We’re sure by now you’ve heard that yoga can build muscle, reduce stress, and help you sleep. But could it also be the menstrual cramps solution you’ve been searching for?
Real talk: as much as we may try to embrace our periods, that time of the month is never going to be a walk in the park. From unexpected leaks to headaches to sleep disruption to zits, we’re dealing with a lot. We don’t blame you if curling up with a cronut and back episodes of Law & Order: SVU (the murder scene is IN OUR PANTS, Stabler!) sounds like all you can manage, but gentle movement is actually way more effective than the fetal position at dealing with bloating and cramps. Yoga has been proven to be a super simple, do-anywhere way to clear the mind, relieve pressure and bloating, and soothe and prevent crippling cramps.
Here are 5 yoga positions you can try to beat menstrual cramps. Hold each pose for 3 to 5 minutes for maximum benefits and breathe deeply to relax your body and mind.
This super comforting pose is ideal for lower back cramps. Kneel with your feet together, knees apart, and fold your upper body over your lower body with arms outstretched. Rest your forehead on the mat and breathe deeply into your lower back.
A great way to stretch out hips and belly. Sit on the floor with one leg bent in front of you and the other extended behind. Ease your way towards the floor but don’t overdo it - the point is to release tension in your hips. You can stay upright or lower your torso over your front leg for a deeper stretch. Continue on the opposite site.
Moving through cat and cow poses warms up your midsection, providing valuable heat that soothes and stretching and toning the muscles of your midsection and back. While on all fours, alternate between arching your back towards the sky and dropping your belly to the floor.
Twists are amazing for digestion and relieve bloating by “wringing out” your internal organs. As a bonus, this reclined twist eases pressure along the back, hips, and thighs and helps relax tension in your limbs. From your back, stretch your arms out in a T formation. Bring one leg across your body and rest your bent knee on the ground. Gently twist your torso and head in the opposite direction, and breathe into the spaces where the stretch occurs.
Forward folds decrease the pressure on your organs and improve circulation, which is hugely important when menstruating. A standing folds takes all the pressure off your spine and allows the muscles of your midsection to breathe and de-bloat. Stand with your feet hips width apart and slowly roll down until your torso is hanging parallel to your legs. For extra weight, hold opposite elbows. If you have ever experienced leg cramps, this pose can be a lifesaver.
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