Yoga Poses to Relieve Menstrual Cramps & Treat Dysmenorrhea

By Patricia | April 16, 2009
Yoga Poses For Menstrual Cramps

What are some good yoga poses to relieve cramps and muscle atrophy?

Menstruation is a monthly cycle in women. There is a bloody discharge from the vagina as the uterine wall sheds its lining. Although menstruation is a natural and normal feature, many women experience cramps or dysmenorrhea or PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) during this time. Dysmenorrhea actually means 'painful menstruation' in Greek. These are pelvic and abdominal pains, lasting up to three or four days, before and during menstruation and can be quite debilitating. These cramps can be caused by emotional stress as well as by uterine contractions, and there are several effective yoga poses to relieve both.

These are:

  • Easy pose (sukhasana), which helps in slowing down the metabolism, helping inner tranquility, emptying the mind of stressful thoughts.
  • Cat pose (bidalasana) helps to co-ordinate breath and movement, and to focus on the center from where movement begins.
  • Bow pose (dhanurasana) is so called because the body looks like an archer's bow. This is especially helpful by strengthening the back muscles, and gastro-intestinal problems that are often associated with menstruation.
  • Cobra pose (bhujangasana) is helpful for strengthening the muscles of the back and arms, and increasing the flexibility of the spine. It also helps to relieve constipation and menstrual irregularities.
  • Fish pose (matsyasana) is also good for enhancing the spine's flexibility and removing stiffness of shoulder muscles and neck.
  • Wind relieving pose (pavanmuktasana) helps to eliminate extra gas from the stomach and thus relieves the internal pressure.
  • Anuloma viloma (Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique). This means breathing in through one nostril, holding the breath for a while and exhaling from the other nostril.
  • Crocodile Pose (chatarunga) is an easy to perform pose that helps to relax tense muscles and helps to relieve cramps.
  • Corpse pose (shavasana) is the last pose, which aids in complete relaxation.

Yoga poses can help muscle atrophy in the back, hips, legs and even in repetitive injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, and make them active and healthy again. These are:

  • Pelvic Tilt strengthens the abdominal and back muscles, along with the sacroiliac joint and its adjoining areas. This is very helpful for those who suffer muscle atrophy and low back problems, because of poor posture.
  • The Supine Spinal Twist involves a rotational movement of the trunk, and is considered beneficial for those with back muscle problems.
  • The Side-angle yoga pose helps in conditions such as kyphosis and scoliosis. Its benefit derives from the fact that it induces stretching of the body's core muscles.
  • Triangle pose benefits those with problems of atrophy of back muscles, by strengthening the muscles of the hips.
  • Other poses which help in muscle atrophy are Mountain Pose (Tadasana), Reclined Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthana), Cat-Cow Stretch, Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Supported Bridge Pose and Cobra Pose.

All these aid alignment of the spine, strengthening of the hamstrings and the muscles of the arms. By stimulating greater blood circulation and allowing more oxygen to reach every part of the body, they help treat muscle atrophy.

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