Three Yoga Poses To Ease Menstrual Cramps
As women, menstrual cramps are one of those have-to-learn-to-live-with-it aspects of life. Some of us have cramps so bad we can’t get out of bed while others hardly have them at all. Either way, to align with nature and go with the flow (pun intended!), is always the goal of yoga. There are many yoga poses we can do to ease menstrual cramps and help our bodies through the process. Here are three of my favorites.
Prasarita Padottanasana :: Wide Legged Forward Fold
If I feel I can still be active during my period, this is my go-to standing pose. It requires much less abdominal effort than most, and the wide leg stance gives room for any feelings of bloating or pain in the lower belly. This is also the best pose to do in lieu of Headstand, as we don’t want to invert during our menstrual cycle.
- Step your feet wide, maybe 5′ apart with your feet parallel.
- Lean forward and put your fingers or hands on the floor between your feet.
- Lengthen your spine and place your head on the floor or a yoga block.
- Tip your inner thighs back and up (as if sticking out your bum) and straighten your legs.
Malasana :: Garland Pose (variation)
This deep squat gently massages the uterus and intestines, which can help digestion, elimination and ease your cramps. If squatting makes your heels come off the ground, lift them onto a folded yoga mat or rolled up towel. If it’s too much for your knees, sit on a yoga block or a stack of big books.
- Squat with your feet about shoulder width apart and slightly turned out.
- Try to keep your knees and feet pointing the same direction; it’s safer for your knees and ankles.
- Join your palms in prayer pose and press your elbows to your inner knees.
- Either lift your chest, as I’m doing, or for a more introspective and calming feel, place your forehead on your thumbs.
Supda Baddha Konasana :: Reclining Bound Angle
The truth is I usually use a lot more props for this pose, but I wanted to show you a minimal version, because not everyone has as many props as I do. This is the Queen of all yoga poses for women. Whether you’re pregnant, menstruating or just have cramps, this yoga pose will help. Supda Baddha Konasana is also great for easing low back pain. The one prop I would add for most people is support under the outer knees; two pillows work great.
- Place a folded blanket or yoga bolster behind you on the ground.
- Sit in front of it on the floor and bring the soles of your feet together. (If you’re supporting your knees, wedge the pillows under them now.)
- Lie back so that your spine and head are supported
- Rest your arms, palms up, by your sides, or place your hands on your belly.
- To come out of the pose, always roll to your side instead of sitting straight up, as sitting up contracts your abdominals in a way that increases, rather than eases, cramps.