Photographed by Justin Namon.
Sometimes, when you have your period, exercise seems like the last thing you want to do. Seriously, sometimes even moving from a fetal position feels like something you can't achieve as long as you're menstruating. Between the pain and discomfort, it's hard to take your ambitions any further than your couch. But, what if we told you that you could adopt the starfish position and feel some pain relief? According to a new study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Yoga Nidra offers this very benefit.
This particular yoga practice is done entirely in Savasana — laying with your back flat on a mat — with guided meditation. For the study, researchers gathered 150 women who reported having abnormal periods — meaning they experienced intense cramps, infrequent/light periods, a very heavy flow, or between-period bleeding. Half of the participants did Yoga Nidra for 30 to 45 minutes, five times a week, in addition to taking medication for their symptoms. The other half treated their symptoms with just medicine and no yoga. The result? After six months, the yogis reported greater relief from their menstrual problems.
So, what is it about Yoga Nidra that produces such amazing results? Because of the meditation and relaxed pose, your breathing slows down significantly. And, because you're consuming less oxygen, your brain creates more delta waves, similar to those you'd have when in a deep sleep. Plus, the relaxation from this practice was associated with a drop in the hormones that stimulate both the thyroids and follicles, which can cause those pesky period problems. And, since we sense you're looking at a few days off from work for the holidays, you literally have an excuse to lay around and do nothing, courtesy of science. (Women's Health)