Yoga for Your Flow!
Help Reduce Menstrual Cramps
Yoga is a great way to help find relief during your time of the month. It not only helps reduce menstrual cramps, but also helps with a host of the other unwanted symptoms that come along with that time of the month, including bloating, moodiness, fatigue and cravings. As much as you may want to curl up into the fetal position and indulge in your favorite comfort foods, not moving only exacerbates symptoms. Incorporating gentle movement through a yoga practice can actually be a great way to help reduce PMS.
Menstrual cramps are often the cause of a lack of blood flow to the uterus, which causes contractions or period cramps. Exercising your body with yoga can help to increase circulation and blood flow to the uterus, helping to reduce cramping.
Yoga also helps to release endorphins – the body’s natural painkiller and mood elevator. These hormones help reduce pain and bloating not to mention improve your mood. Plus, the more you consistently move your body the bigger the boost to your metabolism, reducing unwanted cravings.
Heart opening poses like reclining bound angle pose can help alleviate unwanted anxiety, stress, and fatigue associated with PMS symptoms. This pose helps to stretch your groin and abdomen while opening the front of your body, which helps to relieve menstrual cramps, ease lower back pain, and reduce menstrual discomfort. This pose also allows for you to slow down your mind and breath, helping to further calm your nervous system.
Hip opening poses like garland pose or bound angle pose, can help open the pelvic region, helping to slow heavy bleeding, ease menstrual cramps, and reduce low back pain. They’re also great for women who suffer from endometriosis and fibroids. Arching Pigeon is also a great hip opening pose, which can help reduce pain and menstrual cramps. Pigeon pose increases circulation to the reproductive system by compressing and stimulating through light pressure to these organs. It is also a great pose to regulate blood flow and reduce back pain.
Poses like Locust pose can help to massage the abdomen and reproductive organs, easing discomfort from cramping. Digestion during menstruation can often become irregular and this pose helps to stimulate your digestive system, alleviating bloating and constipation. By practicing this pose regularly, it can help balance your hormones, regulating your menstrual cycle, while also reducing PMS, menstrual discomfort, and emotional irritability you may experience during your time of the month.
As beneficial as yoga is for your menstrual cycle, there are certain yoga poses to avoid during your period, such as inversions. Apana is the downward flowing energy responsible for menstruation, inverting the body (specifically, the uterus) while menstruating disturbs the natural movement of apana and creates an upward flow. Overall, finding your flow on your mat can help you have a much more comfortable flow next time.
Rachelle Wintzen is the founder of The Chi Junky Yoga Studio. She is also a Lole Ambassador & the resident Yoga expert on CTV’s The Social. IG @chi_junky