PSLove is very fortunate to be have worked with Angie (owner of www.sassy-yogi.com), a yoga enthusiast – to co-create a Yoga Guide for Menstrual Cramps! Yes, you can do yoga when you are on your period.
And trust me, I’ve never tried yoga, but this set of guide sure is a very simple and helpful start. In fact, I had such an awesome stretch (whether or not you are having your period) that it brightened up my morning before I got started at work!
Heres are 10 stretches that can help relieve tension on your physical and mental self during that time of the month. (Credits to sassy-yogi for the contents and photos. She is one awesome lady and you all should really check out her blog!)
Below is a guide reposted from her blog:
Some things to note before you get started:
- It is a restorative yoga sequence, so please do not push yourself in a certain stretch or in a certain pose! Let your body fall naturally into the pose, and the pose will then do its job.
- Feel free to stay in the pose for as long as you want, up to 15 to 30 breaths so long as it feels good for you.
- If you are having severe cramps, please do not force yourself into the pose, and stop immediately if you are feeling unwell. Rest up in bed!
Here are the 10 poses that you can do to relieve discomfort during your moon cycle:
1. Hindi squat
- With your feet slightly wider than hip width apart, gently lower yourself towards the ground, coming into a hindi squat.
- Place your elbows on the inner side of your knees and gently open your knees towards the side, straightening your back.
- It is okay for your heels to come off the ground if that helps you balance and stay in the pose.
- Let gravity gently pull your butt down towards the ground, and keep breathing!
- Relieves tension in your hips and lower back
- Elongates your spine and stimulates your metabolism
2. Passive standing forward fold
- With your feet slightly apart, drape your torso over your legs and let your upper body relax.
- Do not hold any tension in your neck – the crown of your head should be reaching towards the ground. Move your head in “yes” and “no” motion to relax your neck.
- Grab on to opposite elbows and let gravity pull your upper body towards the ground.
- Shift your weight forward and balance on the balls of your feet rather than on your heels.
- If you can’t straighten your legs fully, just bend your knees as much as it feels comfortable for you. The point of this pose is not to be able to touch the ground, but to be able to feel a nice stretch along your entire back.
- Relieves the tension in your lower back by stretching out the entire spine
- Reduces fatigue and anxiety
- Calms the brain and helps to relieve stress
3. Cobra pose
- Laying down on your belly, place your palms beside your chest.
- On an inhalation, slowly rise up and straighten your arms, coming into a nice backbend.
- Be careful not to hyperextend your elbows and keep a micro-bend in your elbows
- Shift your gaze towards the front, or 45 degrees upwards – be careful not to strain your neck by looking all the way up towards the sky.
- Stretches out your shoulders, chest, and abdominals
- Improves menstrual irregularities
- Improves circulation of blood and oxygen in the spinal and pelvic region
4. Reclining bow pose
- Lying back down on your belly, sweep your arms backwards and grab your ankles from the outside.
- On an inhalation, gently kick your feet into your hands, and your upper body will naturally come off the mat.
- Feel free to rock your body to and fro, using the mat to gently massage your belly
- This pose is not about how high your feet can go, but rather, giving your back a gentle backbend and giving your tummy a nice massage!
- Relieves back pain
- Helps with irregular menstrual cycles
- Relieves stress and improves blood circulation
5. Pigeon Pose
- Position shin ~45 degrees towards the front of the mat. To deepen stretch, shift your shin parallel to front of mat. You may place towel under groin for support if uncomfortable.
- Straighten your back leg. Square your hips and distribute your weight equally.
- Slowly walk elbows towards front and rest. Feel a deep release through your hips.
- Alternate legs.
- Helps to open up hip joints
- Eases lower back pains
- Stimulate internal organs
6. Bridge pose
- Lying down on your back, slowly walk your feet towards your butt, such that your hands are grazing your heels.
- On an inhalation, slowly raise your hips up towards the sky, as high as you feel comfortable.
- You can either opt to place your palms under your hips as support (Top), or tuck your shoulders close together and walk your heels closer to you in order to deepen the stretch (Bottom)
- Calms the body, alleviates stress
- Strengthens the back, glutes, and legs
- Improves digestion
7. Spine Twist
- Lying on back, hug knees towards chest, slowly drop knees to one side.
- Keep shoulder blades on mat. Allow spine to come to a gentle twist.
- Gaze in opposite direction of knees. If you are unable to hook your foot onto your calves (as above), it’s perfectly fine. Alternate sides.
- Stretches the back muscles and spine
- Detoxifies your body
- Relieves stress
8. Reclining bound angle pose
- Continue to lay on your back, place your feet together such that your legs form a nice diamond shape.
- Just relax and let your knees fall gently towards the side, allowing gravity to pull your knees closer towards the ground.
- For a deeper stretch, just shift your feet closer to you.
- Close your eyes and enjoy the slight pinching sensation that you’ll experience in your hips.
- If this is really uncomfortable for you, place pillows underneath your knees to provide more support.
- Stimulates abdominal organs such as the ovaries
- Stimulates the heart and improves general circulation
- Stretches the inner thighs and groin
9. Fish pose
- On your back, either roll a big towel and place it under your lower back, or use your elbow as a leverage to open up your chest.
- For a gentle stretch (Top), grab opposite elbows over your head and close your eyes.
- For deeper stretch (Bottom), place the crown of your head over the mat.
- Relieves stress and irritation
- Stretches out your back and intercostal muscles
- Improves posture
10. Wide legged child’s pose
- To close off the sequence, place toes facing each other and knees widened outwards.
- Gently melt your torso towards the ground and sit your hips back towards your heels.
- Stretch out your arms towards the front, and place your forehead on the mat.
- Feel free to maintain this pose for as long as you are comfortable.
- Gently stretches the hips, ankles and thigh
- Relieves back and neck pains
And there we have it: 10 awesome yoga poses for when you’re having your period, especially when you’re having painful cramps. Try it for yourself – exercise like yoga will make you happy!