If you suffer from painful periods, mind/body exercises such as Pilates can help you. Pilates works on core stabilization through the pelvic floor. Many women find that by reconnecting with their body they are able to lessen the severity of their cramps.
Movement is essential for combating cramps. Many types of exercise are important and can help alleviate or subdue cramping as it releases endorphins. Endorphins are natural pain relievers and are released during exercise.
Below are some gentle Pilates Fundamentals exercises to help you work on the foundation of the breath through the movement:
You first need to establish a mind/body connection through breathing. Start by lying on your back, knees bent, hands wrapped around your ribcage, just underneath your chest. Breathe in through the nose, expanding the ribcage left to right and front to back. At the same time, draw your lower abdominals in like you are zipping up a tight pair of pants. Now, exhale through the mouth feeling the ribs move closer together and pulling the navel in deeper towards the spine. To fully achieve the mind/body connection, it is suggested that you practice the breath at least twenty times a day.
Lie flat on your back, legs extended. Place the bottom of your palm on your hip bones, making a triangle with your pointer fingers. Where your pointer fingers meet, think of that as a lower belly button. Again, breathe in deeply through the nose expanding your ribcage and belly. Exhale through the mouth pulling your belly button and “lower belly button” back to the spine. Repeat 6-10 times.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on floor. Make sure your shoulders are not hunched close to your ears. Your head should be a natural extension of your spine. Extend both arms up to the ceiling. Breathe in, reaching both arms towards the ceiling allowing shoulder blades to come off the floor. Breathe out as you push the shoulder blades back towards the floor. Repeat 6-10 times.