Yoga in the days of menstruation

You start feeling the pangs a couple of days before it actually starts. There is this nauseating feeling and a dull ache in the pit of your abdomen – exactly like the lull before the storm. When you do get your periods, the pain either intensifies or comes to you intermittently. But it’s always there, isn’t it?

Not just the pain, the storm brings along a myriad of other discomforts like vomiting, headaches, bloating, cramps, pelvic pain, pain in your lower limbs, fatigue, emotional distress and irritability. And we women go through the storm like a shero. There’s not a single drop of doubt about it.

However, to beat those uncomfortable pangs of pain and other symptoms, and to sail through the storm more comfortably, you can try the below listed Yoga poses. You can continue them throughout the month or practise them during the bloody days. They are definitely going to help you better without adding the stress of impending side effects from the pills that you pop now.

Yoga

 

  1. Balasana or Child’s Pose

Why?

  • It’s one of the easiest and simple poses to start with.
  • It helps you relax, physically as well as mentally.
  • It flexes your reproductive organs and gives it an internal massage enabling regular blood flow.
  • It stretches your low back muscles and releases the tension in your back, shoulders and neck.
  • It calms your mind; lets you focus on your breathing and in turn takes your mind off the dull pain.
  • It relieves you from fatigue.

How?

  1. Sit on your knees.
  2. Relax through your hips.
  3. Let your torso rest upon the tops of your thighs.
  4. Stretch the arms outwards in front of you.
  5. Breathe deeply and focus on the rise and fall of your breath.

 

  1. Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose

Why?

  • It’s another easy pose that you can master.
  • It improves your mood and beats down stress.
  • It helps in shedding lethargy.
  • It stretches the muscles in your chest, shoulders and abdominal area.
  • It reduces the stiffness in the lower back and hip region.
  • It also enhances blood circulation in the spinal region.
  • It eases the menstrual discomfort.

How?

  1. Lie down on your stomach, feet close to each other, toes stretched backwards and your forehead touching the mat.
  2. Place your hands, palms facing downwards, just below your shoulders.
  3. As you exhale, lift your head and chest slowly and then your back.
  4. Your arms can initially stay bent at elbows and once you are accustomed to the pose, you can straighten your arms.
  5. Do not forget to put equal pressure on both arms and not lean on any one side.
  6. Keep your body locked in that position as you inhale and exhale slowly.
  7. You can exhale slowly and return to the original position and then repeat it at least three times.

 

 

  1. Apanasana or Knees-to-Chest Pose

Why?

  • It is a feel-good posture which also lowers anxiety and calms your mind.
  • It relaxes the muscles of your lower back and abdomen, relieving the tension and reducing the cramps.
  • It improves the blood circulation in your abdominal area and hence, takes care of your reproductive organs during this distress.
  • It also helps in getting rid of bloating experienced during the menstruation.

How?

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Pull your knees together and hold them against your abdomen.
  3. Inhale and exhale while staying in that pose.
  4. You can also rock your body from side to side or front to back to relax your back muscles.
  5. Release yourself from the pose and repeat at least three times.

  1. Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bend Pose

Why?

  • It gets the blood flowing in your body and hence, keeps the bodily functions in order to reduce the pain.
  • It eases the pain in your lower limbs.
  • It stretches your spine and hips.
  • It relaxes your mind and the nerves.
  • It lowers the occurrences of bloating.

How?

  1. Stand straight.
  2. Place your feet parallel to your shoulders.
  3. Grab your opposite elbows and bend over.

 

  1. Janu Sirsasana or One-Legged Head-to-Knee Forward Bend

Why?

  • It reduces menstrual discomfort.
  • It takes away fatigue.
  • It calms your brain, reduces anxiety and helps in cases of mild depression.
  • It stretches the muscles in your shoulders, hamstrings and groin area.
  • It lowers the stiffness in your spinal area.

How?

  1. Stretch out your legs after sitting down on your mat.
  2. Flex your right knee outward to a straight angle.
  3. Fold your other leg and press the foot into your inner right thigh.
  4. Hold your right shin or foot.
  5. Lengthen your torso over the straightened right leg instead of forming a round.
  6. Return to your original pose and change your legs.
  7. Repeat at least three times.

  1. Marjaiasana – Bitilasana or Cat-Cow Pose

Why?

  • It warms up the body which in turn will help in getting relief from menstrual cramps.
  • It stretches and tones the muscles on your back and abdomen.
  • It also restores the emotional balance which may have been haywire during your menstrual cycle.
  • It releases the tension in your pelvic region as well as improves the circulation in that same area.

How?

  1. Start by placing your hands and knees on the mat.
  2. As you inhale, round your back and allow your head and tailbone to release towards the ground.
  3. When you exhale, arch your spine. Allow your head and tailbone to point upwards.
  4. Return to original pose and repeat at least five times.

