Relieve your PMS with Yoga.
This week the guest post is written by Anja Brierley Lange, a yoga practitioner based in London.
Stretching and flowing during our Period.
Aches, cramps, pain and moodiness… We have plenty of negativity associated with our periods. And, yes, some of us experience discomfort during our cycle but essentially this is a time where our body is cleansing and purifying itself. It is part of our natural cycle as a woman.
In ayurvedic terms we talk about Raktamooksana. This is a blood letting treatment sometimes used in Panchakarma therapy, a detoxification and rejuvenation programme. Women’s bodies are doing this all on its own. Rakta, or blood, in it’s imbalanced state is associated with heat, anger, irritation and sharp pain. Qualities we sometimes experience during our moon cycle (to use a “yogic” term for period). So let’s calm down, chill-out and take time to breathe during our period.
Whether you are full of energy and want to move and flow in your yoga practice. Or really just want to stretch out on the couch these poses help to create space where we tense during our flow.
1) Breathe. When in pain or discomfort our physical body tenses up. With tension our breath becomes shallow starting a chain reaction of more physical tension, shallower breath and even emotional tension.
Lie down on your back on the floor or bed. Bend your knees and drop them away from each other so the soles of the feet touch. Lying in Reclined Cobblers Pose is a way to create space in the lower abdomen for our breath and for any tension to release. Start by breathing really deeply into the lower abdomen and exhale completely. Let the hands rest on the abdomen so you can feel it expand into the hands on the inhale and enjoy the soft touch on your belly.
2) Feeling ungrounded or uncomfortable in your legs? Stay grounded and stable during your flow by stretching out the back of the legs.
Lying on your back with a belt across the ball of one foot extend the leg as high as it wants to go. No need to push yourself. Keep your sacrum on the mat and thigh bone relaxing down into your hip socket. Direct your breath into your lower back and the hamstrings. Practice on the other side.
3) Release tension in the lower back and hips by allowing space and openness in Pigeon Pose. From a hands and knees position bring the right knee to the right hand and foot towards the left side of the mat. Lower the pelvis down towards the mat (or a block or cushions). Find the sweet spot where you experience a releasing sensation in your outer right hip and a stretch in the front of the left hip.
Stay for as long as comfortable allowing the breath to become deeper, slower and more relaxed. Imagine you bring more oxygen, space and softness to any tension you may experience. Repeat with the left knee forward.
4) Our period is an expression of Apana Vayu the downward moving force of prana or energy in the body. Energetically yogis and ayurvedic practitioners often associate issues such as period pain or reproductive problems with apana vayu imbalance. Either the energy is obstructed or too forceful.
The squat is a perfect pose if there are any obstructions (including constipation) and it gives space in the sacrum and lower back. Allow the seat to release downwards and the spine to lengthen upwards. Stay grounded and stable.
Finally listen to your body throughout the month. Take responsibility for creating balance, time to relax and to release tension physical/mental/emotional/spiritual throughout your cycle – not just during your flow.
Anja is a Vinyasa Flow Yoga teacher known for her fun, warm, nurturing, supportive, and creative classes and workshops. She plays particular attention to structure and alignment. Her classes encourage people to feel empowered and is an inspired combination of physical dynamic movement, breath and meditative practice.
She is the founder of yogaembodied, a 500 hours Registered Yoga Teacher with The Yoga Alliance UK, E-RYT 200® and RPYT with Yoga Alliance US and has a BSc and PGDip in Ayurveda.
For more information and current timetable contact her on www.yogaembodied.com
Until next time, have a happy, healthy week!