaring the elbows out, causing a hunching) and to pull your shoulders back, keeping the neck long.
10. Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
This asana is not only super easy but it is also great for your body. Lay on your back, stretch your legs up towards the ceiling and rest your legs on the wall. Spread your arms, palms facing the ceiling. In this pose your are flattening out your lower lumbar spine, taking off the pressure of it and relaxing the abdomen. You can finish your yoga session with this asana. Stay in this pose for as long as you like.