As women, we are lucky to have our bodies cleansing and renewing on a monthly basis. However, perhaps we still do not feel that lucky when this special time of the month is accompanied by period cramps and discomfort, not to mention the mood swings and heightened emotions! In this blog Nadiayoga provides a fantastic sequence of yoga for menstrual cramps to help relieve the monthly discomfort.
Period Yoga Sequence To Relieve Menstrual Cramps
When faced with the annoying period cramps, discomfort, mood swings and heightened emotions, luckily we have my best friend yoga at our service.
Yoga in general (and particularly in these cases) has been proven many times to work effectively to relieve pain and discomfort. Apart from the science behind it, I can speak from my personal experience as yogi and the experience from my students as a yoga teacher.
So, lets “get to work”. The yoga sequence could be used before or during the period but for best results it should be practised one week (or few days) before your period is due. Once you establish this routine you might even find that you get rid of the cramps before they even start.
However, if you are in this special time of the month while you are reading this article then here is what to do. Set the mood. Play some nice relaxing music. Switch off your phone and maybe even light a candle or defuse some essential oils and try these following poses.
Apasana – Wind release pose
Alignment: Lie on your back flat on the floor, bend your legs and use both arms to pull your knees towards your body while you are relaxing your shoulders and shoulder blades on the mat. Keep the neck long. Before you settle to hold the pose, rock from side to side. Hold for 30 sec to 1 min.
Supta baddha konasana – Reclining Bound Angle pose
One of my all-time favourites. It’s beautiful pose which works magic as it opens the inner thighs and hips, helping the whole body and mind to unwind. The reclined butterfly stimulates the abdominal organs, the ovaries and prostate gland, bladder, and kidneys. It helps relieve the symptoms of menstruation and menopause and improves general circulation in the area while enhancing the feeling of relaxation.
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Alignment: Lie flat on your back, bend your legs and place the soles of your feet and heels together. Allow your knees to fall out to the sides and sink to the floor and relax your arms alongside your body. Rock your hips side to side allowing them to be even on both sides. Close your eyes and bring the awareness inwards. Breathe deeply. With every breath allow your body to soften and melt down. This is a time for you. Stay in this position from 30 sec to 1 min.
Note: If you are complete beginner start by holding for no more than 10 breaths and try at first to place the heels not too close to the groin. Overtime you can shorten the distance. Alternatively, you can support your knees with a block or rolled up blanket.
Balasana – Child pose
Child pose is a perfect way to let go and feel supported by the earth. To dive in effortlessness allowing yourself to be taken care of and be present in your body. Especially during one’s time of the month we can dive into more Yin (Female) qualities to the opposing Yang energies that almost everything else is nowadays. It is probably one of the most famous yoga poses that you come across in yoga class. Extremely relaxing which improves blood circulation and fatigue with tons of other benefits.
Alignment: Kneel on the mat, spread the knees apart, and join the big toes together. Sit back on your heels (if there is big gap, place a rolled towel between the heels and sitting bones). Extend your arms forward, palms wide open. Inhale and look up, then exhale and fold forward. Stay and breathe deeply directing the air towards the hips and lower back.
Allow your sitting bones to keep relaxing down towards the heels. Inhale and lengthen your back, exhale and relax your chest further down. Stay in this position for at least 30 seconds.
Note: Place a folded towel / pillow under your head to be even more supported.
Baddha Konasana – Bound angle
Baddha Konasana (Bound angle) is another pose with many benefits. Apart that the kidney, bladder and prostate function which are all stimulated, bound angle promotes regular menstruation.
Alignment: From child pose come to sitting. Join the feet together and allow the knees to fall out to the side. Walk the feet as close as is comfortable towards the pubic bone. Hold your feet with both hands. Inhale, extend your spine and on the exhale fold forward bending from the hips. If the inner thighs are tight, it may be that you find it enough of a stretch by just joining the feet.
With each exhale relax your chest closer towards your feet. With each inhale elongate your spine. Do this for 10 breaths.
Janu Sirsasana – Head to knee pose
Head to knee pose is another all-time favourite, which makes me wonder what I did without it!
Alignment: From the previous pose extend your right leg in front of you, bringing the left foot as close as possible to the groin area. If your left knee is uncomfortable or not touching the ground place a pillow or a rolled towel underneath it.
Flex your right foot (toes moving towards the knees and heel pushing away). Engage your upper thigh and avoid overextending the knee. Turn your torso facing towards the right leg.
