Bloating, cramps, nausea and that undeniable feeling that you are acting a little bit "crazy". We've all been there. Menstruation is a time of heightened awareness and sensitivity. Your body's reproductive system is going through huge physiological and hormonal changes and you are at the mercy of that time of the month.
Oh, the joys of being a woman!
Have no fear, ladies. We are here to help you during that uncomfortable time. Angie Michelle has picked four yoga poses that will help ease cramps and get you feeling back to your normal self in no time.
Also known as legs up the wall pose, this is a very relaxing and restorative pose as it inverts the usual actions of sitting and standing. Great to ease menstrual pain and stress as well. To begin, sit down next to a wall and slowly lay on you back. Engage your core and pivot the legs up the wall so that your torso and legs create a 90 degree angle. Focus on your breathing and allow yourself to stay here for as long as you need.
Also known as Butterfly or Bound Angle pose, this is a great way to stretch out tight hips and relieve lower back pain. Menstrual discomfort can come in so many forms so it's wise to find poses that suit you and your needs. Begin by sitting in Staff pose with legs straight out in front, sitting tall. As you exhale, bend your knees bringing the feet to the pelvis and connecting both soles of the feet together. With a flat back, begin to bring the chest towards the floor as you exhale. When you cannot keep your back flat anymore, you have the option to stay where you are or round forward and relax deeper into the pose. Hold here for 5-8 breathes and then slowly lift the chest back up to a seated position.
This pose has numerous benefits which include the incredible ability to relieve menstrual pain. Word of caution, if your cycle is extremely heavy, I would avoid doing this pose. Or if you are feeling extra weak, you can do this pose supported with blankets or pillows underneath the buttocks.
Before entering into Bridge pose, a few cat/cows and flows are a great way to warm up the back. Once you have, start by laying on your mat with your feet planted. Actively pushing your feet and arms into the ground, begin to firm the buttocks and lift the hips until the thighs are parallel with the floor. Keeping the knees over the heels, you can begin to roll the shoulders under and clasp the hands. Stay in the pose for up to a minute, release by untucking the shoulders and hands and a big exhalation, slowly rolling the spine down. Repeat the pose 1 to 2 times.
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
There are a variety of twist poses that will help ease discomfort during that time of the month. Half Lord of the Fishes is a great pose and can be modified easily.
Begin sitting in Staff pose with legs extended out in front, sitting up tall. You have the option of bending the right leg or keeping it straight (depending on the sensitivity in the knee). Then bend the left leg up and over, bringing the sole of the left leg connected to the mat. Remove the fleshy areas of the buttocks so that the sit bones are connected fully. Inhale both arms up, as you twist to the left, bring the left hand down just behind the back and tuck the right arm between the leg and body. Look towards the back of the room and begin to extend the crown of the head towards the roof, lengthening the spine upwards as you twist a little bit more. Hold here for 3-5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
As with any time you practice, stay true to yourself and how you are feeling that day. If these poses feel like too much, allow your body to relax and get plenty of rest. Eating a healthy, plant based diet during your cycle can also help with symptoms. Also, beware of the dreaded sugar cravings. Eating junk will only make things worse even though it might taste good at the time.
Join Angie Michelle for Candlelit Flow at 7am and Vinyasa Flow at 9am on Tuesdays and Thursdays.