Periods! Not those comfortable days, physically or mentally. Apart from physical discomforts like abdominal pain, cramps, soreness around the pelvic region, there are mood swings, irritability, jittery feeling, tiredness, and general low feeling. During periods, the contraction of uterus muscles to expel the lining caused by the hormone – prostaglandins – higher the levels, the more severe the cramps. Differently experienced and handled by individual women.
With the advent of modern period pads, tampons, and menstruation cups, the physical wet, soggy sensations have been taken care of significantly. But, some women are prone to severe cramps and pelvic pain, mood swings which can be unbearable at times.
Yoga can help in a great way to ease the physical and mental discomforts associated with Periods. It has a tremendous impact on the internal organs and mental status as well. Though it is an individual choice to practice Yoga during menstruation, some simple poses go a long way to lessen the associated discomposure.
A summary of simple yoga poses, when practiced even for 5 to 10 minutes during periods, will relieve the associated sensations.
- Marjaryasana / Bitilasana (Cow / Cat Pose)
An easy and comfortable pose to start with, toning up the muscles, the Marjaryasana/Bitilasana gently prepares the body for other asanas. An excellent posture for easing period cramps, it works on the abdominal and pelvic muscles. The Cow position stretches the spine and reduces the pain, while the Cat position relieves the upper back and neck muscles. This pose is also helpful in boosting blood flow along the spine.
2. Balasana (Child pose)
A simple pose that anyone can practice. Along with giving relief to back muscles, neck, and shoulders by lengthening the spine, Balasana gently massages the internal organs. The uterus muscles, which contracts to lead to abdominal cramps, are gently soothed, thereby providing relief. This asana also calms the mind.
3. Upavishtha Konasana ( Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend)
This pose stretches the pelvic and groin muscles. The forward bend also soothes the back and hip muscles providing relief from muscle sores during periods.
Upavishtha Konasana helps in stimulating the abdominal area and the organs, relieving pain and cramps.
4. Bharadvaja Asana (Reclining Twist)
The Bharadvaja Asana is a preferred asana for soothing period cramps and aches. The sore hip and back muscles, when gently stretched, will ease the pain. Due to the twisting pose, the digestive and reproductive organs also get pushed, inducing blood flow to the internal muscles providing pain relief with health benefits.
5. Viparita Karani (Inverted Leg Pose)
This asana presents many advantages during periods. It relaxes the nervous system, regulates blood pressure, increases energy levels, and increases blood circulation in the abdominal region. It also helps in relieving the pain in the thigh and calf muscles. Viparita Karani also gently presses the abdominal muscles and provides relief from cramps and lower back pain. This pose also improves thinking, calmness and focus. It also helps in the regulation of mood swings.
6. Baddha Konasana (Butterfly Pose)
The excess prostaglandin secretion during periods, causing the uterus to contract, leads to side effects like diarrhea or constipation. Practicing Baddha Konasana relieves the tension around the abdominal and pelvic areas, thereby lessening the cramps. This pose also works on the lower back, hip, and thigh regions, gently stretching these muscles, providing relief. Apart from the physical benefits, this pose helps to ease depression, anxiety by improving the mood, calming the mind, providing overall relaxation.
7. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Butterfly Pose)
A variation of Baddha Konasana, this reclining pose stretches the knees, pelvis, and inner thigh muscles, providing much-needed relief from period cramps. Reclined Butterfly pose reduces insomnia, anxiety, and depression associated with menstruation. It helps in calming the mind and sound sleep.
8. Janu Sirsasana (Head to Knee forward bend pose)
Janu Sirsasana has an invigorating effect on the muscles around the abdomen and reproductive organs by gently massaging them. This pose also stretches the spine, and lower back muscles provide relief from menstrual aches. Janu Sirsasana helps in reducing anxiety associated with periods.
9. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
This simple seated forward bend pose lengthens the spine, stretching it and working on the shoulder muscles. It gives relief from menstrual cramps by working on the lower abdominal and pelvic region muscles. Paschimottanasana also stretches the thigh and calf muscles, thereby relieving the aches in the legs during periods.
While the above poses or asanas provide significant physical and mental relief during periods, some asanas like Shirashasana, Sarvangasana, Dhanurasana, Halasana, Karnapedasana, and Bakasana should not be practiced during periods, as they can aggravate the discomfort experienced by increasing the bleeding.
Getting relief from menstrual pain is of utmost importance for women without disturbing the natural cycle. Regular practice of Yoga is a simple way to beat the “period blues.” Talking to a Yoga Instructor and being informed about the poses or asanas is essential to prevent injuries and other problems.
While the practice of these simple asanas will provide you relief, do contact your doctor if you feel any abnormalities during the periods.
Stretch gently, keep menstrual cramps away.