It's not a topic anyone is ever keen to talk about, but let's face it ladies—PMS is a reality nearly all of us have to deal with. And, for some, that time of the month can be downright miserable—the cramps, the bloating, and just overall feeling blah.
We all know the urge is to put on pajamas and sit on the couch with a bowl of ice cream, but if you can get from the couch to your yoga mat and try these 5 postures, you may find you feel like a whole new woman.
1. Seated twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Sit with your right leg bent, tucking under the left thigh, and bend your left leg so your foot is flat on the floor. With your left hand placed flat behind you for support, place your right hand on your left knee and rotate your body to the left. Hold this for 5-10 breaths and repeat on the other side.
Tip: Breathe deeply into your lower back and elongate your spine. For more intensity, hook your right elbow over your left knee.
Why It Works: Seated twist massages to internal organs, increasing the reproductive organs, and increases circulation. This helps with lubrication of these body parts that aren't so happy during this time period.
2. Bow pose (Dhanurasana)
Lying on your stomach, reach your arms behind you to grab hold of your ankles one at a time. As you inhale, move your rib cage forward and up and reach the back of your thighs toward the ceiling. Hold for 5-7 breaths. Release and repeat two or three times.
Tip: You may find increased benefits by rocking forward and back to give your internal organs more of a massage. Also, watch that your legs don't splay too far out. Draw your thighs toward each other energetically.
Why It Works: Bow pose is an amazing massage for the internal organs that works to stimulate their regular activity and increase blood flow.
3. Cobra (Bhujangasana)
Lie on your belly with your hands flat on the floor under your shoulders and your hands flat on the floor in front of you. With the tops of your feet flat on the floor, press down to lift your upper body off the ground. Hold for 5-7 breaths, then relax and repeat.
Tip: Keep your shoulder blades moving down your back to get the most length from your upper body.
Why it works: In addition to stimulating the abdominal organs, cobra opens the front body to create more space. By opening the heart, it also helps to decrease stress and other emotional symptoms of PMS.
4. Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
With your feet grounded hip-distance apart, fold at the hips and reach your hands for your shins, ankles or floor. Allow your head and shoulders to relax and just breathe.
Tip: By rotating your thighs inward so that your inner thighs reach toward the back of the room you'll create more space in your pelvis.
Why it works: Forward folds are among the most relaxing of any postures and can help wipe away the stress brought on by PMS and helps to open the hips.
5. Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, press down with your feet and lift your hips toward the sky. Your hands can be along your sides or clasped underneath you. Expand your chest as you breathe for 5-7 breaths.
Tip: Continue to roll your shoulders under you to expand your chest even more. Especially helpful during times of PMS is to prop your hips on a bolster or block.
Why It Works: In addition to stimulating the abdominal organs and thyroid, bridge can also calm the mind—help with the mental and physical challenges of PMS.
When you're experiencing PMS or are on ”lady's holiday," remember to be kind to yourself. Take it slow and listen to your body, and while practicing may not be the most appealing option out there, I promise if you can get things moving and give those organs a little massage, you'll be happier—and everyone around you will be too!