International Yoga Day: Five asanas to help reduce period cramps
Menstrual cramps are one of the most common symptoms that a woman experience just before or during her periods. In fact, a study suggests that 85% of women suffer from painful cramping during their period. While most people depend on natural remedies or over-the-counter drugs for relief, yoga also plays a significant role in alleviating the pain:
On International Yoga Day, Sharana Jhangiani, Head of Community, Nua shares five yoga asanas that will help in reducing menstrual cramps:
1. Janu Sirsasana (One-legged forward bend)
Forward bending asanas have a stimulating effect on the abdominal and reproductive muscles. To do this asana, sit down on the floor and keep your legs straight with your hands by your sides. Bend a knee and pull your foot towards the inside, touching the inner thigh of the other leg. Now, stretch your upper body, bend over that leg and breathe in deeply. Repeat this for the other side too. Janu Sirsasana stretches the hamstrings in a simple forward bend and allows you to gently extend your hips and groin.
2. Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Yoga is not just about external flexibility but about benefiting your internal organs too. Balasana helps in releasing tension from your back, shoulders and neck, relaxing the body and relieving fatigue. To take the form of this asana, kneel and sit on your heels. Take a deep breath as you raise your arms above your head and release it while bending your upper body forward. Ensure that you place your forehead on the floor, as your pelvis rests on your heels and your back is not hunched to achieve an accurate posture.
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3. Supta Baddha Konasana (Goddess Pose)
Your menstrual cramps do not stand a chance against this relaxing asana. The Supta Baddha Konasana, also known as Reclined Bound Angle, helps in easing out the cramps, making the abdominal muscles relax. To perform this asana, lie down straight with both arms resting at your sides. Bend your knees onto the sides of the ground, bringing the soles of the legs at the centre, making the edges of the feet touch the floor. Breathe in and out slowly as you stretch your arms outwards, leaving your body in a complete state of rest.
4. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
Dhanurasana helps in strengthening your back and abdominal muscles, relieving stress, fatigue and any discomfort felt during menstrual cramps. The bow pose helps in strengthening the core muscles thus stimulating the reproductive organs. To practice this asana, lie down on your stomach and fold your knees with your arms by your sides. Take your hands backwards, holding your ankles and steadying your body while doing so. Inhale deeply, pull your legs, lift your chest and take deep breaths while remaining in this position.
5. Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
The fish pose, otherwise known as Matsyasana, strengthens the abdominal muscles, which relieves lower back discomfort and cramps, also helping to ease the stiffness in the hips. Begin by lying down on your back and placing your hands beneath your hips, with your palms facing down. The elbows should be in close proximity to one another. Lift your head and chest, lowering your head as you try to touch the crown of your head to the floor while keeping your chest steady. Put the weight on your elbows, elevate your chest, and make sure that your thighs and legs are touching the ground. Take 5-7 long gentle breaths while staying there. This asana aids in the relief of neck and shoulder strain.