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4 Yoga Poses to Ease Menstrual Cramps

1. Janu Sirsasana A: Head-To-Knee Forward Bend

Start on the floor in a seated position with your legs extended forward. Bend the right knee outward to a 90-degree angle and press the right foot into the inner left thigh. Grab the left shin or foot, inhale, square the hips, and lengthen the torso over the straight leg.

Exhale, fold forward slowly from the groins. Extend the spine and lengthen through the chest. Allow your back to lengthen instead of round. Pull your left toes back towards you and extend through the left heel while firmly pressing the right foot into the left thigh. Press your sit bones down towards the floor. Continue to breathe steadily while gazing at the left foot. Stay in this pose for 1 to 3 minutes and then switch sides.

Benefits:

2. Pasasana: Noose Pose

Come into a full squat position with you feet together; lower your buttocks down towards your heels. If your heels don’t reach the floor, place a folded blanket underneath. Inhale and swing your knees to your left as you turn your torso to the right. Exhale, reach the back of your upper left arm around the outside of your right leg and reach the left forearm in front of the legs to wrap back behind the left leg.

Take a breath in and move the right arm behind your low back to clasp the hands. Exhale. Open the chest and gaze over the right shoulder. Keep the hips squared and your knees parallel to one another facing forward. Breathe steadily for 30 to 60 seconds. Inhale, gaze back to center, and exhale to release. Switch sides.

Benefits:

3. Ustrasana: Camel Pose

Kneel on the floor with the knees hips-width apart. Turn your thighs inward slightly and press your shins and feet firmly into the floor. Rest your hands on the back of your hips (place the base of your palms on the top part of your glutes and point your fingers down). Inhale, lift your chest, and press your shoulders down, towards the ribs.

Exhale, push the hips forward as you lengthen the front of the body and arch back. Keep your hands on the back of your hips or on the back of the heels. If you place your hand on the heels, press your toes into the floor to lift the heels higher. Use your hands to stabilize, push the hips forward, and lift the chest. Drop the head back, gaze upward, and breathe steadily. Stay in this pose for 30 to 60 seconds.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the front of the body, the ankles, thighs and groin.
  • Opens the abdomen, chest and throat.
  • Stretches the deep hip flexors.
  • Strengthens back muscles.
  • Improves posture.
  • Therapeutic for mild back pain, fatigue, anxiety and menstrual discomfort.

4. Supta Padangusthasana: Reclining Big Toe Pose

Lie on your back with your arms by your sides and extend the legs. Rest your head on the floor, inhale, bend the right knee, and clasp the right big toe with the right fingers. Place your left hand on top of the upper left thigh to stabilize the left leg down. Make sure to actively reach through your pointed toes.

Exhale; straighten the right leg as far as your flexibility allows. You can also use a towel or belt to wrap around the right foot to assist. Inhale; lift your head up towards the right leg and keep the left leg down. Be gentle on your neck; do not over reach. Allow the legs to remain as straight as possible. Breathe steadily and hold this pose for 1 to 3 minutes. Inhale your head back down to the floor and exhale the right leg down. Switch sides.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the hips, thighs, hamstrings, groins and calves.
  • Strengthens the knees.
  • Relieves back pain, sciatica and menstrual discomfort.


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