Happy International Women’s Day! We’re celebrating womanhood with some tools and yoga poses to help you find relief from your monthly menstrual cycle.
It’s International Women’s Day today. Happy Day!
For all those people who menstruate out there, you’ll be familiar with the stabbing pains in your stomach that signal the beginning of your period each month. Dull aches, cramps, nausea, headaches, lethargy; whatever your period brings you, just know that you’re not alone. 80% of women experience period pain at some point in their life, and for 5-10% of women the pain is severe enough to have a disruptive effect on their lives.
How to relieve period cramps?
Aside from pain killers, there are lots of natural remedies and techniques out there that are also recommended by health professionals as ways to ease period pain. Hands up if you’ve tried any of the following?
A hot water bottle or heat pack to the back and stomach
Massage therapy or essential oils
Drinking lots of water
Skipping the caffeine
Trying teas… ginger, turmeric, cinnamon or camomile
Eating anti-inflammatory foods like blueberries, tomatoes or oily fish
Here at The Frog Project, we’re not experts on diet or pain relief. Sometimes it’s just a case of figuring out what works for you – every body is different. But we do (as always!) have something to say about the benefits of yoga for period pain.
Does exercise help period pain?
We totally get it. Curling up on a sofa or relaxing in the bath is much more appealing when your back aches and your stomach is punching your insides. When that lethargic feeling strikes, we urge you to resist! Many studies have shown the benefits of exercise, and particularly yoga, for relieving menstrual cramps and aches. One 2011 study tested the effects of three particular poses (cat, fish and cobra) and concluded that these yoga poses reduced the severity and duration of period pain.
The beauty of yoga is that it can be as active or restorative as you want to make it. If you feel energetic whilst on your period, then great. Take an active practice that will release lots of muscle-relaxing endorphins. If you feel awful, in pain and tired, then stretching out the body could be all you need to feel a little better.
Which are the best yoga poses for period pain?
According to the study we mentioned above, the fish, cat and cobra poses have been shown to reduce the severity of period pain. So add them to your arsenal of asanas to get you through your week. In addition to those, we also recommend the following three yoga postures to help relieve period cramps and back or stomach aches. Even without committing to a full class, you can fit these stretches into a busy routine. FREE full routine below!
1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This pose is a go-to for any aching in the lower back. Breath deeply into the back body and feel the muscles around the lower spine relax. Not only is this pose calming and stress relieving, but it also opens up the hips, stretches out the glutes and provides a nice massage to the reproductive organs that are the source of the pain.
2. Reclined Twist (Supta vakrasana)
Twists are great for keeping the spinal muscles mobile, and for improving circulation by stimulating the inner organs. This reclined version gives a lovely stretch across the back and hips and also stimulates the digestive system, helping with the bloating feeling that can often accompany your period.
3. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
There are lots of variations of this advanced pose, so whether you prefer to keep your hands at the top of your spine (like they’re going into your back pockets) or reach all the way down to your heels, you can still feel the benefits. It’s a surprisingly effective pose for period pain, stretching all the way across your hips, back and groin and engaging your stomach and pelvic muscles. After holding the pose, try going straight into Child’s Pose to counteract the back bend.
If you feel up to a full practice, the beauty of live online yoga is that you can turn your camera off, so if you want to get back into Child’s Pose at any point during the class, who’s going to stop you?!
For a little more of where this came from, why not try our Live Online Yoga classes, bringing you accessible yoga for all, from our living room to yours? Sign up now for 15 days of free unlimited classes.
Carmel is a travel professional and lover of literature and Latin America. In her day job at a tour operator she whisks people away to far off destinations, while in her spare time she moonlights as a freelance copywriter. You can find her portfolio here https://carmelhendry.journoportfolio.com. While not writing, or dreaming about travel, she can be found playing the piano, cycling or practising yoga. She’s spent the last year learning how to do a headstand, but mostly can be found relaxing in child’s pose! Join her and the Frog Project Community with 15 days of free unlimited classes. It’s just yoga.