How this Vinyasa Flow Can Help with Period Cramps

Ladies, as much as we have learned to accept that our monthly cycles are a part of life and a sign of reproductive health, the “fun” side effects that tag along never seem to get easier. The mood swings, bloating and cramps are little reminders that we are in fact women. If you exercise daily, you already know how much movement helps with those god-awful cramps. Yoga has been linked to reducing period cramps time and time again and since it’s a gentle form of exercise, it works really well when you would rather lay in bed with a heating pad on your belly all day.

Yoga is a more natural and holistic approach for battling mind-numbing pain and PMS. This vinyasa sequence was designed as an alternative way to treat cramps and nourish the body, instead of popping an over the counter pain killer. Each movement targets places on the body the majority of women experience the most discomfort such as the lower back, hips and abdominal area. So lay out your yoga mat, get those high waisted capris on and ditch the Midol.
1. Start by closing your eyes gently in a standing position, with your arms to your side and your feet grounded. Set your intention for your practice and begin to focus on the breath. Become aware of how your body is feeling in this moment, what might be achy or sore and what feels comfortable. Recognize what thoughts are flowing through your mind. This is the time to let go of any judgment you might have and just be still.
2. Slowly shift your waist from side to side, keeping the breath smooth. Inhale your hands over your head and press your palms together while reaching to the left and then to the right. Open your heart by keeping your chest held high, shoulders back and upright and your rib cage lifted. Make sure you aren’t holding any tension anywhere in the body.
3. The first pose is plié pose. Take a step out along the length of your mat and sink down to where it feels most comfortable for you. You don’t need to get deep into the pose initially, rather slowly sink down into it. Raise one heel and then switch to the other side. Go back and forth a few times, while keeping the breath stable. This is an amazing pose because it creates flexibility and strength and opens up the hips.
4. Next up is triangle pose.  You will want to turn your left foot inward while spreading your toes apart. Reach forward with your right hand and lower it down your right leg and rotate your left hip outward. This pose will help open up the hips and create a space within the midsection, hips, back and rib cage.
5. Seated forward bend is a gentle and restorative pose that will help relieve tension in the low back area.  Come into a seated position, bringing your legs in front of you. Slower fold your upper body into a forward bend, reaching for your toes and only as far as your body will comfortably allow. Hold for as long as you need to, listening to your body.
6. Next, transition into pigeon. This will also relieve tension and discomfort in the low back area. Bring your left leg forward and your right leg behind you.  Lengthen your torso keeping the rib cage lifted. Bend forward, reaching your arms straight in front of you. Focus on keeping the breath smooth as you breathe in slowly, exhaling slowly. Hold for as long as you need to and then switch to the other side.
7. Savasana is a must in any yoga practice. The act of laying down, flat against the earth is beneficial to all. Take this time to do a complete scan of your entire body. What is still bothering you? What feels good at that moment? If you are having severe cramping and discomfort, don’t fight it. Simply breathe into the pain and release it as you exhale. As soon as you let the muscles in your body relax, you will notice a lot of your PMS symptoms will fade away

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