If you spend your “time of the month” laying in bed complaining of cramps, bloating, and fatigue; you are doing yourself a disservice! Instead, stop your whining and get yourself moving. Exercise, especially yoga can help alleviate moodiness, achiness, and sleepiness. Yoga boosts circulation relieving fluid buildup that causes bloating and cramps. Yoga’s deep breathing increases oxygen flow to tissues as well, minimizing lower abdominal pain. Another bonus, Yoga helps minimize Aunt Flow’s guests, sweet and salty cravings.
Lucky for you, you don’t need a gym membership or a yoga studio in order to get all these Yogi benefits. Barbara Ruzansky, director of West Hartford Yoga in Connecticut, shared a yoga routine for PMS relief that you can do pretty much anywhere.
You should be concentrating on taking deep, powerful breaths through each pose. Inhale through your nose, expanding your rib cage and completely filling up your torso. Then, exhale through your nose at the same rate as your inhale. During the exhale, pull your belly-button towards your spine, engaging your abdominals. You will feel both physical and emotional releases from including this type of Yoga breathing in your routine.
Sit with legs extended. Cross left leg over right, left foot flat next to right knee. Bring right heel near left hip. Put left hand on floor by left hip. Inhale, wrap right arm around left knee and twist torso to left. Hold for 10 to 15 deep breaths. Return to start. Switch sides; repeat.
Lie face-up. Bring knees to chest, reaching arms around shins; clasp hands. Keep lower back pressed into floor as you breathe slowly and deeply for 20 breaths.
Cat- Cow Pose
Start on all fours, knees under hips, hands under shoulders. Inhale, dropping chin to chest, tilting pelvis under while rounding back like a cat. Exhale, lifting chin toward ceiling and arching back in opposite direction. Repeat 10 times.
Lie face-down, arms at sides. Bend knees, reaching heels toward butt. Grab one foot or ankle with each hand, palms facing in. Inhale, lifting rib cage and thighs toward ceiling. Hold for five to seven deep breaths. Lower chest and knees to floor. Repeat two or three times.
Lie face-up with legs together, knees bent and feet flat on floor. Inhale, bringing soles of feet together as you lower knees to floor as far as you can. Place hands on inner thighs for help with stretch. Hold for five to seven deep breaths. Exhale, returning to start. Repeat three times.
Lie face-down with forehead resting on stacked hands. Keeping upper body and butt relaxed, exhale as you pull belly button in and up off floor. Hold for two counts; inhale as you release belly back to floor and repeat for one rep. (If you experience discomfort in your lower back, place a rolled-up towel or pillow under ankles.) Do three reps.
Lie face-up, knees bent, with feet flat and hip-width apart. Slowly press hips toward ceiling, forming a line from shoulders to knees. Keeping neck relaxed, clasp hands on floor beneath torso. Hold for 5 deep breaths, working up to 10 or 15. Release hands and lower torso to floor one vertebra at a time. Repeat three times.
Kneel. Sit back on heels with palms resting on thighs, keeping shoulders back and down. Maintain upright posture as you breathe slowly and deeply for 20 breaths.
Half Shoulder Stand
Lie face-up. Press palms into floor as you exhale, reaching legs toward ceiling. Bring hands to lower back to support weight. Hold for 5 deep breaths, working up to 15.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms down. Bend at hips, arms and head dangling, knees soft. Grab right elbow with left hand and left elbow with right hand. Gently rock side to side. Hold for 10 deep breaths. Return to start by releasing arms and rolling up one vertebra at a time.
Modified Cobra Pose
Lie face-down with elbows bent and close to body, palms down. Inhale, simultaneously lifting chest and left leg until left foot is about 12 inches off floor. Exhale, lowering chest and leg to start position. Repeat with right leg for one rep. Do three to five reps.
Start on all fours, knees under hips, hands under shoulders. Exhale, slowly sitting back on heels as you bend at hips and round back to rest chest on thighs and forehead on floor. Draw arms back along floor to side of thighs, palms up. Hold for 20 slow, deep breaths.