Have you ever found yourself envying the carefree laughter of super-active, young women in those sanitary napkin advertisements? Like finding the right supplies is all that you need to have a tension-free period! For most women out there, periods can be an intense affair as they go through symptoms like pain, cramps, headaches, fatigue, constipation, bloating and whatnot. All you can manage to do is say “Arey yaar phir se nahi!” Some women also suffer from Dysmenorrhea, which is a medical term for extreme pain or menstrual cramp during periods.
While over-the-counter medicines help ease the pain, they may trigger several side effects if not taken wisely. If period cramps have been keeping you down during that time of the month, what you need is a safe and effective long-term solution. One of the most effective ways of combating menstrual cramps and pain that a lot of women swear by is yoga! Let’s find out how yoga poses for period pain and cramps can help make your periods easier.
Yoga For Period Cramps
The concept of practising yoga poses to relieve period cramps is not really new. It is a time-tested, side-effect-free option that has been used for curing several ailments since time immemorial. There are a number of yoga poses that can help in easing the muscles and relaxing the mind, giving you a pain-free period! Yoga can help strengthen your body and calm your mind, thus giving you a better chance to put up stronger resistance against all the unpleasant symptoms that accompany periods.
A study conducted a few years ago concluded that subjects who practised yoga poses for menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms reported taking fewer painkillers during their periods. The participants of the study also said that they experienced reduced abdominal swelling and cramps and improved physical function, among other things.
5 Yoga Asanas For Period Cramps
Want to try out yoga for period cramps? Start with these basic, easy-to-do poses!
1. Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
Periods are often accompanied by several unwanted guests like diarrhoea and constipation. This yoga for period pain will not only help relieve period cramps but also soothe your digestive system. It is also known to help open your hips, remove fatigue and stimulate the ovaries.
- Sit with your knees opened sidewards and your feet together. As you lengthen through your torso and spine, push your sitting bone towards the ground.
- Activate your legs by pressing the heels together. Use your hands to open the balls of your feet, like you are opening a book. This will aid in keeping your knees safe in this pose and several other seated yoga poses.
- Extend your thighs horizontally to the left and the right, while continuing to press your heels together. Release your knees closer to the ground.
- Lift through the core, moving from your spine’s base. This will engage your pelvic floor muscles and your root energy lock (Mula bandha).
- Inhale to lengthen your spine and torso and exhale to ground down and stay connected to the earth.
- Hold the pose as you take a few deep breaths.
- While performing this exercise, avoid pressing the balls of your feet together or rounding your spine.
2. Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Balasana is perhaps one of the most effective yoga poses for period pain. This pose does not require a lot of flexibility and can easily be done even if you do not practice yoga on a regular basis. It acts as an ‘internal massage’ for your organs and stretches your ankles, arms and spine. Other than helping relieve period cramps, it also works great for a stiff back and neck. Balasana is highly recommended for women who suffer from achy joints and muscles during that time of the month. However, this yoga for stomach pain during periods is not recommended for those who have a knee injury or diarrhoea.
- Sit on your heels. Your knees should be hip-width apart or less, whatever feels more comfortable to you.
- Now, slowly raise your arms, bend forward gently.
- Your forehead should touch the ground. While in this position, press your chest gently on your thighs.
- Remain in this position for about a minute.
- Now, placing your palms near the shoulder, sit up.
3. Janu Shirasasana (One-Legged Forward Bend)
Forward bends have a stimulating effect on your abdominal and reproductive muscles. So it is a great idea to include a few of these yoga poses to relieve period cramps in your menstrual yoga routine. You can modify this pose according to your flexibility and comfort. Other than working well for cramps, this yoga for period pain aids in relieving headaches, anxiety, fatigue and more. It also stretches your lower back hamstrings.
- Sit up and keep your legs stretched out in front of you. Your spine should be erect.
- Bend your left knee and keep it on the ground in a way that the bottom of your left foot should be against your right inner thigh.
