Yoga Period Pain

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Yoga Period Pain

Is yoga good for period pain?

Many girls and young women have cramps when they have their periods. Cramps usually feel like pain in the abdomen (belly), pelvis (hip area), lower back, and upper legs. The pain usually hurts worst on the day before the period begins and on the first day of the period.

  1. If cramps are heavy (very painful), it you might not feel like you can go to school.
  2. Instead of missing school, you can try stretching and moderate-intensity exercise to help relieve the pain caused by cramps.
  3. You may feel like you have less energy than normal during the first couple of menstrual days, when bleeding and cramping are usually heavier.

High-intensity exercises like running may not be appropriate. Instead, yoga and breathing exercises can be a good way to help reduce the pain caused by cramping. Yoga also reduces stress, improves flexibility, and strengthens muscles.

Why does yoga help with period cramps?

Menstruation is not just something that people with a uterus experience for a few days each month. Our periods begin well before we see blood, in the form of period cramps and PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Period cramps can be one of the more painful signs that “Aunt Flo” is coming to visit (where did that nickname even come from?), though most PMS symptoms would probably not be classified as enjoyable.

  • headaches
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • nausea/vomiting
  • bloating
  • mood swings
  • increased appetite
  • breast tenderness

Reading this list, the last place you may want to find relief is on a yoga mat. Many of us prefer curling up in bed with a heating pad and snacks, but yoga asana (the physical postures of yoga) has repeatedly been proven to help alleviate the pain associated with period cramps, as well as many of the other symptoms associated with PMS.

Period cramps, known medically as dysmenorrhea, is caused by the uterus contracting. This occurs when the hormone-like chemical prostaglandin is released, or can be a result of a uterine condition like endometriosis or fibroids ( 1, 2 ). There is wide variety in the intensity and length of period cramps, depending on the individual.

Many people may even experience periods of heightened and lessened cramps throughout their lifetime, depending on their age and reproductive stage ( 3 ). In addition to the uterus contracting, people with cramps sometimes feel pain in other areas of their body, such as lower back aches or even hip and thigh pain.

Exercise has long been suggested to relieve the back pain and aches associated with PMS ( 2 ). The type of exercise may play a role in the pain relief, with higher intensity exercise helping by reduction of inflammation, and lower intensity exercise, like yoga, helping to decrease cortisol and prostaglandin levels.

For example, one study observed the effects of a specific yoga-based program on menstrual cramps and found significant improvement not only on pain, but also quality of life after the yoga session ( 4 ).Another study concluded that yoga may be even more effective at alleviating PMS symptoms than general exercise ( 5 ).

Sarah Garden has been working as a yoga therapist for over 20 years with a specialty in chronic pain and pelvic health. She has observed that yoga can be particularly helpful with the “broader body response” to the pain associated with dysmenorrhea, like shallow breathing, breath holding, and muscle tension.

Garden explains, “Yoga practice can teach us how to relax our body and breath even in the face of pain. It can gently stretch cramping muscles, and have an overall calming effect on the nervous system,” Summary Research has found that yoga is especially good for PMS symptoms and period cramps by decreasing cortisol levels, reducing prostaglandin synthesis, and improving quality of life.

The specific poses that alleviate period pain and PMS symptoms are often subjective. Garden has observed that for some of her clients, a general flow that includes many different types of postures has been helpful, as it moves the body in a variety of ways. But according to Garden and another longtime yoga teacher, Sara Hess, who adapted both her yoga practice and teaching after being diagnosed with Stage 4 endometriosis, restorative yoga can be a good place start.

Hess has found that this family of poses “can create a nurturing and opening feel for the uterus to relax and heal,” continuing, “the uterus is the strongest muscle in the body, but it commands surrender. Restorative help us to surrender more deeply within our uterus.” What classifies a posture as restorative is both the use of multiple props, so the body is fully supported, and longer hold times.

Why avoid yoga poses during menstruation?

