4 Yoga Poses to Ease Menstrual Cramps

Bloating, cramping, headaches, nausea—sound familiar ladies? It's that time of the month, and indulging in cravings like salt, sweets, caffeine or alcohol may feel nurturing at that moment, but it's not. Instead, seek out other options to ease monthly aches and pains.

Uterus contractions cause much of the pain felt during the menstrual cycle because the contractions inhibit blood flow to the lining of the uterus. Abdominal cramps, low-back pain and leg discomfort are common symptoms. Taking pain medicine can help but only temporarily. It simply masks the pain instead of addressing the root of the challenge.

More: What Causes Menstrual Cramps

Eat fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, and reduce stress to help alleviate menstrual pain. Yoga, acupuncture, acupressure and other relaxation therapies are recommended treatments.

Here are four yoga poses that will help relax the nervous system, relieve low-back pain, reduce leg and abdominal aches, calm your emotions, and ease other menstrual discomforts.

More: How to Reduce PMS

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:

  • Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings and groin.
  • Calms the brain and helps relieve mild depression.
  • Reduces anxiety, fatigue, headache and menstrual discomfort.

More: 6 Yoga Tips for Beginners

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