Surfing the crimson wave like a Pro
Right - Ladies, obviously this one is geared towards you. So if you’re a guy reading this, you can do one of two things; Forward this on to a girlfriend/wifey/exwifey/friend that is a girl/girl friend with benefits/female boss/sister etc, or you can do the sequence yourself as you’ll still reap amazing benefits from these hip opening postures below.
Back to the ladies.
Period pain is a b*tch isn’t it?
Well, I wanted to stop by quickly and give you my favourite sequence (with a couple of extra added tips) to help you through that 3-7 day discomfort. Let's first look at what it is, and more importantly why it hurts.
The NHS says that Period pain or dysmenorrhoea is;
“... usually felt as painful muscle cramps in the lower tummy, which can sometimes spread to the back and thighs. Sometimes the pain comes in intense spasms, while at other times the pain may be dull but more constant.
During your period, the wall of your womb starts to contract more vigorously, to encourage the lining of your womb to shed away as part of your monthly menstrual cycle.
When the muscular wall of your womb contracts, it compresses the blood vessels that line your womb. This temporarily cuts off the blood supply (and hence oxygen supply) to your womb. Without oxygen, the tissues in your womb release chemicals that trigger pain in your body."
This is where yoga comes in to play. By increasing space and circulation around the hips (and consequently the womb) you can help to alleviate the pain by getting to the cause of it (the cause being that lack of blood supply, triggering the pain response).
This sequence below is quick, however really helps to encourage hip specific blood flow. I use it every time and it always works. I’ve noticed that it also has an effect on the duration of my period. Rather than 7 days, it becomes a much faster process, clearing out in about 4 days.
Some other things to note to improve your surfing capabilities:
Hip Alignment - When my incredible Osteo (back home in Australia) told me that incorrect pelvic alignment could cause a longer and more painful period, it was a life changing moment. Poor biomechanics within the body can cause extra stress and pressure on the surrounding tissue. This stress can cause inflammation and of course, can have a knock-on effect to the surrounding organs. As an ex elite gymnast, carrying injuries of years past, I just thought I was unlucky in my long, painful and heavy 'flow' - but once I began rehabilitating the balance of my pelvic alignment and general biomechanics, I noticed a dramatic change in my period. Rather than 5 days of pain, I had 1 day of pain.
Hydration - is key in the prevention of muscle cramps and can also aid in the reduction of Period Pain. Hydration will also ensure the whole body can transport fluids more efficiently, helping to clear out toxins and balance hormones.
Light Exercise - as much as you probably don’t want to, a light walk can also work to massage those abdominal organs that are feeling a little stuck. It will increase circulation throughout the entire body helping to both alleviate pain, and eliminate toxins (through Lymph fluid).
Consider your tampon and pad choices - Ok I’m just throwing this one in because it concerns your overall health and health of the environment. While I am not ready to trust the moon cup, I am passionate about the environment and women’s health. There are some potential risks around the chemicals used in sanitary pads and tampons and they not only effect the environment, but of course, they effect us. I will do a little more research on this topic and come back to you, but in the mean time - try to use organic, chemical free sanitary pads/tampons wherever possible (and if you’re able to get your head around the moon cup - go for it!). Even if they aren’t the most leak-free option, it’s much better for your health. Here is a link to some pretty scary information on the chemicals used and the pollution it is causing.
Be positive - You know I had to add this one in here. Trust me when I say that I too struggle for happy thoughts when I have my period, however it’s probably even more important to work on your positive perspective during this time of grumpy and moody vibes. Why? Well, not only for the sanity of those around you, or to avoid break ups (I’m sorry for what I said when I was hungry and had my period) but actually because having your period is a GREAT THING! It is your very own indicator of reproductive, thyroid and metabolic health - so embrace it, and the messages it’s giving you (rather than cursing it).
Happy surfing ladies.