"That time of the month" may bring on cramps, bloating, food cravings, unpleasant moods, loss of energy for some women. Consistently painful periods are NOT normal, so please ask for help if that is your experience and learn some ways to ease your discomfort!
Stress can increase period pain, make you skip or lose your periods altogether. When you're stressed or in pain, your breathe at the top of your lungs, just under your collarbones. Breathing deeply and fully into your low lungs creates rhythmic abdominal and pelvic movement. It's a natural massage, moving your organs like seaweed dances in the ocean in response to waves. Slow, relaxed deep breathing promotes relaxation, enhances your mood, improves your concentration and simply feels wonderful! Use your breath to make a simple, accessible and lovely change.
Here's how: Ly on your bed with a pillow under your head and another under your knees. Let you body release and relax. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your low belly, making sure your elbows are supported on the bed. No effort! Now, breathe in slowly through your nose. Let your belly lift, your low back arch, your pubic bones descend towards your feet and your hips release. Your lower hand will have lifted and your upper hand will stay quiet on your upper chest. Now just let the air seep out of your nose, exhaling without effort. Let is be as slow as you're comfortable enjoying. Count a slow 4 counts in and at least 4 or more (to 5 or 6?) out. Repeat. Enjoy.
Release Your Pelvic Floor
When our body experiences pain, it may respond by tightening up and holding back. Periods, when completed with ease, are about letting go! Our pelvic floor can get in the way of releasing our flow by becoming tight in response to pain. Begin practicing release of your pelvic floor by sitting on a big ball or over an upholstered sofa/chair arm. Breathe into your low belly, feel your pelvic floor open and release…….use this technique when you're in your painful cycle and you will find more ease with your flow.
Start with a hot water bottle or heated wheat bag for 15 - 20 minutes in a restful position and quiet place. Cover yourself with a blanket. When you're all warmed up, remove the heat and, with the heel of your hand, massage your own belly, picturing a clock. Find the "time" on the clock that needs special attention, keeping the massage gentle, slow and consistent. You might need 10 - 15 minutes to massage, then 5 more minutes to repeat heat. This stimulates blood flow, mobilizes your fascia and organs and distracts the pain nerves from being cranky.
Yoga is a way of learning to breathe, release, strengthen, move and approach life with ease. Some of the yoga poses that relieve period pain are Child's Pose, Knees to Chest, Forward Fold, Cat-Cow, Windshield Washer Spinal Twist and Savasana.
An experiment of one: Try by adding 2 yoga "classes" (at home or in a class) per week for 3 months. Employ low belly breaths, releasing your pelvic floor, heated tummy massage. Keep track of your periods for 3 months. Benefits may include: reduced cramping intensity and length of time, less moodiness, more regular periods, lighter bleeding, less bloating, less tender breasts, better sleep, improved concentration and a more relaxed experience. Find ease in your monthly cycles……they'll be a monthly experience for most of your life, so find what works for you!