Yoga Stretches for PMS Relief

Happy New Year to everyone! I’d like to start off the week with a guest blog. I’ve been given the opportunity to provide my writing on other sites in the past, so I see it fit to pay it forward! This post provides great information on yoga stretches women can do to ease menstrual cramps. Thanks Ashley!

15 Yoga Poses to
Relieve PMS
Up to 3 out of every 4 women experience at least some
symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome according to the National
Institutes of Health.
Whether you soldier on through mild cramps, or have to take
a sick-day once a month to recover from debilitating pain, knowing how to ease
your pain naturally can be a useful, convenient, and powerful tool in your
“medicine cabinet.”
Practicing specific yoga poses are a great way to naturally
reduce cramping, indigestion, gas, constipation, low back pain, and an
irritated mind every month. You can easily practice these poses in the comfort
of your own home before, during, and after your period.
Relieve cramping with
heart openers
Cramping happens when the uterus starts to contract as a way
to shed it’s lining due to the absence of a fertilized egg.
It’s the body’s way of expelling something it doesn’t want
to make room for a cleaner system.
To relieve this tension and pain from the abdomen, it helps
to open up the front side of the body with yoga poses that open the heart.
Poses to try:
Fish Pose
Camel Pose
Bow Pose
Start by lying on your back with your arms straight
underneath you, palms face down. Press your forearms into the ground to lift
your chest and tilt your head back until the top of your head rests lightly on
the ground. Most of the weight will be supported in your forearms. If this is
uncomfortable on your neck, place a block or blanket underneath your head to
shorten the amount of space between your head and the ground. Take 5-10 deep
breaths here and then lower your arms and head carefully back to the ground.
Camel Pose:
Start by sitting up on your shins and bring your
hands to your low back. As you inhale, reach your chest up toward the ceiling
as if a puppeteer were pulling up on a string attached to your collarbone. Take
your gaze up and back behind you and use your hands to gently suggest your hips
forward over your knees. It’s important to feel space and length in the low
back here and that your hips stay aligned over your knees. Take 3 breaths and
then inhale back to center before sitting down on your heels and taking a few
more breaths.
Bow Pose:
Lie down on your belly and reach back to grab the
outside of your ankles with your hands. Lift your chest on an inhale and then
press your feet into your hands on an exhale to create a crescent shape with
your body. Roll onto the soft part of your belly and continue to lift your
chest high as you press your feet back into your hands. Stay here for 3 breaths
and then release and rest for a moment on your stomach.
Say goodbye to low
back pain with forward folds
If you experience chronic low back pain from PMS (or for any
reason), forward folds are your best friend.
Most people associate forward folds with hamstring
stretches, but there is an easy modification you can make to take the leg
stretch out and focus on your back.
Poses to try:
One-legged forward fold
One-legged forward fold with a side stretch
Seated forward fold
One legged forward fold:
Sit on the ground and pull your
left foot into your right inner thigh. Turn your torso to face your right leg extended
in front of you. Inhale, reach your chest up, exhale fold forward over your
right leg. Bend you knee as much as you need to work into the low back and take
the stretch out of the hamstring. Stay for 5-10 breaths and then switch sides.
One-legged forward fold with a side stretch: Start the same
was as you would for the one-legged forward fold, but instead of turning your
torso to face your right leg, reach your right arm down and place in on the
ground or on top of your right leg. Press your tailbone into the ground and
then bend over your right leg from the side to find more length in the left
side of the body. Stay for 5-10 breaths and then switch sides.
Seated forward fold: With both legs out in front of you,
toes flexed back toward your face, fold over your legs. The more you bend your
knees, the more you’ll feel the stretch in your low back.
Cure gas,
constipation, and indigestion with twists
Nothing is more uncomfortable then being out with your
friends for a nice dinner and dealing with gas. The cocktail of chemicals and
hormones secreted during menstruation also happens to cause women to experience
symptoms such as bloating, gas, constipation, and digestive distress.
Practicing gentle twists are especially helpful in moving
things along the digestive tract as you’re literally “twisting” the organs and
physically affecting your entire system.
Poses to try:
Eagle-legged supine twist
One-legged twist
Eagle-legged supine twist:
Lie on the ground with your feet
planted on the floor and wrap your right leg around your left. Bring your arms
to a “T” and then drop your wrapped legs over to the left. Gaze over your right
shoulder. Take 5-10 breaths, then switch sides. Be extra careful twisting as
this is a deep stretch for the spine.
Noose: Start by squatting down in a wide-legged stance with both feet flat on
the floor. Reach your right arm around the front of your right leg and then
reach your left arm behind your low back, working to clasp the right fingertips
near the right hip. Press down into the feet to lift your chest high. Take 3-5
breaths and then switch sides.
One-legged twist:
Lie down and pull your right knee into
your chest. Use your left hand to guide your right leg across your body and
gaze out over your right fingertips. Take 5-10 breaths and then switch sides.
Release general aches
and pains with hip openers
Oftentimes, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what hurts when it
comes to PMS. If you experience general pain all over, practice gentle hip
openers to release the low back, hips, and legs.
On a more subtle level, many people store pent-up emotions
in the hips, making hip openers great for easing mental discomfort and anger as
Poses to try:
Child’s pose
Bound angle
Half pigeon
Child’s pose: Bring your knees as wide as you can
comfortably take them and touch your big toes together behind you. Fold forward
and rest your forehead on the ground with your arms out in front of you as you
sink your hips back toward your heels. Take 10 deep breaths here.
Bound angle: Lie down on your back and bring your feet
together to touch as you let your knees fall wide. Place one hand on your belly
and one hand on your heart and take 5-10 breaths.
Half Pigeon:
Bring your right shin in front of you and your
left leg straight behind you as if you were going into the splits but you are
bending your front leg to the side. Your right foot will stay flexed as you work
to bring the shin parallel to your hips (in a neutral position facing forward).
The right knee will line up with the outside of the right hip. Fold over your
front right leg and breathe for 5-10 breaths. Then switch sides.
Watch your symptoms
improve by relaxing more
As it so happens, emotional stress may significantly
increase the levels of pain you experience during your cycle.
Take time to breathe and relax on a regular basis,
especially in the second half of your cycle, and you may avoid cramping, pain,
and discomfort altogether.
Poses to try:
Legs up the wall
Easy pose
Legs up the wall:
Lie on your back with your tailbone all
the way up against a wall and your legs resting against the wall. You can
always prop your hips up by placing a bolster or a block underneath your tailbone.
Close your eyes and stay here for 5 minutes.
Corpse: Also known as Savasana, lie down on your back with
your eyes closed. Spread your arms and legs wide with your palms face up. Take
deep breaths and stay here for 5-10 minutes.
Easy pose: Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position with a
straight spine. Rest your hands on your thighs or in your lap. Relax your
shoulders, close your eyes, and take deep breaths for 5-10 minutes.
Practicing these gentle yoga poses before, during, and after
your cycle will not only help you reduce your pain, but may even help prevent
more pain in the future.
Plus, you’ll gain flexibility and peace of mind, which both
contribute to greater overall wellbeing!
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