Yoga combines a range of physical exercises, including the adoption of specific body postures, along with meditation relaxation and breathing techniques. Amongst other things, yoga can be used to strengthen, stretch and relax muscles, to aid relaxation, and assist with a range of physiological and psychological functions. Yoga has been shown to help the body and mind deal with stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, helping to calm and relax the mind.
Yoga and period pain
Yoga techniques may offer some relief from period pain and discomfort; it is recommended as a safe, non-invasive, easily accessed and low-cost self-care option for pain relief.
Some specific yoga poses, and stretches have been shown to provide beneficial effects for menstrual problems. These include the Cat and Cow pose, along with yoga nidra practice which has been shown to be helpful in preventing period-related problems.
Our resident yoga specialist, Dr Michael de Manincor, recommends extending the Cat and Cow posture with the addition of the Sunbird posture, along with a range of other postures including Child’s pose with a mild Back bend, the Moving bridge and Apanasana.
It is believed that yoga reduces pain by helping produce natural painkillers in the body. The breathing exercises used in yoga can also help with relaxation and reduce tension and pain.
Just being aware of your breathing can help achieve calmer, slower breathing and aid in relaxation and pain management.
What can you do?
You can try a range of the suggested breathing exercises, yoga poses and yoga Nidra practices at home. All you need is a quiet space where you can move freely and not be disturbed.
Grab a yoga mat, if you can, or put something soft on the floor like a towel. Wear something comfortable and not too restricting and try experimenting with the suggested yoga practices. Choose just one of the practices or try them all.
The following yoga practices have been suggested by our resident yoga expert, Dr Michael de Manincor and are demonstrated by qualified yoga teacher, Kate Mitchell.
You might find that yoga nidra is a good alternative if you are feeling tired.