Now, I know that when you’re cramping, you don’t want to move. You truly want to lie there and die. It doesn’t help that studies regarding the effectiveness of exercise to reduce menstrual cramps are inconclusive. All the more reason to curl up in bed and not move, right? While most workouts do make me feel worse, gentle stretching seems to help.
I’ve picked these asanas, or yoga postures, because of how they affect our muscle groups where we often sense pain: low back, lower abdomen, hips and thighs. By opening up these areas, we can relieve the tension that contributes to our pain.
Malasana / Garland Pose
Open those hips and thighs, ladies! This posture promotes the flow, so our bodies don’t have to work as hard to push junk out. It also relieves some of the pressure that contributes to low back pain by stretching back muscles. Other benefits of malasana include:
- Improves strength and flexibility in ankles
- Increases hip mobility
- Tones the abdominal muscles
Ustrasana / Camel Pose
I love this one when my quads are achy. Your hips receive a subtle opening, too. Lastly, it’s a heart opener, which reminds me to be kind and compassionate even when I’m feeling moody. Additional benefits of camel pose include:
- Improved digestion
- Stretches front of the body, back, and shoulders
- Can improve flexibility of the spine and ultimately improve posture
Utkatasana / Chair Pose
This is the equivalent of someone shooting you in the hand when you say that your foot hurts. I hate this pose so dearly, so completely, that all I can do is focus on my hatred of this pose–and absolutely forget my cramps. See, psychology! No? Okay. But what I’ve learned about this pose is that it engages all of the aforementioned areas. Once you release the pose, a rush of relief (lymphatic fluids) passes through your body, especially the underarms, hips, and upper thighs. You’ll feel better! Learn more at the benefits of chair pose:
- Tones the leg muscles
- Strengthens abdominal and back muscles, hip flexors, quads, calves, and ankles
- Stimulates the organs of the chest (heart, diaphragm)
Supta Baddha Konasana / Reclined Bound Angle Pose
This relieves pressure on the hips and low back so it feels delicious after sitting all day at a desk. Or curling up into a tiny ball and crying because your back and tummy won’t stop hurting. Put bolsters, blocks, or blankets under your knees so that you can relax into this pose and really enjoy it. If lying on your back doesn’t feel good, try Mandukasana / Frog Pose. It offers a similar hip opening but allows you to lie on your stomach. If you have any problems at all with your knees, skip Frog Pose. Additional benefits of chair pose are:
- Stretching the inner thighs and opening up the groins
- Stimulates organs of the abdomen (kidneys, the bladder, the ovaries, and prostate gland)
Supplement your yoga postures with a surprise from P.M.Yes Box! They friended me on my Instagram account so I looked them up. This subscription services for menstrual cycles sends care packages during your period so that you don’t hate the world. Chocolates, teas, personal care items, spa items–joy!
Hope this helps! And remember: if you can feel it, it is impermanent 🙂 You’ll feel better, soon.