Yoga Poses to Relieve Menstrual Cramps

by Ashley Miller, Demand Media Google
    Yoga can help alleviate menstrual cramps and promote a calmer, balanced mental state.

    Yoga can help alleviate menstrual cramps and promote a calmer, balanced mental state.

    Menstrual cramps can have a serious impact on your physical and mental well-being. They can be mild or severely debilitating and may be accompanied by other bothersome symptoms, such as bloating, moodiness and fatigue. Certain yoga poses may help reduce or alleviate menstrual cramps by stretching your hips, abdomen and lower back and calming emotional stress.

    Wide Child's Pose

    Wide Child's pose is a restorative yoga pose that can help menstrual cramps by stretching your lower back and inducing feelings of relaxation and peace, according to FitSugar. Kneel on the floor with your knees a bit wider than hip-width apart, toes touching. Keep your head and neck in line with your spine. Slowly lower your buttocks down to rest on your heels, then bend forward from your hip hinge. Relax your torso on your upper thighs and reach your arms straight out above your head on the floor. Rest your forehead on the floor. Breathe deeply. Stay in this pose for several breaths, or for as long as you feel comfortable.

    Thread-the-Needle Pose

    The Thread-the-Needle pose is a gentle twist for your middle and lower back that also helps to alleviate tension in your shoulders and upper arms. Start on your hands and knees. Lift your right arm up to your right side, then reach under your torso, as though you are trying to reach something on the floor next to your left side. Extend your arm as far as you can to the left, resting it on the floor. Lower your right shoulder to the floor, bringing your torso into a gentle twist. Hold this pose for several breaths, making adjustments as necessary to find the ideal level of stretch for your lower back. Inhale and return to your starting position. Repeat on your left side.

    Supported Supine Cobbler's Pose

    The Supported Supine Cobbler's pose helps reduce menstrual cramps by stretching your groin and hips, calming your mind and relaxing your uterus, according to the Australian School of Meditation and Yoga. For this pose, you will need two folded blankets or yoga blocks to support your knees. Sit on the floor in a cross-legged position. Unfold your legs and bring the soles of your feet together. Slowly lower your back to the floor. Support your knees using the yoga blocks or blankets, adjusting the height as necessary for your level of flexibility and comfort. Relax your arms by your sides. Close your eyes and breathe. Stay in this pose for as long as you feel comfortable.

    Bow Pose

    The Bow pose is a back-bending posture that helps stretch your abdomen and alleviates spinal compression, thereby alleviating menstrual cramps and stomach pain, according to Women's Health. Lie on your stomach with your legs stretched out straight, arms resting by your sides. Bend your right knee in toward your buttocks. Reach around with your right hand to grab your right ankle. Bend your left knee in toward your buttocks. Reach around with your left hand to grab your left ankle. Keep your knees as close together as possible. Inhale and press your hip bones into the floor. Arch your back, expand your chest and bring your shoulder blades together. Look forward -- do not arch your neck. Hold this pose for several breaths, then release.

    About the Author

    Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.

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