Cravings and fatigue, cramps and anxiety: We all know the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. You may want to huddle under a blanket and move as little as possible during that time of the month, but getting up and moving is one of the best ways to relieve PMS symptoms. To help you out, we’ve put together a short list of yoga poses that will help you survive PMS.
Lie face-down on your mat, with your forehead resting on your stacked hands. Your back and rear should be relaxed and your legs parallel to one another. Inhale and release your abdominal muscles to the mat. Inhale and draw the muscles of your belly toward the spine, before releasing again. Complete this pose three times to help energize the abdominal muscles and allow for more blood flow.
If you find any discomfort in your lower back, simply place a pillow or yoga blanket under your ankles for more support.
Cat and Cow combinations are fantastic for energizing the abdominal muscles and releasing back tension. Begin on your hands and knees. Your hands should be under your shoulders, and your knees should be aligned with your hips. Inhale and drop your chin to your chest. Arch your back like a cat by pulling the abdominal muscles in toward the spine. Exhale and lift your chin up, while arching your back toward the mat.
Move slowly between cat and cow poses to prevent discomfort or injury in your back.
Lying on your stomach, reach back and grasp your ankles one at a time. Inhale gently and arch your back a bit as your ribcage and the backs of your thighs lift. Draw your thighs toward one another to keep them aligned with your hips. Hold for five to seven breaths. Then, gently release your ankles and relax against the mat. Repeat this pose two or three times.
Bow pose stretches the abdominal muscles, which may be tense during that time of the month. The pose also increases blood flow to the internal organs.
Begin this pose on your back. Gently bring your knees to your chest and reach your arms around your shins. Clasp your hands together or, if you’re more flexible, hold your upper arms in your hands. Keep your lower back pressed against the mat and breathe slowly for 15 to 20 deep breaths.
Rocking a bit in this pose gives the lower back muscles a massage, making it a beneficial pose for ladies who experience lower back cramps.
To practice reclining angle pose, lie on your back. With your legs together and your feet flat on the floor, inhale as you bring the soles of your feet tougher. At the same time, gently lower the knees to the floor as far as it is comfortable. Place your hands on your inner thighs or your belly as you hold this pose for eight breaths. On the exhale, bring your knees together and your feet back to the mat.
You can modify this pose by adding rolled yoga blankets or blocks under your knees to support your legs and lower back. Reclining angle not only stretches the muscles around the reproductive organs, but it’s incredibly relaxing, helping to boost your mood.
Begin seated twist by sitting up with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee and cross that leg over your left. Your right foot should be sitting on the mat next to your left knee. Gently twist your body so the outside of your left elbow rests against the outside of your right knee. Hold for about 10 breaths before releasing the pose. Repeat seated twist on the other side.
Another way to do this pose is to tuck your lower leg under the bent knee for a deeper twist. Start by crossing your right leg over your left and tucking your left foot up near your buttocks, instead of leaving your leg extended. This pose massages the internal organs and increases circulation to the reproductive organs.
Standing Forward Fold
Standing with your feet hip-width apart, bend at the hips and let your arms dangle. Keep your knees soft and gently grasp your elbows, holding your arms in a square-like position. Gently rock from side to side, letting the muscles in your back open up and relax. Hold the pose for 10 deep breaths and then release your arms. Come out of the pose slowly, but rolling up the spine and finally coming to a full standing position.
This pose helps the body release stress and tension, which can elevate your mood while it relaxes the muscles of the back and shoulders.
Do you have a favorite yoga pose to help with PMS?
— Megan Winkler