- Now, raise your arms above your head and try to stretch up as you breathe in. try to centre your torso over your right leg.
- Breathe out as you bend forward from your hip joints. Keep your spine straight. Your chin should be directed to your toes.
- If you can manage it easily, hold on to your big toe. Your elbows should be pointed to the floor. Gently move forward while pulling on your toes. Hold this position and make sure not to hold your breath.
- Breathe in. Come back up and breathe out. Bring your arms down to your sides.
- Repeat the steps on the other side.
4. Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
Next up on our list of yoga poses for menstrual cramps is this simple yet highly effective pose. Matsyasana can help you with your menstrual pain as it tends to stretch and stimulate the belly muscles. This back-bend also stretches the chest, spine and shoulders and can help ease fatigue and anxiety. Fish pose is not recommended for people with a neck injury or lower-back issues.
- Begin with lying down on your back. Your hands should be placed under your hips and your palms should be facing the floor.
- As you inhale, lift up your shoulders, chest and head and tilt your head backwards. Put the top of your head on the floor very gently.
- Make sure to put minimal weight and exertion on your head and neck. Also, make sure to keep your legs straight.
- Maintain this position for about half a minute.
- As you exhale, lift your shoulders and head. Lower your head and upper body back to the floor gently.
- Once you manage to do this basic pose with ease, take things up a notch by practising Matsyasana while sitting in Padmasana.
5. Bhujangasana (Cobra Stretch)
Cobra pose is a simple yet effective yoga posture that helps stretch your shoulders, chest and abdomen and straighten your spine. It also aids in strengthening the back and shoulder region, improving flexibility, toning the abdomen and relieving neck and shoulder pain, among other things. This yoga for menstrual cramps is not recommended for people with back injuries or carpal tunnel.
- To get into the position for this yoga for stomach pain during periods you will have to lie down on your stomach and keep your toes flat on the ground. The soles of your feet should be facing upwards and your forehead should be rested on the floor.
- Keep the legs together. The feet and heels should touch each other gently.
- Coming to the placement of your hands, your palms should touch the ground under the shoulders. Keep your elbows parallel to each other and close to your upper body.
- Breathe in and gradually lift up your head, chest and abdomen. Your navel should remain on the floor.
- Pull your upper body back and lift it off the ground, taking support from your hands. The pressure on both the palms should be equal.
- Continue breathing as you curve your spine gradually. If you can manage it easily, try to arch your back (as much as you can) and straighten your arms. Look upwards by tilting back your head.
- Stay in this posture for 4 to 5 breaths.
- Breathing out, bring your head, chest and abdomen back on the ground gently. Relax.
- Repeat this at least 4-5 times.
Tips For Tackling Period Pain
Other than practising yoga for menstrual cramps here are a few things you can do to cope with menstrual cramps and pain:
- Drink more water as it can help reduce bloating and reduce pain.
- Drink herbal teas. These are packed with anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties and can help reduce muscle spasms in the uterus.
- Eat foods with anti-inflammatory properties as they help promote blood circulation and relax your uterus.
- Avoid foods that are high in trans fat, sugar and salt to keep away bloating and inflammation.
- Try dietary supplements like Vitamin D and E, omega 3 and magnesium. Remember to consult your doctor before taking any new supplement.
- Exercise regularly and take a healthy and nutritious diet.
While yoga poses for period cramps can help you deal with several periods related problems, make sure you are not over-exerting your body by trying out more complex poses. There may also be days during your period when you just don’t feel good enough to indulge in physical activity. #BeALittleMore conscious about your diet and lifestyle to ensure your body has the strength it needs to tackle cramps and pain during periods.
Disclaimer: Please practice yoga under the strict observation of a healthcare expert.
Open up like never before and participate in conversations about beauty, entrepreneurship, mental health, menstrual & sexual health, and more. Desi women, join our community NOW!