Yoga Poses for Dysmenorrhea (aka Cramps!)

Source: Yoga Poses For Dysmenorrhea (aka Cramps!)

Got cramps? You're not alone. Many women suffer from severe menstrual pain (known as dysmenorrhea) with sharp, throbbing, burning, or nauseating cramps in their lower abdomen and back. The cramps may come right before you get your period or during and thankfully go away after Aunt Flo leaves you. These crippling, can't-get-through-your-normal-day kind of cramps are caused by uterine contractions and can be aggravated by emotional stress. They tend to cause headaches and a really heavy flow - twice the fun. Some women take pain meds to deal, but you may want to give these yoga poses a try since getting your body moving (and out of fetal position on the couch) can really help with cramps.
Wide Squat
Hip pain can be part of the whole cramp scene, so stretching them out feels really good. To do Wide Squat, stand with your feet slightly wider than hips-width distance apart. Bend your knees and lower your hips all the way down. Take a peek at your feet and see if you can press your heels out, bringing your feet parallel. Press your elbows against your inner knees and lengthen through your torso. Hold like this, or for a deeper lower back stretch, release your hands to the floor and walk them away from you, lowering your chin to your chest. Hold for five breaths.

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Pigeon Pose
Pigeon Pose also opens your hips, but sometimes it feels better to work one side at a time. Sit on the floor with your right knee bent and your left leg extended behind you. Place your hands on your lower back and gently arch your back. You should feel a nice stretch in the front of your left hip, but if this variation is painful, lean forward, placing your hands on the floor in front of you. Hold for five or more breaths, and then repeat this pose on the other side.

One-Armed Camel Pose
Stretching out your abs and the front of the hips can also relieve cramps. To do One-Armed Camel, stand on your shins so your knees are underneath your hips. Reach your right hand back, placing it on your right heel or on the mat behind your right toes. Extend your left arm in the air. Shift weight forward onto your knees to increase the stretch in your quads, belly, and chest. Lower your head behind you and stay here for five breaths. Switch sides, holding for another five breaths, and then lift the torso up to release.

Wide Child's Pose
If you feel cramps in your lower back, Wide Child's Pose is sure to offer relaxation and relief. Place your knees on the floor, widen them to a comfortable distance, then fold forward, extending your arms in front of you. Rest your forehead on the mat or turn your head to one side.

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