Inhale and rise your arms above the head, then exhale and fold forward flexing from the hips. Place both hands on or around your outstretched leg. Only bend forward as far as you can while keeping your back straight and long. Keep your sitting bones firmly rooted. Allow the progress to happen gradually. Stay there for 10 breaths and repeat on the other side.
Paschimotanasana – Seated forward bend
Paschimotanasana (seated forward bend) stretches the whole spinal column and relaxes the central nervous system which helps with heightend emotions and mood swings. The reproductive organs are tuned and massaged and as well as relieving pain it is a great pose to regulate the menstrual cycle.
Alignment: Sit tall with your legs outstretched in front of you. Flex your feet. Adjust the cheeks of your sitting bones. Lengthen your body from the crown of your head.
Inhale and extend the arms above your head. Exhale and fold forward flexing from the hips. If you can’t hook your big toes, hold the legs as far down as you can and feel the stretch without straining.
Inhale and lift your body up. Then exhale and fold down again. Lower your torso onto your thighs, relax your neck and gently draw your chest to your legs. You can use a pillow under your forehead. Beginners can hook a yoga strap (or scarf) and place on the soles of your feet. Keep your shoulders away from your ears and keep your lower back long.
Upavistha Konasna – Wide spread forward fold
Another all-time favourite on mine. This pose is a game changer! It stimulates the abdominal organs helping to relive menstrual cramps.
Alignment: Extend your legs out to the sides while keeping comfortable. If you feel the stretch is too strong then bend your knees. Ground yourself through your sitting bones. Keep your knees neutral and pointing up.
Inhale and look up, then exhale and fold from the hips. Keep your back long.
Use your exhales to allow the chest gradually to come closer to the floor and your hands to slide towards your ankles.
Tip: You can place a booster or yoga block in front of you and lower down your forearms and stay a bit longer if comfortable.
Alignment: From the previous pose bring the knees into your chest and circle the knees few times in both directions. On the exhalation place your heels directly under the knees, keeping your feet at hip distance apart and facing forward, your back flat and your hands by your side.
Then exhale and tilt your hips forward, tucking the tail bone gently under.
Inhale and lift the hips and back off the floor to a comfortable height. Firmly press the upper arms and shoulders towards the floor.
Broaden the collar bones by opening the chest. Keep your big toes and inner arches of both feet firmly pressed on the mat and the neck lengthening away from the spine. Slowly lower down vertebra by vertebra all the way until your back is back down on the mat.
Note: To make it more therapeutic, place a folded blanket under your sacrum at the base of your spine, allowing the sacrum and sitting bones to melt on the folded blanket. Hold for 10 breaths.
Jathara Parivartanasana – Reclined twist
The reclined twist is beneficial for neutralizing the spine after forward (or backward) bending. It stimulates digestion and massages the internal organs.
Alignment: Bend your knees into your chest and pause for a moment. On the exhale lower your knees to the left. Keep both shoulders and shoulder blades on the ground. Place a cushion under your knees if they can’t touch the ground.Turn your head to the right. Use your left hand to gently push the knees further down towards the ground while you are pressing the right shoulder down. Stay for 10 breaths at least before repeating on the other side.
Legs up the wall
Walk your mat next to a wall. Bring your hips as close as possible to the wall. Turn sides ways so you can place the hips and sitting bones as close as possible to the wall. Lift your legs. Allow your hands to rest by your side, further relaxing the chest. Breathe mindfully here.
And the sweetest of all asanas – Savasana. Give yourself few mins here. Play gentle relaxing music. Layer up to make it cosier and completely surrender. Give this time back to yourself – you deserve it.
Alignment: Lie down on your back, allow your feet to drop naturally to the sides and your arms relax away your body with your palms facing upwards. Let go of controlling the breath. Breathe effortlessly in and out. Be present.
Note: you can bend knees if the back is uncomfortable.
Try this sequence of yoga for menstrual cramps before or during the period but ideally practise it one week (or few days) before your period is due and see if it relieves any monthly pain or discomfort and makes that special time of the month just that bit more enjoyable.
Nadia is an international wellness expert based in London offering yoga, meditation and corporate wellness classes. In addition, she hosts international yoga retreats, conducts Reiki treatments and life coaching sessions.
Companies Nadia has worked for in the past include Age UK, C&C Trust, The Children Society, Proximity London, ICM Unlimited, Bill’s. In addition, Nadia has worked with Westminster University and East London University, teaching at the later a well-being program to reduce stress levels in students.
Visit her website: https://www.flexiwellness.biz/
Find her on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Flexiwellness/
And Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/flexiwellness/
And on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/public-profile/in/nadiayoga/
Please make sure to consult with a doctor before embarking on any new fitness regime.
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