Flow Through Your Flow: A Yoga Practice for Painful Periods
When it’s your time of the month it is crucial to let yourself slow down to take care of yourself with even more loving-kindness. It’s time to start listening to your body instead of trying to ‘power through’ the pain and uncomfortable feelings when that’s not what’s best for us.
Let’s face it, we live in a society where we can’t always take off of work when we have cramps, so at the times of the worst period side-effects we must learn different ways to help reduce that cramping.
It might not be our favorite thing to do during our time of the month, but one of the best ways to reduce pain is to get daily exercise. This also applies to when you don’t have your period and staying hydrated on a daily basis, both of these factors play a significant role in your period pain or lack thereof.
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Yoga for Period Pains
One of our go-to exercises to reduce period pain is yoga at home! It is a great way to reduce pain, release endorphins, and get the much-needed mindfulness that is needed during those painful periods.
Yoga has been scientifically proven to lower period pain and reduce the need to take pain relievers. That is why we have created this relaxing yoga sequence to help you stretch out the lower back and lean into deep breathing as you relax and flow.
Remember, you need to go with the flow, not against it. That means no bandhas that pull the stomach up and in and no inversions that reverse circulation for now. You probably won’t want to lay on your stomach or do deep back-bends either.
These yoga poses keep you close to the ground so you can feel your connection to the earth, get out of your mind, and into your body. Let’s get started!
Kneel on the mat and start out sitting on your heels. It’s important to bring the knees wider than your hips and your feet close together to act as a seat.
Walk your hands forward and rest your forehead on the ground. Bring both of your arms back alongside your body so that they are in the opposite direction of your head with your palms facing up.
As you breathe slowly and deeply through the nose, feel the spine elongating, and the ribs expand. Bring your focus to the forehead to start to go inward and sense whatever it is that your body needs from you today.
After a few slow deep breaths, lift your chest and come to hands and knees.
Low Crescent Lunge
Move from hands and knees into high plank position by straightening one leg at a time behind you. Then step the right foot forward between your hands and drop your back knee.
Inhale and bring your palms together in front of your heart to help you feel centered. Breathe slowly and deeply three times and then bring your hands back to the ground.
Step the right foot back and the left foot forward repeating the lunge on the other side.
Bring both hands inside the front leg and see if you can drop to your elbows. Make sure your neck hangs heavily to stretch the upper spine. This is a deep hip stretch that can help you release anger and emotions that can be strong around this time.
After three to five deep breaths, bring your left hand outside of your left knee and step the left leg back to switch sides. Step the right foot forward and bring your right arm inside the right knee possibly lowering to your elbows.
Breathe slowly and deeply just as you did on the left and notice if one side feels tighter than the other so you can hold it a little longer and bring more balance into your body.
Half Sleeping Pigeon
Bring your right knee to the ground and bend your foot under you so it comes toward the left hip.
Keeping your hips square, lower them, and keep the left hip pulling forward and down. Lean forward and take five slow deep breaths to stretch the right glutes as you breathe slowly and deeply. Press into your hands to lift your chest and step the right leg back.
Step your left leg forward to repeat the pose on the left side with the right leg straight back. Let the weight of your body stretch these big muscles that can hold a lot of tension.
Swing the right foot in front of you and bring the bottoms of the feet together and scoot them towards you as you stretch your heart forward through your shoulders.
Take a deep inhale lengthening up and out of the lower back and then exhale as you fold forward and push your elbows into your knees to bring them closer to the ground.
This pose is great for relieving for period cramps and reducing the back pain that is often linked to them. Take as long as you want in this pose.
Seated Forward Fold
Straighten your legs in front of you and reach forward for your toes. Relax the neck so your head hangs and think of lengthening the lower back. Instead of forcing yourself into the pose, relax into it and let gravity stretch the back of the legs and spine.
It’s okay and normal to have a slight bend in the knees if you need to, just find a place where you feel a gentle stretch. This will help your digestion and forward bends help to calm the nervous system.
After you’ve taken five deep slow breaths in and out of your nose, sit up on an inhale.
Head To Knee Pose
Bend your right leg so the bottom of your right foot comes to the inside of your left thigh. Turn your torso towards your straight left leg and lean over your leg reaching for your toes. Again, think of lengthening out of the lower back and engage your core to turn yourself.
Breathe slowly and deeply three times and on an inhale, come back up, and switch sides.
Now remain seated and bring the soles of the feet together but push them away from your body. Drape your torso forward and slide your hands under the backs of the knees with palms up.
Your body is sort in a clamshell shape. Breathe here and take your time in this pose letting go of anything on your mind with each exhale.
There are only two more poses to go and they are all deeply relaxing. Move slowly from this pose to the next to remain relaxed.
Happy Baby Pose
Gently come onto your back and bring your legs up with bent knees. Grab onto the outsides of the feet and pull your knees towards the ground gently on either side of the ribs. Rock side to side massaging the lower back. Let all your stress go and feel your spine on the ground.
To finish, hug your knees in gently.
Lay your legs on the ground and rest your arms along your body with palms facing up. Tuck your chin slightly to release the back of the neck. Scan your body for any tension and send permission for that area to release.
Let the ground hold up the weight of your physical body as you restore your mind, body, and soul laying still for seven minutes. When you’re done wake up slowly to bring this sense of peace with you for the rest of the day.
Listen to what your body can and can’t do. Just taking time to breathe and get the blood flowing can give us endorphins and help us get through the emotional aspect
A woman’s pelvis is the base of her emotional stability because it is the base of the spine and thus alignment. Doing daily hip stretches, back stretches, and core strengthening can help us stay connected spiritually, intuitively, and emotionally. Having a daily yoga practice will pay off when you feel much better and can still get some stuff done while on your period. Just don’t beat yourself up if you can’t keep up with your normal schedule.
With so many yoga types out there, it’s hard to know which type is best to do while on your period. Yoga benefits you no matter what type you do and certain styles are more appealing depending on your energy level. Yin, restorative, or therapeutic styles are good for while you’re on your period.
Honor your body and its needs, even if that means cancelling plans. If you’re stuck at work and don’t have time to do all these yoga exercises, at least, take a break and lean forward to help relieve your lower back.
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