  1. Supta Matsyendrasana or Reclined Spinal Twist Pose

Why?

  • It stimulates your digestive organs and thus, helping in getting rid of bloating and other gastrointestinal distress.
  • The twist is supposed to detox and refresh your internal organs, thereby releasing the tension and easing your nerves.
  • It helps in getting relief from menstrual cramps.
  • It also releases the tension from your lower back muscles as well as the hips region.

How?

  1. Lie down on your back with your arms stretched outwards on either side of your body.
  2. Pull one leg over and across your body.
  3. Bend your knee slightly to avoid any muscle tension.
  4. Twist your body slowly towards the bent leg but keep your arms stretched out as they were.
  5. Look towards the arm opposite to the bent leg.
  6. You should relax during this pose and not let any tension build up in your body.

  1. Baddha Konasana or Bound Angle Pose or Butterfly Pose

Why?

  • It can help you get recharged if feeling fatigued.
  • It stimulates your reproductive organs and keeps the blood circulation in good health.
  • It even helps in cases of diarrhoea and bloating during the days of periods.
  • It saves you from menstrual cramps.

How?

  1. Sit down on the floor with a straight spine.
  2. Bend your knees by bringing your feet as close as possible.
  3. Grab your feet tightly with your hands.
  4. Breathe normally.
  5. Flap your legs like the wings of a butterfly by bringing them up and down.
  6. Rest and repeat.

  1. Dhanurasana or Bow Pose

Why?

  • It strengthens your abdominal muscles.
  • It stretches all your muscles, releasing the built-up tension and relaxing your body.
  • It helps in case of constipation.
  • It reduces menstrual discomfort and alleviates the pain.
  • It also stimulates the reproductive organs and keeps the blood flow normally.

How?

  1. Lie down on your belly.
  2. Place your hands beside your hips, your palms facing upwards.
  3. Bend your knees slowly.
  4. Stretch out your hands to grab your ankles.
  5. Now slowly breathe in and raise your body to form a bow-like pose.
  6. Hold your breath and try to stay in that position for a bit.
  7. As you exhale, slowly release your ankles from your hold and lower your body.
  8. Repeat at least five times.

  1. Ushtrasana or Camel Pose

Why?

  • It helps in getting relief from back pain.
  • It alleviates menstrual cramps and abdominal discomfort.
  • It also helps in beating anxiety and fatigue.
  • It strengthens your back muscles and stretches your torso, thighs and groin.
  • Additionally, it helps in improving your posture.

How?

  1. Kneel on the floor with your knees at a hips-width distance.
  2. Press your shins and feet firmly on the floor.
  3. Rest your hands on the back of your heels.
  4. As you inhale, lift your chest and pull your shoulders down towards the ribs.
  5. As you exhale, push your hips forward and arch your back.
  6. It’s better if you press your toes into the floor to life the heels higher.
  7. Place your hands firmly on your heels to stabilize the pose.
  8. Drop your head backwards and breathe steadily.
  9. Stay in the pose for 30 seconds and relax.
  10. Repeat at least three times.

 

  1. Shavasana or Resting Corpse Pose

Why?

  • It relaxes your entire body but especially the abdominal as well as vaginal muscles.
  • It helps calm your mind and reduces emotional distress.
  • It will regulate your breathing and hence aid in proper blood circulation.
  • It rests your whole physique and releases the tension built up in the body.
  • It also enhances your ability to concentrate.

How?

  1. Lie down on your back.
  2. Keep your arms beside you, palms facing upwards.
  3. Your body should be completely relaxed.
  4. Close your eyes.
  5. Start breathing slowly and deeply.
  6. Focus on feeling your parts of the body.

Shavasana

 

References:

  1. https://www.lunette.com/blogs/news/7-yoga-poses-to-help-ease-menstrual-pain
  2. https://www.artofliving.org/yoga/yoga-for-women/yoga-for-menstrual-cramps
  3. https://www.ndtv.com/health/6-yoga-poses-to-relieve-women-of-menstrual-cramps-1871669
  4. https://www.doyou.com/6-yoga-poses-to-relieve-menstrual-cramps-37359/
  5. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/health-wellness-and-safety-resources/helping-hands/yoga-exercises-and-menstrual-cramps
  6. https://www.thehealthsite.com/fitness/yoga-asana/try-dhanurasana-or-the-bow-pose-to-relieve-menstrual-pain-237393/
  7. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/Yoga-poses-to-ease-menstrual-cramps/articleshow/54581908.cms
  8. https://www.womentriangle.com/5-yoga-poses-for-relief-in-menstrual-cramps-and-pain/
  9. https://arogyayogaschool.com/blog/health-benefits-of-uttanasana-standing-forward-bend/

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