The last thing you want to do when you get your period is to pull on a pair of your favorite, skin-tight yoga pants and work on perfecting your downward dog… especially when you’re suffering through a nasty bout of PMS. However, research shows that yoga is exactly what you should be doing to ease those icky PMS symptoms that come with Aunt Flow’s monthly visit. So instead of reaching for that bowl of sugary solace, grab your yoga mat and follow this simple routine. We chatted with Jen DeKok of CorePower Yoga — her moves will help you show your PMS symptoms who’s really in charge.
1. Neck Rolls
Yoga neck rolls are a great way to get relaxed and warm up for the rest of your yoga practice. Begin by taking a deep breath and roll your head in one direction. Relax your face and jaw muscles as you take another deep breath in. As you exhale, roll your head in the opposite direction.
2. TORSO ROTATION
This is the perfect movement to relieve lower back pains and reduce cramping. Begin in a seated position with your hands on your knees. Cross one leg over the other and twist your torso over the crossed leg, using your opposite forearm on your thigh as leverage. Engage your abdominal muscles to tighten the midsection and exhale. Switch your leg position and repeat the movement on the other side. Remember to rotate your head, chest and torso as one unit as you breathe in deeply. Pause for a count, and then slowly return to the forward-facing position.
3. SEATED FORWARD FOLD
In a seated position, stretch your legs out to the sides, forming an angle of about 90 degrees from the pelvis. Sit up tall and and exhale as you bend your torso over the empty space in front of you. Yogis say that this move is the perfect way to engage the parasympathetic nervous system — or as most of us know it, the gut, aka the bane of our existence when we’re riding the crimson wave.
4. REVOLVED HEAD TO KNEE
From your seated forward-fold position, draw the right heel into your perineum and rest the sole of your foot lightly against your inner thigh, leaving one leg outstretched to the other side. Exhale as you reach the right arm over the top of your body, turning the torso slightly to the left and stretching over the left leg. Switch legs and repeat on the other side for a great stretch that’ll relieve back pain.
5. BRIDGE POSE
This pose is another great way to relieve the aches and pains from the scourge of cramps. Laying flat on the floor, bend your knees and plant your feet firmly on the floor, heels as close to the sitting bones as possible. Exhale and, pressing your inner feet and arms actively into the floor, push your tailbone upward toward the ceiling and lift the buttocks off the floor.
What is your go-to method for PMS relief? Tell us about it by tweeting us @BritandCo!