During a recent trip to Fearrington Village, I signed up for a yoga class, I was in South Carolina, we were on a farm, there were cows mooing and birds chirping, so yoga seemed most appropriate. With each chaturanga and Vinyasa flow, I felt myself becoming one with nature—I was entirely at peace.

That is until we geared up to do inversions, and the instructor warned anyone with their period against taking part. Not that I can successfully do an inversion, but my clear head was making me feel invincible, so when she mentioned that, considering I was on the third day of my cycle, I felt knocked down.

However, the instructor said she had good reasoning; When you do a handstand on your period, the blood flow in your reproductive system becomes interrupted and messes with your cycle. Who knew flowing could affect my internal flow? Considering I can’t be the only person who’s gone to yoga during their period, I wanted to investigate this some more, so I chatted with yoga instructors Laju Choudhury and Nathalia Basso, and Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, MD, director of fertility preservation and reproductive endocrinologist with Fertility Centers of Illinois.

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Nathalia Basso is a bodybuilder-turned yoga instructor who helps people regain balance in their wellness routines. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, MD, is a medical doctor and director of fertility preservation and reproductive endocrinologist with Fertility Centers of Illinois. Laju Choudhury is a yoga instructor who has been practicing since she was 3 years old.

When it comes to the safety of inversions or any other pose during your period, says Hirshfeld-Cytron, ” It is perfectly safe to do yoga during the menstrual cycle, regardless of position, and women should not worry about hurting their reproductive organs through this exercise.” The issue instead mostly lies with being pregnant during yoga,

  1. When a woman is pregnant, she should avoid heated yoga and some positions that involve inversions because pregnant women are more likely to get light-headed.
  2. As the pregnancy develops, the spine adjusts, such that performing all yoga if not done correctly or adjusting to the pregnant state can cause back pain or injury.

For this reason, prenatal yoga classes are encouraged during pregnancy.” There’s also cause for concern for women who are going through IVF treatments, “During infertility treatments when a woman’s ovaries are stimulated, yoga positions that involve twists or inversions should be avoided.

The ovaries swell during IVF stimulation, and these maneuvers could lead to a rare complication called ovarian torsion.” Yoga instructor Nathalia Basso agrees, adding, “inversions on your period are medically fine according to modern western medicine. Ayurveda, an ancient medicine of India, however, contradicts this.

Ayurveda teaches that when you’re menstruating, you should encourage the flow of blood out of the body and avoid inversions, which reverses the blood flow and doesn’t let things ‘flow’ in the intended direction,” she says. “As a yoga teacher, I encourage my students to develop a connection to their bodies and to do what feels good.

In my personal practice, sometimes I feel fantastic on my period and can do backflips,” adds Basso. “Other times (most times), I’m fatigued, crampy, and seriously bloated, so in this case, I avoid inversions because they just don’t feel good. My advice is to get in tune with your body and do what feels good.

This might mean that you’re upside down all day while on your period, or you avoid inversions completely.” Lastly, Yoga Instructor Laju Choudhury says people who are menstruating, regardless of whether or not they’re pregnant, should avoid yoga poses that put pressure on their stomach because it can increase bleeding and pain in the lower abdomen.

Yoga can help alleviate menstrual cramps It can be nice to find your mind in a calm place when you’re feeling the period fog You can opt for slow and restorative yoga as a gentle way to keep your practice going and keep your body moving You release endorphins and can still experience a body high, which can be extra relieving during your period

Below, take a look at six poses Choudhury and Basso recommend for optimal health during your period.01 of 06

Which yoga is not good in periods?

Asanas to avoid – In a yoga practice there are certain asanas that should be avoided during menstruation. The main type of asanas are inversions. These should be avoided throughout the menstruation. The reasoning for this is that when we practice inversions one type of prana, known as a apana, which normally flows in the downward direction from the manipur chakra (naval centre) to mooladhar chakra (cervix), is reversed.

