Best Yoga Poses to Combat Cramps
Does burrowing under a blanket feel like your only defense against painful menstrual cramps? If staying sedentary is your go-to relief from cramps, you might want to reconsider your strategy. It might sound counterintuitive but adding exercise into your routine can provide relief from cramps and back pain associated with your period. Exercise and physical activity release endorphins, which can not only boost your mood but also provide natural pain relief. Endorphins interact with the receptors in the brain associated with pain relief and help reduce the perception of pain. This counteracts the release of excess prostaglandins during menstruation, which are lipids associated with severe menstrual cramps.
There’s no need to run a half marathon in order to reap the benefits of endorphin-releasing exercise. For women with severe menstrual cramps, high-impact activities like cardio workouts can be especially challenging and uncomfortable during menstruation. If jogging or cycling sound unappealing during your period, consider giving yoga a try. The startup cost is low, and it’s easy to do yoga at home. If you don’t have a yoga mat, use a blanket or towel. Yoga has a multitude of physical benefits, including increased strength, flexibility and endurance. However, many people practice yoga for the emotional benefits. There is growing research linking mind-and-body-connection exercises to improved mood and physical well-being, and yoga is commonly prescribed as a safe pain-management tool.
Top 5 Yoga Poses for Cramps
1) Child’s Pose
- Start at the back of your yoga mat. Kneel on the floor, lowering your hips to sit on top of your feet. Keep knees angled slightly outward, and rest your stomach on your thighs. Extend arms overhead, reaching your fingers toward the front of the mat. Rest your forehead on the mat. For proper form, extend the spine from the base of the tailbone to the top of the neck. Spend a few minutes in this pose, focusing on slowing the pace of your breathing.
- Child’s pose is a fan favorite in any yoga class! It’s often used as a resting position between more active poses, but it’s beneficial all on its own. During your period, this pose can be especially helpful for relieving back pain, as it elongates the spine and releases tension in the lower back. As the torso rests against the thighs, it applies gentle pressure on the internal organs, aiding in digestion.
2) Knees to Chest
- Lie down on your back, bend your legs and hug your knees into your chest.
- This pose has similar benefits to Child’s Pose, but it’s more active than a resting pose. Focus on keeping the tailbone in firm contact with the mat rather than curling it upward. If you want to intensify the stretch, pull your chin toward your chest.
3) Seated Forward Fold
- Sit on the ground with your legs extended. Keeping a slight bend in the knees, lean forward, pulling the belly button toward your knees. Focus on keeping the spine straight and bending from the hips instead of the back.
- Seated forward fold can help stretch the hamstrings and relieve pressure in the back and shoulders. The forward fold also stimulates circulation, helping to ease cramps.
4) Supine Twist
- Lie flat on your back and bring your right knee to your chest. With your left hand, grab your lifted knee and lean it across the body to the left and gently toward the floor. Rest your right arm out at a right angle to your body. Hold this position, and gently turn your head to look at your resting right hand. Hold for several breaths before repeating with the left leg.
- The supine twist, also known as the reclining spinal twist, activates circulation by twisting and compressing the organs.
- Position yourself on hands and knees, with wrists directly below shoulders, knees directly below hips, and a neutral spine. Slowly arch your back and lift your tailbone and forehead upward. Hold here for one breath before returning to a neutral spine. Reverse the motion by curling the tailbone toward the ground and pulling your chin to your chest; round out your back.
- Cat/cow can help relax the abdominal muscles and release tension in the spine and hips.
Yoga is a great practice to incorporate into your daily routine, not just during the week of your period. At Serenol, we understand the need for a holistic approach to PMS and menstruation relief. We’re proud to be industry leaders in providing safe remedies. Follow our blog for more resources and tips about women’s health and wellness.