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7 Great Yoga Poses to Relieve Menstrual Cramps ...

By A.J.

So, it's that time of the month and you feel like the Third World War has just started in your belly; instead of letting this ruin your week, how about trying some yoga poses to relieve menstrual cramps? I, for one, really feel a lot better when I'm on my period since I discovered these techniques. Instead of curling up in agony begging all gods for mercy, I take out my yoga mat, enjoy some soothing exercise, and then go about my day like a happy little butterfly. So, here are my favorite yoga poses to relieve menstrual cramps. I hope they work for you as well as they do for me!

1 Child's Pose (Balasana)

Child's Pose (Balasana)Definitely one of the best yoga poses to relieve menstrual cramps is Balasana. Sit back on your heels, with your knees together, and rest your upper body on your thighs. Stretch out toward your feet and allow your forehead to rest on the floor. Breathe evenly and focus on relaxing your body. A variation I absolutely love is switching to extended child's pose and placing one or two (or however many you need) big, fluffy pillows under your upper body. Great pampering for your belly!

2 Head-to-Knee Forward Bend

Head-to-Knee Forward BendSit on your mat with your legs extended straight in front of you. Bend your right knee outward and rest the foot sole gently against the inner left thigh. Grab your left foot or shin and lengthen your upper body over the straight leg, focusing on your breath. Again, for extra comfort, you can place a big pillow between your extended leg and your upper body.

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3 Reclining Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Reclining Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)Lie on your back with your knees bent together. Support your spine on a rolled blanket, and you can use a few small pillows for your neck and head too. Grab your thighs and gently push your knees outward, bringing the soles of your feet together. Extend your arms to the sides or over your head and relax, breathing deeply. If you feel any strain in your thighs or groin, place some blankets or pillows under your outer thighs for extra support.

4 Garland Pose (Malasana)

Garland Pose (Malasana)This one requires a bit of balance, but is one of the greatest yoga poses to relieve menstrual cramps, strengthening your groin, relieving stress, and opening your hips. Come into a full squat position, separating your thighs slightly wider than your torso. Lean your upper body forward and press your elbows against the inner thighs, with your palms together like in Salutation Seal.

5 Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)Bow Pose is excellent for menstrual discomfort and it brings along some other benefits too, from relieving anxiety and improving posture to stimulating your organs and reducing back pain. However, if you have serious lower back or neck injury, it's best to avoid it. Lie on your belly and, while exhaling, bend your knees, keeping them hip width apart. Reach your hands back to grab your ankles, inhale deeply, and try to lift your thighs off the ground and your heels away from your buttocks, opening your heart.

6 Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Camel Pose (Ustrasana)Somewhat similar to the Bow Pose, Ustrasana stretches your front body and groin, improving circulation and helping your uterus heal faster. What's more, it's great for anxiety, fatigue and mild backaches, as well as a good relief for respiratory ailments. Warning: avoid this posture if you have back injury, migraines or high blood pressure.

7 Reclining Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)

Reclining Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)Last (but not least) on my list of yoga poses to relieve menstrual cramps is Supta Padangusthasana. Lie flat on your back with your legs straight and arms extended by your sides. Bend your right knee and grasp the big toe with your right hand. Press your left thigh down with your free hand and straighten your right leg as far as you're comfortable. Lift your head towards your right leg and make sure to breathe steadily.

These are the yoga poses I like to turn to when the dreaded menstrual cramps set in. Do you know of any others that can help? What's your favorite?

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