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Yoga And Menstruation: A look into asanas that relieve period cramps

Yoga, often defined as the union of the mind and body, is an ancient Indian practice that integrates postures, meditation, and breathing techniques. The different poses and positions in yoga are referred to as asanas. So, the big question is, "Can you perform Yoga during your Period?"

Practicing yoga during menses has always been a controversial issue. Experts differ in their opinion, with some saying that it should be avoided altogether, whereas others say that only specific asanas should be avoided, namely inversions. Inversions asanas are those positions which require you to lower your head below your heart. The truth is, there is no right or wrong when it comes to performing yoga during your periods. Menstruation varies from individual to individual, with some experiencing no side effects while others may suffer from extreme pain and other effects due to PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome). Hence it is entirely up to the individual on the intensity and type of asanas they feel are most appropriate for their body at the time.

If a menstruator isn't comfortable practising yoga during their period, performing breathing exercises and simple stretches can go a long way. Researchers have found that specific asanas help reduce period cramp pains and back pain. Studies have also found that menstruators who routinely performed yoga over three months noticed considerable reductions in the intensity of their period cramps.

So, without further ado, let's explore some scientifically proven simple asanas that help relieve cramp pains:

Marjariasana (Cat Pose)

Get into a tabletop position with your hips vertically above your knees and your arms ahead of your shoulders. Your head must be facing the floor. As you inhale, lift your head back and your torso downwards. Breathe in deeply as you hold the pose for a few seconds. As you exhale, return to your neutral, tabletop position. Repeat these steps a few times.

Titaliasana (Butterfly Pose)

Sit in Padmasana (Lotus Pose) with the soles of your feet meeting one other. Pull your heels back as much as possible. Keep your spine straight and inhale as you place a hand on each knee. Lift your knees as you breathe in, and hold the pose for a few seconds. As you exhale, lower your knees and repeat the process a few times.

Bhujagasana (Cobra Pose)

Begin by lying flat on the floor, with your stomach facing down. Place your palms under your shoulders while bending your elbows into your body. As you inhale, gradually lift your chest off of the floor. Keep your lower ribs on the floor and your elbows tucked into your body. As you exhale, return to the starting position and repeat the steps a few times.

The most favourable aspect of yoga is that it can be performed at any age and offers a multitude of health benefits. While some yoga poses are beneficial to practice during your period, inversion asanas that involve handstands or headstands are best left to be avoided due to the extra stress they may add to the ligaments. Hence it is safer to assess your own body state or consult a health professional before performing advanced poses.

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