Updated: Jun 29, 2022
Purge the Pain!
Begin to Treat Pain, Inflammation, Cramps, and Tenderness Using Ancient Yogi Pose Secrets
Like many other personal experiences, it is simply impossible to understand how exactly period cramps feel except you experience them yourself. For women, there is always that family member, male friend or even colleague who seems to – mostly unknowingly – downplay how you feel when it’s that time of the month. “I mean, it can’t be that bad,” is usually how it goes.
But it can. And for many women, it is usually that bad. Although the time, method, or degree to which women experience period cramps is entirely subjective, varying from person to person, one common factor is that the experience is never pleasant. Many women try to ease the pain by taking prescribed medications like pain killers and other useful drugs. The level of response to these drugs also varies from person to person, and a particular drug that works perfectly for one person may end up being entirely ineffective for another. This is where alternative healing becomes relevant, prescribing ways by which women can ease the unpleasant experience of period cramps for themselves.
“Yoga” as a word that become increasingly more common in pop culture today. But many people who vocalize the word for various reasons have little or no knowledge as to the practice of Yoga and its benefits.
Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual exercises and practices aimed at improving our general living. Pre-Vedic cultures in ancient India are known to be the places of origin of Yoga, dating back to 3000 BC. It has survived millennia. It is one of the philosophical schools of Hinduism, and within itself has many branches, practices, and goals. Basic traditional Yoga practices include simple breathing exercises, chants, meditations, and different postures, which improve our general immunity and help with lung functioning.
While Yoga includes a wide range of lifestyle activities, modern Yoga has been developed into technique for stress relief, physical fitness, and relaxation. Many modern Yoga centers and Yoga experts now exist in the United States and other Western countries, as well as other parts of the world. It is widely regarded as a series of postures that helps us achieve calm and relaxation, serving as remedies for a few conditions, including period cramps. And it is very near and dear to my heart as a Kundalini (Siddha) Yoga teacher.
Yoga and Period Cramps
I know many women may think, “Why would I want to move my body around when I am in excruciating pain?! Are you crazy Prisha?!”. Please just stay with me.
Many women have found this to be an effective pain relief strategy in dealing with menstrual cramps and uneasiness. Different Yoga postures target the specific areas of the body that may be experiencing physical pain from period cramps and reduces that pain significantly. Usually, we are likely to feel pains in areas like our lower back, hips, belly, and pelvis during our periods, which can all be reduced quite significantly through these Yoga postures. The emotional and psychological stress induced by these physical pains are also dispelled after a couple of Yoga sessions.
Just like with any practicing discipline with many variations or schools of thought, Yoga teachers and practitioners have diverging opinions within the broad Yoga sphere. There are many schools, theories, and teachings on how Yoga can be used to manage and mitigate period cramps. Many experts will have different takes on the kinds of routines to be strictly followed during periods in attempt to rid women of unwanted pain. But this article is not intended to go incredibly deep. It’s meant to be a basic resource and an introduction to women considering Yoga as a viable means to manage their period discomfort.
Beginner Poses for Period Cramps
Here, we address certain Yoga postures that have proven to be effective in relieving women of period pains. You can engage in these exercises on your own, without any expert consultation.
The Adapted Child’s Pose
This is one of the most famous Yoga poses. It is known to even the least experienced Yoga practitioners and Yoga beginners. The Adapted Child’s Pose is a posture used to manage period pains affecting the back. To assume the child’s pose, start with placing your knees on the floor and widen them a bit, in order to increase the level of relief. Upon attaining this posture, fold yourself forwards, extend your arms, and slowly bend down as far as your body allows. If you can, bend downwards until your forehead touches the mat, then take five slow breaths using your belly and not your chest. Hold this pose for a minimum of 1 minute and a maximum of 15.
The Cat-Cow Combination Pose
Just like it sounds and looks, this merges two poses, primarily aiming at relieving pain in the back and in your abdominal muscles. It begins with assuming the “cow pose” position, whereby you get on your hands and your knees. Both hands should be aligned under your shoulders and both knees should be aligned under your hips. Raise your head upwards slowly and gently, gazing towards the sky as you take a breath, then raise your tailbone towards the sky at the same time, while dropping your belly towards the ground.
After completing the cow pose, you will then slowly transform into the cat pose. I stress slowly, especially if you are just beginning Yoga because a jerky or quick transition can hurt your lower back or make your period pain worse. You can achieve this by breathing normally for a few breaths, breathing out slowly and curling your back. This time, your head and tailbone will point towards the ground. This pose will warm your back muscles and stretch your abdominals. Try to hold each pose for a minimum of 1 minute or a maximum of 5 minutes.
The Reclining Twist Pose
The lower belly and lower back are the main areas to experience relief after the reclining twist. The posture is achieved by firstly lying flat on your back. Bend your left knee and lower it to your right side. Turn your head towards your left then reach out both your arms wide and place your palms flat against the ground. Retain this position while you take five or more breaths. Hold for a minimum of 1 minute or a maximum of 5 minutes. Breathing is a major part of Yoga’s relaxation effect on the body.
After this, extend your left leg back to the ground and repeat the same pose (as above) with your right leg. Your hips, back, and shoulders will be relaxed upon repeating the same sequence 5 to 10 times on each side.
The Corpse Pose
The corpse pose is usually used as the concluding sequence in a Yoga exercise. It focuses more on our mindfulness rather than our physical condition. It relaxes our minds and helps us overcome the emotional aspect of period pains.
To attain the corpse pose, lie flat on your back and make your palms face the ceiling or the sky. Try to consciously relax your entire body, by starting with the top of your head down to your neck, shoulders, spine, arms, hands, thighs, calves, your ankles, and then your feet. During the corpse pose, try to take long deep breaths as you relax your body. Try as much as possible to avoid short breaths. You can hold this pose for as long as you like.
Do this sequence of Yoga positions one after the other at a single stretch of time. Please do not do one and then have a cup of coffee and come back and resume the next. The relationship of these physical poses to each other are what renders the entire exercise effective for curbing your pain and inflammation from periods. Each of them should also be performed more than once, preferably 5 to 10 times each. Not only will you experience significant relief in different parts of your body, your mind and the emotional stress from period cramps will be greatly eased as well. Also try to take deep long meditative breathing in these positions. If you are brand new to Yoga, it would be a wonderful way to appreciate the ancient benefits of these poses as your first impression of the type of relief they can bring to your body and soul.