If you’re a woman, then you can definitely relate to the feeling of a small dinosaur sitting atop your uterus and not-so-subtly stomping on your ovaries during that time of the month. You might be frustrated with yourself for complaining about everything in existence, and becoming a living, breathing, PMSing cliché, but I wholeheartedly believe that we ladies deserve a week dedicated solely to hating life because of period pains. Fortunately, the best yoga pose for PMS will soothe your throbbing lower back and remedy your pulsing, cramped-up stomach in no time.
Honestly, if I’m not indulging in a dreamy pint of Belgian chocolate Häagen-Dazs while I’m menstruating, you can most likely find me in this yoga pose. Just so you know, though, there are several poses that work splendidly for relieving PMS pain, but in my personal practice and yoga studies, this singular posture has proven to be most powerful and nourishing when my uterine lining decides that it doesn’t care one bit about how I feel when it sheds.
If your cramps are unbearable and a heating pad just isn’t doing the job, consider gently making your way into a seated spinal twist, or ardha matsyendrasana in Sanskrit.
According to DoYouYoga, seated spinal twist is sometimes referred to as half lord of the fishes pose, because it’s dedicated to shri matsyendranath, aka "lord of the fishes" in ancient yogic mythology, who is also the co-founder of hatha yoga. "Hatha" roughly translates to "movement," and the interpretation of this specific type of yoga is largely up to the teacher herself.
Now, this seated spinal twist can be both gentle and powerful, depending on the level of your practice and how deeply you take it. Ardha matsyendrasana is said to thoroughly massage your internal organs (namely, the reproductive organs) and increase circulation to these areas of the body to help soothe any aches, throbs, and pains going down during your menstrual cycle.
Mentally, seated spinal twist energizes the body to fight fatigue brought on by your period, and simultaneously works to calm your nervous system and mind, which is key if you’re experiencing stress, anxiety, or mood swings during your time of the month.
If you’re feeling out of whack, or not at all like yourself during your period, I feel you on a spiritual level, sister. Finding your way into ardha matsyendrasana will restore balance within your body, mind, and spirit, which is exactly what you need when you feel like you’re drowning in the depths of PMS.
As with all yoga poses, it’s important to pay attention to your breath while you’re practicing ardha matsyendrasana.
A focus on ujjayi breathing will help deepen the pose and further relax your body and mind. Activating your ujjayi pranayama, or breathing that is similar to the sounds of the ocean, will feel extremely soothing, as it will help take your mind off of any uncomfortable sensations happening in your body, as well as encourage the free flow of prana, or your "vital life force."
As you inhale deeply through your nose and into your belly, straighten your spine as if you are actually growing taller. Let your abdominal area puff out and expand fully here on your inhale — don’t hold back at all, let that belly roam free and unrestricted! On your slow exhale, if it feels OK for your body, and you think that it will be beneficial to your PMS symptoms, consider taking the twist a bit deeper. Continue this cycle of inhaling and exhaling for a few breaths. Remember, if you’re a beginner who wants to make the pose more accessible, you can take it up against a wall for added comfort.
Oh, and after your done, I highly recommend treating yourself to that Belgian chocolate Häagen-Dazs. Just trust me on this one.
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