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Written by Jaicy Joseph,
Cultivating body awareness while being engaged in any physical activity helps gently improve flexibility, strength and endurance without injuring oneself. Beginners who aim to achieve what seasoned practitioners have worked for months & years to reach specific levels of flexibility is not possible to achieve overnight. Our bodies are packed with intelligence and when we are unable to perform a posture or exercise exactly like another, it doesn’t mean we are any less than the pros, it just means that our requirements are varied from others. We take a sneak-peek at what are the solutions to pain and discomfort not only around that time of the month but throughout the year.
Here’s a sequence of poses you can practice in the days leading up to the menstrual cycle to minimize pain.
Tip- Hold all these poses for three to five breaths and on both sides-right and the left for the same number of breaths.
1) Uttanasana -Popularly known the Standing Forward Bend is called Padahastasana by some.This Asana helps:
• It actively stretches your hips, hamstrings, and calves.
• It provides strength to your thighs and knees.
• Regular practice relieves stiffness of your spine, neck, and back.
• Engage your core & lower abdomen for it to be more effective during menstrual cycle
Uttanasana is not to be practiced by individuals with spinal injuries, high or low blood pressure.
2) Tadasana – Commonly called as The Mountain Pose is the neutral pose while performing the standing poses such as Vrikshasana, Natrajasana. This Asana helps:
• Stimulates nervous system.
• Improves body posture and balance.
• Regulate the menstrual cycle in women.
• Tone buttocks and abdomen.
• Strengthens ankles, knees, thighs, arms, and legs.
• Improves respiratory and digestive system
3) Ashwa Sanchalanasana – The Horse Stance, this pose works on muscle elasticity and strengthens muscles at the back. One can experience the health benefits of Ashwa Sanchalanasana gradually on regular practice:
• Stretches spine therefore increasing the flexibility of the back.
• Strengthens the knee and ankles, opens groin and hips.
• Strengthens the muscles of the chest hence enhances lung capacity.
There are many variations for Ashwa Sanchalanasana such as placing the foot outside the hand on the same side, touching the forehead to the floor.
4) Malasana – Also known as The Garland Pose helps opens out the inner thighs and the groin.If the inner thighs are not very flexible, it may be hard to open it so work on opening it ever so gradually. Malasana is well-known for:
• stretching the ankles,
• lower hamstrings, groins,
• back torso as well as strengthening the quadriceps, hamstrings,gluteal muscles, lower pelvic floor muscles, calf muscles, core, and the lower back.
5)Chamatkarasana – The Wild Thing pose works on a wide range of muscles all at once. One of the ways to get into this pose is by starting at downward dog.
• Stretch for the lungs, throat, and shoulders.
• Opening the front of the legs, including hips and hip flexors.
• Builds strength in the upper arms and shoulders. Stretches and strengthening the back.
• Engage core muscles to be more active during menstrual cycle days.
6) Parsvakonasana – Popularly known as The Extended Side Angle Pose. There are many ways to get into Parsvakonasana also called the extended side angle pose.
• It relieves stiffness in the shoulders and back.
• Helps provides a deep stretch to the groins and hamstrings, and it also improves stamina.
• Strengthens the legs, knees, and ankles, while also stretching and toning the abdominal muscles.
Be careful in case of knee injuries.
7) Wide-legged Utkatasana – Commonly known as The Chair Pose or the fierce pose. To get into the pose, exhale and lower your buttocks so that your thighs are parallel to the ground ensuring your knees stay behind the toe line. This Asana helps in:
• Improves body balance
• Helps tone legs
• Strengthens ankles
• Stretches shoulders
• Stimulates heart beat
• Engages core muscles to help you go through the days of menstrual cycle.
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