Menstrual Cramps and Yoga (2/6 – Stephanie Chua)

Menstruation is literally a big pain in the a** for me and every other woman. Nevermind that you get bloated, experience extreme fatigue and mood swing, backache and more. Some of us are blessed with extremely painful cramps that literally leave us in cold sweat, bedridden and face almost drained of blood. No prizes for guessing where it’s gushing out from.

Yoga, as I have learnt during YTT and through additional reading, have some beneficial asanas (poses) that help to ease cramps; whereas some asanas and pranayamas practice (breathing techniques) are a big fat no-no for those on their period. So what are the poses that are highly recommended for those who experience cramps like me?

3 Poses that help to ease cramps

  • Janu Sirsasana A: Head to knee forward bend
    1. Not only does it help to reduce menstrual cramps, it helps to reduce anxiety and fatigue as well as stretching your spine, shoulders and hamstrings.
  • Malasana Variation
    1. Also improves digestion and stretches your thighs, groins and spine.
  • Ustrasana: Camel Pose
    1. Therapeutic for the possible mild backache from your cramps on top of stretching the front of your body, ankles and thighs.

What are the pranayamas and asanas to avoid when you are having menstruation?

Pranayamas Techniques

  • Bhastrika (Bellow’s Breath)
  • Kapalbhati (Skull Shining Breath)

Reason being these two requires active breathing so it might cause someone who is on their period to feel light headed or dizzy.

Asanas

  • No inversions as it will disrupt normal flow.
  • No asanas that requires pressure on abdomen.

However, it is important to note that every woman have a different experience during their period. So it is entirely up to the individual as one will know their body best. It’s just that during period, our energy levels tend to be low and it will affect the yoga practice. Always keep in mind that yoga is meant to be an enjoyable experience so if one feels uncomfortable, it is best to go easy with Ujjayi and a few simple asanas.