Just because periods come every month does not mean that they become any easier to deal with. Menstruation often brings along a whole range of symptoms, ranging from lower back pains and cramps to poor mood and fatigue, which can derail all plans and productivity and leave us at the mercy of our uterus. While medications and external aids such as heating pads provide a great source of comfort, they can also have side effects that may harm our body. Fortunately, yoga provides an all-natural and easy way of dealing with menstruation woes, without any negative effects. Here are some asanas that are particularly helpful during periods and in the week leading up to it –
- Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) – Since periods can often leave your lower region feeling stiff and heavy, this relaxing stretch is a great option as it opens up your hips and pelvis, and with the stretch comes a great feeling of relaxation and calmness. Do not force your knees to the floor however – listen to your body and gradually build up to the perfect pose. Keep in position for anywhere between one to five minutes to feel the impact, and slowly come back to your resting state
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) – A great challenge that will get your blood flowing, this asana opens up the chest and targets the muscles of the back, abdomen and the hips. This asana is also known to induce relaxation and improve digestion, both of which are added bonus in the days of bloating and cravings. Be sure to keep the weight away from your neck and shoulders – it is your back and hips which should be working.
- Matsyaasana (Fish Pose) – Usually performed with feet in the padmasana, you can modify to keep your legs straight as you do this asana. This pose helps in relieving backache, menstrual cramps, and constipation, and invigorates the body. If you feel your neck straining, place a thickly folded blanket under your head to keep you in the proper position. Be sure that you breathe smoothly and gently during the asana. Do not hold your breath.
- Adho Mukha Shavasana (Downward Dog) – A great way to get the blood pumping and shed off the fatigue, this easy to do asana targets the entire body, working out the shoulders and the hips while also opening up the hamstrings. It helps in stress reduction, improves digestion, gives relief from back pain as well. To target menstrual pain, in particular, give your head some support to focus more on your lower body.
- Ustrasana (Camel Pose) – If you are up for it, this challenging backbend can provide you with the exact kind of deep relief and stretch that you may be searching for. Opening up the chest and the abdomen, this asana can provide alleviation from menstrual discomfort, and energize the body by reducing fatigue. Be sure to use appropriate props to aid your backbend if you are unable to touch your toes – remember that your back and neck should be stretching, not straining.
So integrate these yogic poses into your workout, and you will find that the most fatiguing and challenging days of your months will soon start to breeze by.
While most yoga poses can be undertaken with appropriate modifications and supervision at any point in time, there are some asanas that menstruating women are advised against. These include inversions and asanas that require significant strength, such as a handstand. These poses tend to direct energy flow in the opposing direction, and some poses may cause issues, such as by swelling the uterine wall. So be sure to listen to your body and the experts when you practice, and you will be moving in the right direction for your health.