Cramps, cramps, cramps!

So your period has arrived, time to snuggle up in bed, binge watch Friends on Netflix and eat whatever you can get your hands on. Well, this is what my period used to mean for me, especially after having Aubrey. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it still does, but I try turn to yoga first.

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“A national survey by Plan International Canada has revealed that the negative perception around periods not only still exists, but has a profound impact on women's lives.

The online poll, which included 2,000 Canadian women, found that 83 per cent of those age 18-25 felt their periods held them back from fully participating in an activity and that 70 per cent have missed school, work, or a social event as a result.” I have talked to quite a lot of you this last week, and you’ve opened up about the shame and embarrassment that you feel with your periods. It has prevented you from coming to a yoga class, one of the things that will actually help reduce your cramps! Read more about period taboo about the world, here.

I always want to apologize for the TMI in these posts, but you know what, we can’t keep apologizing for having a period - or feel embarrassed to talk about it. This is why women and girls suffer through the pain associated with their periods. I remember High School being the worst time during my periods, if you wanted to change your pad/tampon during class you would either try hide it in your sleeve, in a pocket, or try take your purse to the bathroom with you, only to be questioned by the teacher/your peers to why you’re taking your bag. I hope this changes, quickly, and I hope Aubrey enters Puberty during a time when it’s not shameful to have a period. It is 2019…we are women….we bleed…a lot….and we survive it! We are freaking warriors…and it’s time we treat ourselves as such.

Okay, let’s talk yoga! In my experience, Yin Yoga is the most helpful practice during those crampy days, that means holding these poses for at least 3-5 minutes. What are we trying to do with these poses? Calm the mind, focus on the breath, stretch out the lower back, increase circulation to the abdomen, and move the body. I want you to come to classes and comfortably tell me you have cramps, let us guide you through a class to help you feel better. Moving during your period doesn’t feel good at first, but I know you will feel so much better after. Try out this sequence next time Aunt Flow visits, and let me know how you feel! .

Standing Forward Fold - 3 minutes

Childs Pose - 5 minutes

Cat/Cow - slowly flow between the poses for 5 minutes

Reclined Childs pose (knees to chest) - 5 minutes - gentle rock side to side if this feels good

Reclined twist - 5 minutes each side

Savasana - 7-10 minutes

I also threw together a rollerball for someone this week to assist with period cramps, I used jojoba oil as the carrier, and added an equal amount of Lavender and Copabia oil. Copabia has strong anti inflammatory properties, so you can apply directly where it hurts for instant relief. And Lavender, the go-to oil for relaxation, is used for period pain relief to get your muscles to relax and ease some of the tension.

What's that period slogan….”Have a happy period, Always”. Except that here I am giving you actual tools to help ease your pain, and it’s not just a clever marketing campaign.

Having trouble accessing hygiene products for your period? You will always have access to pads and tampons in our studio bathroom. This also is not to suggest that some people don’t need medication for their period pain. It is simply a suggestion to help relieve cramps, and I hope it works for you like it does for me.

Sophie Wootton