Period cramps are a grim reality for most women. The uterus sheds its lining, or the endometrium, to pass through the vagina out of the body, in the form of a red discharge.
The uterus contracts itself to discard the endometrium completely over three to five days, during which you experience menstrual bleeding. The contracting and releasing cause some degree of discomfort, while some women report debilitating pain. You might use a hot water bottle to relieve the cramps, or a good quality heating patch from a brand like Nua, to relieve the pain associated with menstrual cramps.
Why yoga to relieve menstrual cramps?
Science shows that any physical activity may relieve menstrual cramps, from running to brisk walking, and from yoga to swimming. Exercise relaxes the tense uterine muscles. When the muscles relax, they tend to cramp less and the accompanying pain is dramatically reduced. Though the endometrium is still shed as part of the period, it does not become as painful as before.
However, most women do not prefer to do intense workouts during their period. It is also not possible to go swimming during the period unless one is wearing a tampon or a menstrual cup, and most women are uncomfortable with either option. Women using even the best sanitary pads report that moderate to intense physical activity causes the pad to bunch up or become clammy with sweat.
This is where yoga scores over other forms of exercise. It does not cause as much exertion and sweat as other forms of exercise, and it is quite effective in relieving period cramps. Moreover, certain yoga asanas are designed for toning and strengthening the pelvic floor, abdomen, back and hips. These asanas relieve period cramps
Which Asanas are Best?
Try these yoga asanas to relieve the pain from menstrual cramps:
* Child pose: Sit on your knees and then extend your body forward such that your torso rests on your upper thighs. Extend your arms forward as much as you can without tightening the spine. Hold for five seconds, then relax. Repeat 10 times. This asana is good for the back and hip muscles, and relieves pain associated with period cramps.
* Knees-to-chest pose: Lie down on your back and slowly lift your knees up to bring them toward your chest. Bring them as far back towards your chest as you can, holding your heels with your hands. Hold the pose for 10 seconds, then slowly release. Repeat 15 more times. This pose tones the internal organs in your mid-section, and also relaxes uterine muscles to relieve cramping.
* Camel pose: This yoga asana requires some dexterity and is only recommended for women with strong cores and backs. Sit on your knees with your back straight. Now move your upper body backwards in such a way that your back arches and your hands rest on your heels. This might be a little tough to hold for more than two or three seconds at a stretch, but do get into the pose slowly and release gradually. It tightens and pulls on the abdominal and uterine muscles and is excellent for regulating the periods as well as reducing period pain.