Image: Danielle Walker/lululemon athletica.
When you’re in the throes of menstrual cramps, the thought of pulling on a pair of slim-fit leggings and performing any form of physical exercise isn’t particularly appealing.
However, some light movement can actually offer relief from the dull throb ravaging your pelvic region and lower back — and it doesn’t have to involve the gym.
Many women find yoga helpful during their periods; according to Health Direct, stretching exercises can ease cramps, improve sleep patterns and ease feelings of stress and tension.
The relief doesn't only come from the physical movements of yoga. "Deep breathing relieves the effects of oxygen deprivation to the tissues, one of the main causes of cramps," explains vinyasa yoga teacher and lululemon ambassador Danielle Walker.
To get you started, here is a selection of poses Walker recommends to ease period-induced abdominal discomfort and lower back pain — with demonstrations to give you an idea of what they should look like:
Walker also recommends the Dhanurasana (bow post) and Viparita Karani (legs up the wall). Generally she says it's best to avoid any poses that involve inversions — that is, ones where your heart is positioned higher than your head — because the focus "should be on breath and restoration" instead.
However, Nicky Seigo says she recommends practicing inversions in the leadup to your period. "In traditional tantric yoga, they recommend inversions as it allows blood and energy lost during your period to be reabsorbed by the body and reduces this loss," she says.
So next time you feel that telltale twinge, consider some light yoga — it could be the technique that helps you through the pain.
Have you ever used yoga to relieve period pain? Was it helpful?