This is useful to help increase the prana in the body and to help awaken the kundalini but when menstruating it goes against the natural flow. It can therefore stop or disturb the menstruation at this time and lead to other reproductive problems later on. Another reason is that during inversions the uterus is pulled towards the head and causes the broad ligaments to be over stretched which cause partial collapse of the veins, leaving open arteries to continue pumping blood.

This can lead to vascular congestion and increased menstrual bleeding. Previously people used to think that inversions could cause endometriosis and infections but it is now thought not to be the case. Secondly, any very strong asanas particularly strong backbends, twists, arm balances and standing positions that put a lot of stress on the abdominal and pelvic region should be avoided, especially if the woman is going through a lot of pain at the time.

  1. The reasoning for this is very logical.
  2. If the pelvic region is causing spasm and pain why cause more contraction and pressure to the area.
  3. Also these positions need more physical strength and exertion which can be lacking during this time and can be depleted further by the practice.
  4. Strong vinyasa and power yoga should be avoided for the same reasons.

Surya namaskar, when done slowly and gently, can be useful, however it should be avoided if there is a lot of pain or heavy bleeding. Thirdly, bandhas should be avoided for similar reasons. On a pranic level they move the apana upwards instead of down and physically they add more contraction to an already tight region and in the case of uddiyan bandha increasing the heat which can lead to heavier bleeding.

Why do period cramps hurt so bad?

This pain is caused by natural chemicals called prostaglandins that are made in the lining of the uterus. Prostaglandins cause the muscles and blood vessels of the uterus to contract. On the first day of a period, the level of prostaglandins is high.

Why do cramps hurt so bad?

Causes of period pain – Period pain happens when the muscular wall of the womb tightens (contracts). Mild contractions continually occur in your womb, but they’re usually so mild that most women cannot feel them. During your period, the wall of the womb starts to contract more vigorously to help the womb lining shed as part of your period.

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When the wall of the womb contracts, it compresses the blood vessels lining your womb. This temporarily cuts off the blood supply – and oxygen supply – to your womb. Without oxygen, the tissues in your womb release chemicals that trigger pain. While your body is releasing these pain-triggering chemicals, it’s also producing other chemicals called prostaglandins.

These encourage the womb muscles to contract more, further increasing the level of pain. It’s not known why some women have more period pain than others. It may be that some women have a build-up of prostaglandins, which means they experience stronger contractions.

Should you do yoga on heavy period?

Yes, you should practice—but take care of yourself. – While some teachers will disagree, the general medical consensus is that practicing yoga on your period is very safe and improves some of the symptoms that come with your period, such as cramping and moodiness.

The main challenge for many women—especially if they have very painful periods—is getting themselves to practice at all. Still, it’s important to meet your body where it is. “Quick-paced, heated vinyasa practices, some with hand weights and other workout equipment have moved yoga away from a practice that responds and reacts to what our body and minds need,” says Beth Heller, M.S., R.Y.T.

“We conflate the exhaustion that arises in savasana after an intense, heated class with the truly balanced nervous system that comes from a class that uses mindful movement and deep, intentional breath focus.”

Can we do yoga in heavy periods?

Updated 21 November 2021 | Published 07 December 2018 Fact Checked Reviewed by Dr. Anna Klepchukova, Intensive care medicine specialist, chief medical officer, Flo Health Inc., UK Flo Fact-Checking Standards Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy.

What exercises should be avoided during periods?

Intense cardiovascular workouts – During periods progesterone and estrogen levels are naturally low resulting in mood swings, lethargy, and fatigue. While it is recommended to perform low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates, etc.

Is downward dog OK during period?

Inversions and Others That Don’t Follow the Flow – Here are some types of poses, including inversions, that are best to avoid when you’re on your period:

Inversions: Sirsasana (Headstand), Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand), Pinca Mayurasana (Peacock Pose), Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand), Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose). Even Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) is an inversion. Backbends: Because the uterus swells somewhat during your period, it’s best not to do any sort of extreme backbending, even Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose), which is also a slight inversion. Abdominal strengtheners: Any sort of crunches—think Navasana (Boat Pose)—could possibly provoke cramping. Extreme twists: If you want to twist while you’re on your period, don’t go to your edge. Stay about 10 percent inside your edge.

