3 Yoga Moves for the Worst Cramps (PMSing) of Your Life!
If it’s that time of the month for you, you may just want to lie on the couch with a heating pad on your back, drink margaritas and eat a box of bonbons. Cramps can be brutal and may feel debilitating; but with a few yoga poses, you can help alleviate the pain and prevent packing on period pounds. Yoga breathing, stretching and meditation helps the body and mind relax, so you won’t need to self medicate with salt and sugar.
You can start with Maryichyasana (pose dedicated to the sage)—sit comfortably with legs forward, bend your right knee in and place your right foot on the floor a little to the outside of your right hip. Lift your right arm up then lean forward as far as you can, threading the right arm inside the right thigh and back behind you. Reach around behind you with your left hand and catch the left wrist with the right hand (use a towel or strap if you can’t reach the hand). Fold forward in to a rounded forward bend. This feels great on the lower back and the pressure of the thigh up against the abdomen helps relieve cramping pains. It’s also great for tension in the shoulders and upper back. Hold each side about 5 to 8 breaths.
Next, open your legs wide to Straddle. Make sure you’re sitting forward on your sits bones and keep your inner thighs rolling back as go in to the fold. Try and maintain a long spine to stretch out the back and inner thighs. If you can reach for your toes grab them in yogi toe lock or just walk your hands forward. If you’re tight in the hamstrings and inner thighs, you can sit up on something (yoga block or folded towel). Straddle lets the pelvis open and makes space for blood to flow to the cramped up regions. It also feels good on the lower back, hips and waist.
Finish by lying down on your back in Goddess pose. Bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees open to their own sides. Place your hands on your belly or let them fall out to the sides. Feel the belly rise and fall with the breath and imagine your deep breaths relieving any pain and discomfort. Hold for as long as you wish, then roll to your side and gently come back up to sit. This is a great way to relieve cramping. You can also place the heating pad on your belly or behind your lower back as you lie in goddess pose.
These poses have also helped me deal with any discomfort I’ve had while being pregnant. I take my foot out very wide in Marichyasana, and I prop my upper body up when lying in Goddess. One of the great things (among a million others–I love being pregnant!) about pregnancy is not having to deal with a period!
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is currently teaching yoga with Peloton. She is the star of over 100 videos, seen in several magazines and tv shows and is a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!