It’s true that modern innovations have literally eased those few days of the month, for women. Right from menstrual cups, and tampons to airy thin menstrual pads, period has become almost comfortable to carry out daily activities and tasks. But wait, what about the shooting pain that comes up a few days earlier to remind you of your incoming menstrual cycle or the one that continues throughout those few days for some. Well, it's Menstrual Cramps, we are talking about, the nasty and painful guest that visits most of us every month right before the menstrual cycle.
What Are Menstrual Cramps, You Ask?
Menstrual Cramps, medically termed as Dysmenorrhea mainly signifies the throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen, back and legs during menstrual flow. It chiefly happens due to the contraction of the uterus to shed the endometrium. This pain usually starts a few days before the periods and often continues throughout. The intensity and severity of the condition may range from mere annoying or a discomfort to more severe as it interferes with everyday activities during the menstrual cycle every month. Alongside the painful menstrual cramps, some women also experience nausea, dizziness, vomiting, constipation, bloating, headaches and loose stools.
While some women try to withstand the mild to moderate pain by placing warm water bags on their lower abdomen, drink chamomile tea, others resort to medications to subdue the intense. Popping painkillers during periods might help suppress the pain but it is not a permanent solution. Also, the body gets used to such painkillers and may require one to keep increasing the dosage with time, possibly inviting further problems. But if you prefer a more permanent solution sans any side-effects, why not include Yoga in your daily routine. This traditional practice goes far beyond just stretching and breathing. It is the ultimate solution to most health woes. Yoga not only strengthens the body physically but also aids in alleviating pain caused due to menstrual cramps. It also calms the mind and empowers one to put up a stronger resistance against giving in to the pain.
We bring you 5 relaxing yoga poses that work effectively to ease menstrual cramps and limit the pain from distracting your routine life:
Yogasanas To Provide Relief From Menstrual Cramps
Balasana (Baby Pose)
Get down on your knees, keeping the spine straight. Now slowly bend forwards such that both the thighs touch the chest. Keep bending forwards until your head is beyond the knee and touches the ground. Straighten both the arms backward on either side of your legs with your palms, downwards facing the floor. Be in this position for 20-25 seconds, take few seconds of break and again repeat 2-3 times.
The Baby Pose plays a pivotal role in stretching the entire body including the hip joint and muscles. Not only does it help flexing the reproductive organs, but also releases tension from the back, shoulders, and neck. Practicing it regularly relieves stress and anxiety and preserve calmness and a stress-free mind.
Viparita Karani (Legs Up The Wall Pose)
Initially, sit about 3 inches from an empty wall. Lie onto the back and swing your legs upwards in such a way that the back of the thigh rests against the wall. Rest your entire back, i.e., the spinal column on the floor below and relax the arms on either side of the body or the tummy. Hold the position for 10 minutes or as long as you can and then slowly pull your leg back to the starting position.
This posture is one of the most relaxing ones that allow you to lie flat on the ground with your legs up without much twisting or turning. Not only does it improve circulation and digestion and lowers blood pressure but also boosts energy levels, and soothes the nervous system. It also stretches and tones the abdomen, relieving the body of menstrual pain and even help in warding off fatigue and stress.
Baddha Konasana (Butterfly Pose)
Sit straight on the floor. While breathing out, fold your legs close to your body so that the soles of both your feet touch each other face to face. Let your knees drop to the sides. Hold the thumb of your foot and ensure that the foot soles remain touched to each other and always pressed to the ground. Once you are comfortable in the pose, ensure that the torso is stretched through the top of the sternum, and the shoulder blades are also firmly pressed to the back. Now breathe in and out normally. Hold this for 1 minute, take 30 secs break and repeat 5 times.
This asana is extremely beneficial for opening various obstructions within the body, especially in the hips allowing a full range of movements and creating a channel for the free passage of various fluids within the body. If practiced regularly, it is extremely beneficial to provide relief from menstrual pain, ward off indigestion issues and is also good for stimulating the ovaries making it a reproductive health power pose.
Supta Badha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
Start the pose by lying down flat on the back, in a relaxed manner, placing the arms close to but not touching the body. Now, slowly pull both legs in towards the body as much as possible, with the knees bent and feet aligned and touching like in the butterfly pose. Stay in this position for 3 – 5 minutes, then extend both legs completely and relax. For extra support to the spine and back, a soft cushion or pillow can be placed under the hip while doing this asana.
The Reclining bound angle pose is one of the best poses for keeping menstrual worries at bay. Since the pose involves leaning back, the abdominal muscles relax which can help ease cramping. Right from fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, irritability and headaches, this relaxing pose extensively helps in providing relief from the list of PMS symptoms.
Uttanasana (Forward Bent Pose)
While standing, bring the feet hip-distance apart. Without bending your knees, slowly bend your body above the torso downwards. See that your knees are straight. You can allow your hands and hang down and rest your palms on the ground or just hold your feet to the ankles. Hold this position for 8-10 breaths, then slowly get back to the standing position.
Also known as Pada Hasthasana, this inverted anti-gravity posture is an extremely therapeutic pose that enhances your immunity, attenuates stress and relaxes the mind. The forward bend posture helps to stimulate the abdominal organs, leading to less painful cramps. It also regulates the flow of blood, calms down the body and stabilizes the heart rate.
Mark the end of the yoga session by practicing Shavasana for 5 minutes to relax the mind and body.