Can I do downward dog on my period?

Typically, doctors will advise people to listen to how their bodies feel and then decide what is best for them. They advise that there are no known reasons to caution against inversions during menstruation, other than how one feels in the moment.

Why can’t you do shoulder stand when menstruating?

By Rebecca Treon on June 14, 2019 After countless yoga classes of all styles at studios far and wide, one question continues to bug me: Why do some yoga instructors tell women not to do inverted poses during their period? Don’t get me wrong — I’m happy to lay on my mat in Child’s Pose while the rest of the class contorts their bodies into upside down pretzels (kudos to you if you have the body control to do inversions in the first place!).

  1. But is there any legitimate medical risk involved in doing certain poses during your period? Or is it as outdated an idea as female hysteria? To invert or not to invert that is the question.
  2. The reasons some yoga teachers suggest avoiding inversions such as handstands, headstands, and shoulder stands are based on both yogic tradition and a potentially increased risk of endometriosis,

Philosophically, in yoga, menstruation is considered to be apana, meaning your body’s energy is downward-flowing. Those against inversions say that the poses will disturb the natural energetic flow, so it’s better to avoid putting your uterus in the air or upside down.

  1. Energy flow, though, isn’t a medical condition — endometriosis is.
  2. According to Dr.
  3. Ecia Gaither, OB/GYN, endometriosis is a condition in which cells like those that line the uterus (the stuff you shed during your period) implant themselves outside the uterus, causing inflammation, scarring, infertility, and pain.

“No definitive cause for endometriosis has been found,” Gaither says. “There are a number of hypotheses or associations, including retrograde menstruation, genetics, hormonal imbalance, or a relation to a uterine anomaly.” Women are warned that if their bodies are upside down, the blood flow will go backward instead of down and out, causing what’s known as retrograde menstruation, and possibly later lead to endometriosis.

Renowned yogini Gina Caputo says, “The expulsion of the uterine lining during menstruation isn’t propelled by gravity, but by uterine contractions. So, while there are no universally applicable medical reasons to avoid inverting your body during menstruation, every woman should consult a healthcare professional who knows their reproductive history and current condition when deciding whether or not it makes sense for them to do so.” Retrograde menstruation, as it turns out, is experienced by an estimated 90% of women —yet only 1 in 10 women are diagnosed with endometriosis.

Since the causes of endometriosis aren’t nailed down, it may not make sense to rule out inversions on a medical basis. Gaither says, “Since there hasn’t been a distinct identifiable cause of the disorder, to restrict women afflicted with endometriosis from certain yoga positions would be a cautionary approach at best.” Another theory is that inversions while menstruating might cause “vascular congestion” in the uterus, causing excessive menstrual flow.

This risk may be most relevant for women holding inversions for a lengthy amount of time (like, longer than a tampon commercial, which most of us probably don’t do). “Yoga may have an impact on a person’s autonomic nervous system,” explains Caputo. “If the challenges of excessive flow and irregularity are related to, for example, a person’s stress and anxiety, it’s entirely possible that yoga would be helpful.

But simply stretching and contracting tissues, as we do in physical yoga practice, are very unlikely to impact excessive flow and irregularity.” So, at this point, the idea that yoga inversions could cause endometriosis are mere speculation from a medical point of view.

  1. As for philosophical reasons within the realm of yoga, there are differing opinions on whether inversions may improve elimination of excess apana.
  2. Some teachers feel women with low energy during their period should avoid such high-energy poses, yet some women have normal or even higher energy levels at their time of the month.
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“It’s important to recognize that this prioritization isn’t rooted in biological function, but in philosophy,” says Caputo. “Much of what we’ve learned from traditional yoga is based in a deeply antiquated view of menstruation and dictated by people who have never experienced menstruation.” In fact, many people in both the medical world and the yogasphere actually recommend certain yoga poses during menstruation as a way to alleviate the unpleasant symptoms — like cramps and bloating — that sometimes come along with it.

