Period pain is the worst. And when you’re popped every pill and used every hot water bottle it can be hard to know what else to try.
But yoga is known for being incredibly healing and can even help to relieve some of the nastiest symptoms.
On the eve of International Yoga Day – it seems like a good time to share these yogi-approved moves that can help you banish the cramps for good.
Intimate health brand Intimina, wants to encourage more women to get up and get active while experiencing their periods, and to show the benefits of alternative period pain management methods.
They partnered with Vinyasa Flow yoga instructor Flo Lefebvre, to share their top tips for using yoga as a way of easing pain.
Start by deepening the breath.
In yoga, most breathing exercises are done with the mouth closed, but don’t feel you need to stick with tradition on that one.
Inhale through the nose and feel free to exhale through the mouth (instead of the nose) if it comes more naturally to you. Then make your exhalations longer than your inhalations.
You can use a count: 5 on the inhale and 8 on the exhale. Do a minimum of 10 cycles, but do as many as you wish.
This legs up the wall pose will relieve the legs, which often feel heavy during that time.
Sit with your right hip to the wall (profile) and from there, swivel your legs up and lie down on your back. Your body will be in a L-shape.
You can raise the back of your pelvis with a folded blanket. Feel free to bend your knees if your hamstrings feel tight.
Full forward bend as practiced on Yin Yoga
A well-known yoga pose to alleviate menstrual discomfort by stretching the back and encouraging discharge thanks to the gentle pressure of the abdomen against the thighs.
Start by sitting with your legs out in front, raise your seat with a folded blanket for added comfort and lean forward over your legs.
Modify this pose by bending your knees if you need to; you could also place a support such as a bolster or folded blanket across the back of your knees.
Rest your forehead on a cushion and let yourself melt into the pose. This pose is said to have a calming and re-energising effect on the body.
Supported butterfly pose
This is a nurturing way of opening the hips, another area which can feel restricted and tight during this time of the month.
Lie on your back either on the floor or with a bolster along the spine with the soles of the feet together to form a diamond shape.
Place blocks under your outer thighs to support the legs. Remember: you are not after a strong stretch but a sense of release instead.
Apanasana or knees to chest pose
We often feel like curling up into a little ball when period pains kick in.
It is a nice way to apply gentle pressure on your abdominal area, acting as a massage as you breathe deeply in and out.
You can also roll from side to side to massage your back and follow up with drawing circles with your knees still together to really target the lower back which is also a sensitive area during moon cycles.
This is due to contractions in the uterus which ripple through the pelvic region via a web of nerves.
Jathara parivartanāsana or revolved abdomen pose
This pose gently stretches the lower back.
From Apanasana, open your arms to the sides at shoulder-height and roll over to your right. After 10 breaths, switch sides.
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