Period pains are common; in fact, about 80 per cent of women experience it at some point of their lives.
ALSO READ: What your period says about your health
Now, what if I told you that there is a way that you could get rid of or significantly reduce those dreaded pains? It’s quite simple; yoga stretches. So instead of reaching for those painkillers, try a more natural method to beat those period blues.
Here are four poses that can help reduce the pain, make you calm and beat all the other discomfort associated with that time of the month. It is also a great way to reduce the symptoms of your next period.
1. Bow pose or dhanurasana
This pose is excellent to beat constipation and respiratory ailments. It helps relieve backache, fatigue, anxiety and most importantly menstrual discomfort. The aasana, distinctly bow like in structure, stretches the entire front of the body and gives that extra stretch to your ankles, thighs, groin, abdomen, chest, throat and the muscles of your buttocks.
It also helps improve posture, therefore beating lower back pain and strengthening the back muscles. Another added advantage is that since the pose causes you to put all your weight on your navel, it stimulates the organs of the abdomen. This stimulation helps ease cramps and regulate the flow of blood to and from the uterus, relieving the pain and bloating feeling one normally feels during this time.
Steps to do this pose: Lie on your stomach on a yoga mat, keep your feet hip width apart and place your arms by your side. Now bend your knees and stretch out your hands to hold your ankles. Now, breathe in and raise your body from the front, such that your chest is off the ground. At the same time lift your thighs off the ground as well.
Try to keep your body and breathing stable. Hold this pose for 15 to 20 seconds before returning to your original position. Remember to exhale when you release your ankles. This is a relaxing pose, so just enjoy the stretch and do not over do it.
Tip: Do not perform this pose if you have a neck or back injury, are pregnant, have had recent abdominal surgery or if you have high blood pressure.
2.Fish pose or matsyasana
This pose, just like the dhanurasana, is great to beat fatigue, menstrual pain and anxiety. But the best part about this pose is that it gives you that natural glow. It also stretches out the muscles of the back, neck, chest and legs giving you instant relief from muscle aches and pains associated with menstruation. This pose helps stimulate the organs of the stomach and abdomen, fighting indigestion, gas and that feeling of bloating.
Steps to do this pose: Lie on your back on the floor. With your legs straight, place your arms on either side. Now raise your hips, one side at a time and place your hands under each hip. Bend your elbows and push your upper body off the floor by arching your back, remember to exhale as you do this. Only raise your chest, and tilt your head backwards. Hold this pose for five counts and inhale as you rest your back on the floor.
Tip: If you suffer from high blood pressure or have neck/back pain, avoid doing this pose.
3. Camel pose or ustrasana
Especially good to treat respiratory ailments, mild backaches, fatigue and anxiety, the camel pose is perfect to relieve menstrual discomfort. Just like the bow pose, the camel pose also stretches the front of the body, ankles, thighs, groin, abdomen and chest. It stimulates the abdominal organs, increasing the blood flow to the uterus helping it heal faster. It also relieves back ache and helps your body relax.
Steps to do this pose: Kneel on your yoga mat and press your shin (front part of your leg) onto the floor, such that it is flat against the mat. Now place your hands on either sides of your pelvis, with your fingers pointing downwards. Make sure your palms are resting on the top of your hip bone. This will help support your back when you bend backwards.
Next, push your tail bone downwards and forwards while keeping your upper body upright. Inhale and tilt your head back, with your chin pointing to the sky. Gently lean back forming a inward arch in your back. Now place your palms on the soles of your feet for added support. You should feel a stretch right from your chin down to your belly or groin. Hold this pose for 15-20 seconds, exhale and come back to your original position.
Tip: Do not do this pose if you have neck of back pain, high blood pressure or suffer from migraines.
4. Noose pose or pasasana
Highly beneficial for menstrual discomfort, sciatica, mild back, shoulder and neck pain, pasasana is also known as the noose pose for the type of twist one is in while doing this pose. The noose pose stretches the muscles of the back, ankles and groin. It stimulates the uterus and improves digestion and beats constipation. Moreover it helps relieve lower back pain that so many of us experience during our periods.
Steps to do this pose: Start by standing tall, with your hands in the namaste (prayer) position. Keep your feet together with your back straight. Now bend your knees and squat such that your buttocks are resting on your calves. Exhale and stretch your right hand over your left knee such that your forearm passes over your shin.
This will cause your back to twist. Take your free hand behind your back and clasp the other hand. Either you could interlock the fingers of both your hands or hold the wrist of either hand. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds while breathing gently. To get out of the pose, release one hand and slowly twist out of the position.
Tip: Do not do this pose is you suffer from a knee, back or neck injury.