by Jenn Bodnar | June 21, 2014 11:00 am
Mother Nature. You just have to love her sense of humor. Try as we may to resist and ignore her force, inevitably, we can only learn to cope with her unpredictability and torment. Okay, maybe we’re being a little dramatic. Let’s face it though, as if the break outs, chocolate binges, absent mind and emotional roller coaster ride weren’t enough to manage, add the low energy and physical pain that accompanies the menstrual cycle and we might feel utterly defenseless. What about pms yoga?
Take this Mother Nature: yoga can relieve the symptoms of PMS! Common physical and sometimes debilitating pain caused by PMS include cramps, bloating, low back pain, headaches and tension caused by anxiety. It can wind up feeling like the whole body is sore. Try this short sequence to minimize the effects of menstruation and PMS:
Pranayama – Begin in any comfortable position. Start with a deep breathing exercise. Inhaling and exhaling through the nose can immediately begin to calm the mind and help relax tension in the muscles. Use this type of breathing during the following poses and try to hold each pose for 5-10 breaths.
1. Child’s Pose – Begin on your knees, hips back towards the heels and rest forehead toward the mat or on a prop; like the back of the hands or a block. Knees can be close together or wide apart. We recommend knees wide apart to create more space in the hips which will relieve tension in the low back, aid in releasing emotional stress and open the chest a little more for better circulation of that pranayama. You’re still breathing right?
2. Cat/Cow Pose – Start on all fours, and drop the belly down as you lift the chest, neck and face upward, arching your spine. Reverse the move by drawing belly into the spine and upward as you look back toward your thighs, rounding like a cat. This can be done with that beautiful pranayama you are maintaining so well. Inhale, cow pose, exhale, cat pose. Keep breathing and by the way, you look beautiful today! This flow will generate energy through the spine, stimulate organs, increase blood flow and relieve anxiety. If you are feeling frisky, roll the hips around a bit, look right, look left, just move with the breath.
3. Bow Pose – Lay face down on your belly and bend the knees towards your bottom which is the perfect size! Amazing! Reach back and grab the ankles with your hands and lift the chest. As you feel more confident, you can press the feet back into the hands, bringing you into a deeper opening. Back-bending is energizing. It’s also helps with concentration. Focus, please. You’re almost done.
4. Wind Pose – Roll over to your back and hug both knees into the chest. You can roll side to side and back and forth to gently massage the low back and productive organs. Stillness is a wonderful choice as well. It should feel releasing.
5. Reclining Butterfly Pose – Release feet to the mat, bring the soles together and let the knees fall open. You can place the hands under the bottom for support, out to the side or over head. This is another hip opening pose that also relieves tension in the groin. It stimulates digestion and elimination therefore reducing feelings of belatedness and retention. Have you lost weight? That color looks phenomenal on you!
6. Supine Twist – On your back, bring knees up so shins are parallel with the ceiling and drop them to the right. Turn your neck to the left for a full twist from tail to head. Switch sides. This pose will relieve pressure in the low back, massage the internal organs and increase toxin release helping you feel better after downing that bag of M&Ms. No judgement.
7. Legs up the Wall Pose – Move your bottom as close the wall as you can safely and comfortably. Lift your feet onto the wall and simply rest on your back with arms out wide to the side. This safe inversion that slows down the nervous system and drains blood from exhausted feet and legs to create stress release and improved circulation. Inversions also improve the mood. See our article “8 Reasons to Get Upside Down.” This is the time to just let go, relax and meditate on your awesomeness.
As tempting as it is to lie in bed under a blanket with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s and a box of tissues while watching re-runs of Full House, it’s important to maintain routine and remain energized even when Mother Nature attempts to zap the life out of you. Keep your other healthy lifestyle behaviors in check as well. Try to snack on foods high in vitamin E and essential fatty acids like almonds and leafy greens. Wash everything down with lots of water. Get plenty of rest and stay positive. The good news: this too shall pass and you are too big a gift to this world to feel self-pity and sadness. Take that Mother Nature!
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