When it comes to managing your period, it’s all about finding the right tools and techniques for you. The Myoovi Kit offers instant, natural pain relief from menstrual cramps, but there are also many lifestyle changes and practices that can help to support both pain and PMS - from nutrition to exercise.
Holistic practices like yoga, shaking and breathwork can also play a big role in having a healthier, happier menstrual cycle and whilst the scientific research into these practices might still be ongoing, there are many people out there who advocate for their power!
Here we’ll break down the biology behind some of these practices and share advice from three wellness experts about their favourite holistic practices for improved menstrual health.
- Calming your nervous system through holistic practices can help both your physical and mental wellbeing
- Both movement and stillness can help regulate your nervous system
- Reducing stress can help regulate your cycle and reduce PMS symptoms
- Yoga can be really powerful for improving blood flow and reducing period pain
Shaking - also known as Trauma Release Movement or therapeutic or neurogenic tremoring - is all about down-regulating your nervous system. When we are stressed our automatic nervous system (which is responsible for many of our bodily functions including digestion, blood flow and sexual arousal) can go into overdrive, as we are flooded with hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Stress can not only make symptoms like PMS and period pain worse but it can even mess with our cycle.
Shaking helps to burn excess adrenaline, release muscular tension, and calm the nervous system to its neutral state, helping to manage stress levels in the body.
Often when we experience PMS it can feel like life is getting a bit much and we are about to explode! To shift this emotional and energetic build-up, I always come to shaking. Shaking helps to discharge energy and regulate the nervous system, inviting you into a calmer, more peaceful state. Shaking also helps to get you out of your head and bring you into the present as well as releasing stagnation and unwinding tension from the body.
Shaking is so simple and there’s no right or wrong way to do it! Simply stand up, pop on your favourite song and just start to move your body. You can jump, twist, twirl and shake - whatever feels good. Allow your limbs to shake and move every part of your body. I like to imagine I am shaking off all the sh*t I am carrying! And then, come to stillness, connect to your breath and notice the sensations as the release explores your body.
Like shaking, breathwork helps to regulate your nervous system, but in a slightly different way. When we slow our breathing down we are telling our body that we are safe from danger. This helps us move from our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight mode) to our parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest mode!). Studies have shown that deep breathing techniques - like belly breathing - can help to reduce signs of stress in healthy adults.
In our modern lives, we can find ourselves living in a constant state of fight or flight - and this can make dealing with symptoms like PMS and pain even harder.
By breathing deeply into your stomach and womb space, you induce relaxation and calm in the body. The levels of cortisol (stress hormone) are reduced and your heart and blood pressure are lowered too. When using this technique with clients, it helps them to feel grounded and return to their bodies. They become present and feel calmer. This technique can also help to reduce pain.
Here’s how to try this simple practice
- Lay on your back in savasana or sit in a comfortable seated posture and relax the whole body
- Observe the natural breath with no alterations for a couple of minutes
- Then place your right hand on your belly and your left hand on your chest
- Now, imagine drawing your breath in and out from the belly
- The right hand will move out with inhalation and in with exhalation. The left hand will stay still
- Breathe slowly and deeply - do not force the movement
- Continue for a few minutes, perhaps counting the breath or saying 'breathe in, breathe out to yourself to help you focus
Gentle exercise like yoga is great for managing both the physical and mental factors of our period - but Yin yoga takes the benefits to another level. The practice involves holding poses for an extended period of time, slowly stretching out the muscles and focusing on the breath. Like shaking and breathwork, this practice is great for calming the nervous system and managing PMS. One study found that after 5 weeks of regular Yin Yoga practice, participants reported reduced levels of anxiety and improved sleep - two things that many people struggle with around their period!
Certain positions in a Yin practice can also be great for helping period pain, as they improve circulation to the uterus and stretch out the tension in the pelvis.
Yin yoga over time has supported me on my lifelong journey to heal the relationship with my body and womb, after years of repeated hatred and pain. It has also played a key role in the management of my endometriosis (which was on both of my ovaries, womb, lining of my womb and bladder). This simple and sacred practice can help you shift the relationship you have with your body, transform disempowering cycles into deep understanding and tackle period pain.
The essence of this practice is to bring the body out of fight and flight and into rest, digest and heal - back into balance. So create yourself a self-care space (even if it is 20 minutes), light your favourite candle roll out your mat and grab a bolster (a cushion works perfectly too).
Child’s Pose and Reclined Butterfly are great poses for relieving period pain - and will soothe your mind too, here’s how to do them.
- Place the bolster lengthwise on your mat and bring your toes to touch
- Spread your knees slightly wider than your hips and lower your glutes to your heels.
- Slowly fold forward onto the bolster, supporting your torso on the bolster and resting your arms out in front of you on the floor.
- Place your cheek (or forehead) on the bolster to rest and hold the pose for 3-6 minutes.
- Take a bolster, pillow, or rolled-up blanket or towel and place it vertically on the mat.
- Extend your legs out in front of you and bring your hips to the edge of your prop.
- Bend your knees while drawing your heels in toward your body.
- Press the soles of your feet together and drop your knees out to each side.
- Slowly lower yourself down until you can surrender fully onto your prop.
- Rest your arms by your sides with your palms on your womb. Soften your body with each exhale and breathe into your womb. You can stay in this pose for up to 10 minutes.
As with all things menstrual health, you know your body and your needs best. Trying out one or all of these techniques might help you navigate your period and manage symptoms in a calm, healthy way - and at the very least you will certainly feel more relaxed.
We created the Myoovi kit to be discreet and portable so that you have the freedom to shake, breathe and move even on days when pain is getting you down