“There are studies relating to actually utilizing yoga positions to decrease pelvic pain,” says Dr. Gaither. As a rule of thumb, listen to what your body is telling you. “For some practitioners, all inverted poses are OK to do during menstruation. And for others, no inverted poses are OK to do during menstruation!” Caputo says.

“If a woman isn’t paying attention to her body during yoga practice while menstruating, who will?! I believe we should observe how we actually feel to make the best possible decision for ourselves.” So, the answer to my nagging question? There’s no science-backed reason to avoid certain poses as long as they’re comfortable to you, regardless of where you are on your cycle.

Can we do squats during periods?

Conclusion – It is beneficial to exercise in periods, Additionally, studies show that as the female hormones, estrogen, and progesterone are at their lowest during periods, core strength workouts are more effective. Studies show that exercising from the first day of your periods up to two weeks later is the best time to gain strength.

  1. You should workout during periods, indoor or outdoor.
  2. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Q.
  3. Is it compulsory to workout during periods? No, it is not compulsory.
  4. However, if your period cramps are bearable, workouts during periods can be helpful.
  5. Squats during periods are a great option.Q.
  6. Can exercise in periods help me with my mood swings? Yes, definitely.

It is proven that exercise, in general, induces happy hormones in your body. It will clear your mind and improve your focus during periods.Q. Which is the best workout during periods? You can take up light walking, mild weight training, and light cardio as part of your gym workout during periods.

Can we do plank during periods?

Q. Can I plank during periods? – A. Yes, you can plank during periods. Planks strengthen the back muscles and help ease the tension in the back during the periods. It alleviates the symptoms occurring during the menstrual cycle. Along with easing period symptoms, it helps strengthen hips, chest, butt, abs, and arm muscles.

Does yoga increase blood flow during periods?

3. Malasana or Garland Pose – The well-known yoga pose not only improves balance and concentration, and focus but also increases circulation and blood flow in the pelvis. Not just menstruating women, it is particularly good for pregnant women as well. All the three yoga asanas are highly recommended to treat PCOS and endometriosis, improve period flow, in both men and women apart from leg toning and strengthening.

  1. These poses also ease the birth canal opening during delivery.
  2. However, do not perform these asanas if you have knee, ankle and heel pain, or Arthritis.
  3. Also avoid doing them in the first trimester of pregnancy, and in the second and third trimester, use the necessary support of the wall or chair to maintain balance.

: 3 pelvic-opening yoga asanas to regulate your menstrual cycle

Should you do yoga on heavy period?

Yes, you should practice—but take care of yourself. – While some teachers will disagree, the general medical consensus is that practicing yoga on your period is very safe and improves some of the symptoms that come with your period, such as cramping and moodiness.

  • The main challenge for many women—especially if they have very painful periods—is getting themselves to practice at all.
  • Still, it’s important to meet your body where it is.
  • Quick-paced, heated vinyasa practices, some with hand weights and other workout equipment have moved yoga away from a practice that responds and reacts to what our body and minds need,” says Beth Heller, M.S., R.Y.T.

“We conflate the exhaustion that arises in savasana after an intense, heated class with the truly balanced nervous system that comes from a class that uses mindful movement and deep, intentional breath focus.”

What exercises should be avoided during periods?

Intense cardiovascular workouts – During periods progesterone and estrogen levels are naturally low resulting in mood swings, lethargy, and fatigue. While it is recommended to perform low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates, etc.

Can I do downward dog on my period?

Typically, doctors will advise people to listen to how their bodies feel and then decide what is best for them. They advise that there are no known reasons to caution against inversions during menstruation, other than how one feels in the moment.