I used to get cramps to the point of seeing stars, but I learned Ayurvedic ways to significantly reduce them.
I used to get cramps to the point of seeing stars. I’m serious, you guys. I remember taking showers and almost blacking out because of the severity of my cramps. They were so intense and so painful, they would make me want to curl up and sleep, which of course I couldn’t do comfortably because the pain was too deep. This went on for years until I learned about Ayurveda.
Ayurveda, which literally means the “science of life,” is yoga’s sister science. It helps you live according to nature so that you can get back to your true nature. Your body operates on a 24-hour cycle and when you live in harmony with that cycle (and your cycle), you feel better.
The Ayurvedic practice dinacharya—a customized daily routine that includes self-care rituals—can help you get there. Developing a dinacharya for my mind/body type lessened my cramps so much that they are now pretty much non-existent.
Here are two Ayurvedic practices I do the week of my period and one practice I do the rest of the month that have helped reduce my cramps significantly.
I scale back on intense exercise during my period. Instead, I opt for walking or a less physical asana practice. I save the high-intensity intervals or more physical asana practice for the other three weeks of the month.
I choose more restful, quiet activities during the week of my period, nothing too stimulating. I mindfully take my time to slow down and turn inward. This is the time to journal, read, meditate and reflect more.
I practice abhyanga (self-oil massage with warm sesame oil in the fall, winter and spring, and coconut oil in the summer) before a shower or bath to ground me as often as I can the three weeks leading up to my period, but not during my period.
It took a few months of practicing these before I realized that Ayurveda was helping my cramps. The more I honored my body during that time of the month, the less likely I would get cramps the next month. This has held true for me ever since I began these Ayurvedic practices.
Practice It: Honor Your Body During Your Next Period
If you’re prone to cramps during your period, take the week of your period to truly nourish, rest and reflect instead of push. Choose quiet activities, such as reading and journaling. Get more sleep. Savor sips of tea. Next month, notice the intensity of your cramps and see if this practice had an impact on your cramps. If you don’t notice a difference, try one of the additional practices above and then observe how you feel the following month.