Supta Baddhakonasana: Reclined Bound Angle Pose Fold one or two firm blankets into neat rectangles. Sitting in front of the short side of your blanket folds, bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together with your heels near your pelvis. Then, support yourself with your hands as you lay back onto your blanket support. Close your eyes, and allow your skin to soften and your breath to slow down. Even out your inhale and your exhale as you breathe in and out through your nose. Rest here for 5-10 minutes. EFFECTS This pose can help relieve menstrual cramps and discomfort in your pelvic area; it is opening to your thoracic cavity and helpful for releasing constriction in your breath which will have a calming effect on your nervous system.
Upavistha Konasana: Wide Angle Seated Pose
Sit with your back and the back of your pelvis up against a wall, and take your legs wide apart. Flex your feet and spread your toes as you move the flesh of your buttocks back; doing so will enable you to sit up straight with more ease. (You can also elevate your buttocks on a blanket or two if your legs feel stiff while sitting on the floor.) Use your hands for support by placing them on the floor beside your hips. Take care to completely relax your pelvic area, vaginal walls, and abdominal muscles. Sit here for 1-5 minutes, or longer if you wish.
EFFECTS This pose my be helpful for heavy bleeding times. It massages your reproductive organs and gently lifts your uterus, having a drying effect.
Ardha Chandrasana: Half Moon Pose
Standing near a wall for support, turn your left foot out 90 degrees. Ground into all four corners of your foot, and bend your knee as you bring your left hand to the floor (or to a block or block-type support) underneath your shoulder. Lift your right foot off the floor, and stack your right hip on top of your left hip as you extend through both legs and spread your toes apart. Leaning back into the wall for support, ground through your bottom hand and extend your top arm straight up. The back of your head, shoulders, hips, and your right heel should rest against the wall. Lengthen from your tailbone through the crown of your head as you breathe evenly in and out through your nose. Open your chest and pelvis. Hold for 15-30 seconds. Then carefully lower your top leg, return to standing, and repeat on your other side.
EFFECTS This pose is very helpful for cramping and heavy bleeding. When done with support at the back, it has a calming yet invigorating effect on the nervous system.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana: Bridge Pose
Place one firm pillow horizontally against the wall, and a second firm pillow vertically, forming a T shape. (More pillows or stacked blankets can also be used.) Sit on the pillow that is perpendicular to the wall, and recline back, shifting as necessary so that you are able to bring your feet onto the pillow at the wall, extend your legs straight, and rest your shoulders and head on the floor. Close your eyes and relax completely, softening your abdomen and breathing deeply. Stay in this pose for 5-10 minutes, or longer if you wish. To come out, bend your knees, roll carefully to your right hand side and then press yourself up.
EFFECTS This pose provides a gentle opening for your thoracic cavity, enabling you to breathe more deeply with ease. This in turn has a calming effect on your nerves. Resting here also relieves tension in the abdomen and heaviness and cramping in your uterus.
Savasana: Corpse Pose
Lie on your back with your legs stretched out and your arms at your side. (Use a folded blanket to support your head and an eye pillow to block external sensations if you would like.) Allow your legs to be wider apart than your hips, and your arms to rest a little away from your torso, with your palms turned upward. Actively engage your legs and arms briefly, and then relax completely. Close your eyes and allow everything to relax, coming into physical stillness. Breathe normally, keeping your abdomen soft and relaxed. Observe your breath. Observe your body. Observe your thoughts. Rest here for 5-15 minutes.
EFFECTS This pose is deeply relaxing. Research shows that sleep and rest are distinct states in the body and brain. Indeed, one can sleep for eight hours and not feel truly rested. Savasana pose is a pose of conscious rest, conscious sleep. It helps relieve fatigue, irritability, and depression. It is also quieting to the mind and grounding for your body.
To get the most out of these [poses during menstruation], focus on creating space between your rib cage and your abdomen. Relax your abdomen, pelvic region, and vaginal walls. Pay particular attention to your breathing. Direct your breath wherever you feel constriction. If your abdomen feels tight, breathe into it to soften and comfort it. If you feel constricted in your diaphragm or around your chest and heart, direct your breathing there. If you have cramps, breathe all the way down into your uterus. Directing your breath in this way brings an internal focus to your practice and allows you to relax deeply, resting your entire body. [This sequence] is gentle, nourishing, and designed to make you feel completely cared for.
~Patricia Walden, The Woman’s Book of Yoga and Health
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