Bloating, cramping, headaches, nausea, eating everything in sight – do these issues sound familiar ? It’s that time of the month, and indulging in your cravings like salt, sweets, caffeine or alcohol may feel like a great idea at that moment, but it’s not. Instead, seek out other options to ease monthly aches and pains. Uterus contractions, abdominal cramps, low-back pain and leg discomfort are common symptoms. Try yoga, acupuncture, acupressure and other relaxation therapies instead of reaching for a temporary fix such as medicine.
Here are three 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.
Head To Knee Forward Bend Pose
Start on the floor in a seated position with both 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. Allow your back to lengthen instead of round.
Continue to breathe steadily while gazing at the left foot. Stay in this pose for 1 to 3 minutes and then switch sides.
Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings and groin.
Calms the brain and helps relieve mild depression.
Reduces anxiety, fatigue, headache and menstrual discomfort.
Kneel on the floor with the knees hips-width apart. Turn your thighs inward slightly and press your shins and feet firmly into the floor. Rest your hands on the back of your hips (place the base of your palms on the top part of your glutes and point your fingers down). Inhale, lift your chest, and press your shoulders down, towards the ribs.
Exhale, push the hips forward as you lengthen the front of the body and arch back. Keep your hands on the back of your hips or on the back of the heels. Use your hands to stabilize, push the hips forward, and lift the chest. Drop the head back, gaze upward, and breathe steadily. Stay in this pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
Stretches the front of the body, the ankles, thighs and groin.
Opens the abdomen, chest and throat.
Stretches the deep hip flexors.
Strengthens back muscles.
Therapeutic for mild back pain, fatigue, anxiety and menstrual discomfort.
Reclining Big Toe Pose
Lie on your back with your arms by your sides and extend the legs. Rest your head on the floor, inhale, bend the right knee, and clasp the right big toe with the right fingers. Place your left hand on top of the upper left thigh to stabilize the left leg down. Make sure to actively reach through your pointed toes.
Exhale; straighten the right leg as far as your flexibility allows. You can also use a towel or belt to wrap around the right foot to assist. Inhale; lift your head up towards the right leg and keep the left leg down. Be gentle on your neck; do not over reach. Allow the legs to remain as straight as possible. Breathe steadily and hold this pose for 1 to 3 minutes. Inhale your head back down to the floor and exhale the right leg down. Switch sides.
Stretches the hips, thighs, hamstrings, groins and calves.
Strengthens the knees.
Relieves back pain, sciatica and menstrual discomfort.