New Delhi: International Yoga Day is celebrated annually on June 21 to highlight the importance of yoga and the pivotal role it plays in rejuvenating our mind and the body, leading towards a healthier lifestyle.
Yoga can be explained as the dance of each cell of our body with the music of every breath that creates inner serenity and harmony.
According to the UN website, the theme for International Yoga Day 2021 is ‘Yoga for well-being’, i.e., how the practice of yoga can promote the holistic health of every individual.
There are several yoga poses by which people get relief for different types of problems. One such problem that yoga can be helpful in, is menstrual pain.
Menstrual cycles make many women suffer from severe pain. The period cramps come with sharp, throbbing, burning sensations in the lower abdomen. These cramps occur due to the contraction of the uterus to shed the endometrium.
However, some yoga postures work amazingly well in relieving the nauseating cramps.
Pain relief medication can relieve the pain of cramps, but more natural solutions can help fix the source of the pain.
Contrary to the popular myth, exercise is actually recommended during periods, as it helps to release endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller. This means light workouts can help in reducing period cramps and pains.
Ranging from easy to advanced, here are some yoga poses to relieve the pain of cramps:
1. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
Ustrasana is the pose that opens up the neck, chest, and abdomen, while improving posture, strengthening muscles of the back, and stretching the thighs, ankles, and groin.
The camel pose causes stretching in your abdominal region. The pull in your stomach signals your uterine muscles which brings an end to the contractions, thus easing the menstrual cramps. Begin by kneeling on the floor. Stretch your body backward and hold your heels. Push your hips forward and drop your head back. Hold the position for about 25 seconds and then come back to the original position.
2. Balasana (Child's Pose)
The Balasana or child’s pose is an extremely relaxing pose that can help to relieve menstrual pains. It does this by flexing the reproductive organs and releasing tension in the back, shoulders, and neck regions. Along with that, it helps in relaxing the mind too.
To do this pose, you need to sit on your knees in a way that your body is resting on top of your thighs and your arms are stretched outwards in front of you. Start with your knees on the floor, fold forward, extend your arms, and bend down as far as you can comfortably go. If possible, lean your forehead on the mat in front of you for five slow, diaphragmatic breaths, or breath using your belly rather than your chest.
3. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
Dhanurasana or the bow pose stimulates the reproductive organs and strengthens the core. It will also provide relief from constipation and discomfort during periods. Those who suffer from excessive problems of the spinal cord and disc should not perform this pose at all.
Start the pose by lying on the floor, while keeping your hands on your side and feet hip-width apart. Now, fold your knees and hold your ankles. Breath in, pull your legs up, and raise your upper body. Hold this position and take deep breaths. Now come back to the original position and repeat.
4. Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist)
One of the most popular poses for dealing with menstrual cramps is the reclining twist because it feels good and has massive health benefits. For starters, your back and hips will get a great stretch, which is needed if you deal with aches and pains due to periods.
Begin the pose by lying flat on your back with your legs extended. As you inhale, bring one knee to your chest and stretch it towards your shoulder. As you exhale, fold the knee across the body to the opposite side, all while one leg is still extended. Keep in mind that the back should still be flush against the ground, with only the hips rotating.
5. Savasana (Resting Corpse Pose)
The resting corpse pose is obviously the most relaxing one and is usually performed at the end of all yoga sessions. Even though this pose is the simplest form of yoga, it has a lot of benefits.The pose requires you to lie down comfortably on your back without causing any twists and turns to your body. It evens your breathing and helps your mind get distracted from the menstrual pain thus, relieving you of the menstrual cramps.
Lie flat on your back, and rest the palms of your hands facing up. Slowly relax your body, starting with the top of your head, then your neck, your shoulders, your spine, your arms and hands, your thighs, your calves, your ankles, and finally your feet.
These were some yoga poses that will prove to be helpful in easing menstrual pain when it's that time of the month. The practice of yoga is believed to have originated in India thousands of years ago and even finds its mention in ancient mythological books like the Rig Veda.
On 27 September 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his speech at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly had proposed the idea of practicing ‘Yoga Day’ and on June 15, 2015, the first International Day of Yoga was globally observed.