It’s that time of the month. I’m once again immobilized due to severe cramps and discomfort. I’m cranky and easily irritated. I’m doing my best to stay calm and not scream at everyone I meet. All I want to do is stay in my bed and take a nap. I remind myself that it’s not so bad. Monthly periods are symbolic of a woman’s ability to create a new life and I should be proud that I have this power. It doesn’t help.
If that sounds familiar then you’re among the millions of women who go through this torture every month. While everyone has learned to deal with this in ways that best suits them, I’ve found that being active, especially on those days, helps take my mind away from the pain. In addition to that, stretching my body gets rid of the lethargy that consumes me before and during my periods.
Here are 5 postures that can be practiced before and even during the cycle. They are designed to relax your muscles and areas that get most affected like the back, the pelvic area and the reproductive organs.
Child’s Pose or Balasna
- Sit in Varjrasana. Spread your knees hip-width apart.
- Bend forward, and lay your torso between your thighs.
- Settle down on the inner thighs.
- Stretch your arms forward and place them in front of you, such that they are in line with your knees.
- Release the fronts of your shoulder to the floor.
- Since this asana is a resting pose, you can stay in the pose from anywhere between 30 seconds to a few minutes, even longer.
This asana loosens the back, stimulates blood circulation and tones the female reproductive organs.
Corpse Pose or Shavasana or Mritasana
- Lie flat on the back with the arms about 15cm away from the body, palms facing upwards.
- Move the feet slightly apart and let your fingers curl up slightly.
- The head and spine should be in a straight line and make sure the head doesn’t fall to any one side.
- Close the eyes, relax the body and stop all physical movement.
- Become aware of the natural breath and begin counting it backwards from 27 to 0. Inhale and mentally say 27, exhale and mentally say 27. Repeat this till you reach 0.
- If the mind wanders and you loose count, begin the count again from 27 to 0.
- Once you reach 0, stay in the relaxing posture for as long as you can
This asana relaxes the whole psycho-physiological system. Focusing on the breath takes the mind away from the pain and gives the body the much needed rest.
Head-to-Knee Pose or Janu Sirsana
- Sit with legs outstretched and feet together
- Bend the left leg, placing the heel against the perineum and the sole of the foot against the inside of the right thigh.
- Keep the left knee on the floor.
- Place both hands on the right knee and slowly bend forward, sliding the hands down towards the right foot.
- Try and touch the knee with the forehead.
- keep the back relaxed and do not strain.
- Hold the position for as long as comfortable.
- Repeat the same thing with the right leg.
This asana massages the abdominal area and the pelvic region.
Thunderbolt Pose or Vajrasana
- Kneel on the floor.
- Lower the buttocks into the inside surface of the feet with the heels touching the sides of the hips.
- Place both hands on the knees, palms facing down.
- The back and head should be upright.
- Close the eyes and relax the whole body.
- Focus on your normal breath.
- Stay in the posture for as long as comfortable. Gradually increase the duration.
In this asana, the blood flow and the nervous pulses in the pelvic region is altered strengthening the area.
Cat Pose or Marjari Asana
- Sit in Vajrasana
- Raise the buttocks and stand on the knees
- Lean forward and place the hands flat on the floor beneath the shoulders with fingers facing forward
- Hands should be in line with the knees, arms and thighs should be perpendicular to the floor, knees slightly parted
- Inhale while raising the head and depressing the spine so that the back becomes concave
- Expand the abdomen fully and fill the lungs with maximum amount of air. Hold for 3 seconds.
- Exhale while lowering the head and stretching the spine upward. Contract the abdomen and pull in the buttocks
- The head will be between the arms, facing the thighs. Hold the breath for 3 seconds, accentuating the arch of the spine.
- This is one round. Do at least 10 rounds.
This practice stretches the back muscles providing relief from back pain. It tones up the female reproductive system and can be practiced during the menstruation for relief from cramps.