The two types of cramps people experience are muscle cramps or menstrual cramps. Muscle cramps are a sudden, involuntary contraction of one or more of your muscles. Menstrual cramps are experienced in the female reproductive system during menstruation. Breathing exercises, also know as pranayama, can help treat pain associated with cramps. Before practicing alternative medicine, consult your doctor.
Centering breath can help calm your body when you're experiencing cramps. Start with a few cycles of normal breathing, then on your next inhale, take a slow, gentle and deep breath through your nose. Follow with a slow, gentle and deep exhale through your nose. Go back to normal breathing for a few cycles. Repeat the deep inhale and exhale again and go back to normal breathing. Complete a total of 10 cycles.
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Ujjayi pranayama, or conquest of energy breath, regulates blood pressure which can help prevent cramps. Start by breathing naturally but with awareness for a few cycles. Then continue to inhale normally, but exhale deeply until your lungs feel empty. Do this for 15 cycles. Next, inhale deeply and exhale normally for 15 more cycles. Finally, inhale and exhale deeply for 20 cycles. Rest by returning to normal breathing for several cycles.
Practicing Viloma pranayama will bring ease and lightness to the body, according to yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar. Start by inhaling and exhaling naturally. On your next inhale, pause for two seconds, then fully exhale. Repeat for seven to 10 minutes as long as you don't feel fatigued. Try to fill your lungs with more air each time you inhale. Rest with three minutes of normal breathing.
Viloma 2 Pranayama
The breathing exercise, Viloma 2 pranayama, is an effective treatment for menstrual cramps, says Iyengar. Start by inhaling and exhaling naturally through the nose. After your next exhale, pause for two seconds before inhaling. Repeat up to five times. You may perform this breathing exercise while seated or lying down. If lying down, prop your chest and head up with pillows to deepen the breath. Make sure your head is positioned slightly higher than your chest.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.