Your time of the month may bring with it hefty cramps, discomfort in your abdominal muscles, and lower back or an overall feeling of just blah. Luckily, it’s possible to do yoga for menstrual pain relief that can help you get back to your best self, find some comfort amongst the pain, and help ease any menstrual cycle symptoms.
Should You Practice Yoga During Your Period?
The short answer is that it’s totally up to you! Traditionally it is not recommended that you practice yoga during your period due to the belief that inversions particularly reverse the flow of energy from going down to up during your period. It was also believed that this could cause damage to the body but this has been proven to be incorrect. You can safely do yoga during your period without fear or worry that it will harm you, in fact, it’s actually quite beneficial.
The most important thing to remember during any yoga flows or sequences while on your period is that your body may not be able to do poses the same way as you did during other parts of your cycle. Be gentle with yourself, listen to what your body needs, and practice accordingly.
Some women prefer to do more intense flows and yoga for strengthening, others prefer a more restorative or yin style practice while on their period. Regardless of what yoga style you decide to do, remember to not push yourself as your body is very different and oftentimes craves rest during the menstrual part of your cycle, but everyone is different.
Top Yoga Poses for Period Pain
These yoga poses for period cramps will help you feel relief and give you comfort in your body, even when you’re not feeling your best.
Reclined Butterfly Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Lay down on your back and allow your lower back to arch naturally to avoid putting extra strain on this tender area during your period. Bring the bottoms of your feet together. The closer your feet are to your groin, the deeper the stretch will be, the further away your feet are the more relaxed the pose will be.
To make this pose extra comfortable, use blocks or pillows and place them under your knees or thighs to prop your legs up and to avoid extra strain in your groin and inner thighs.
Allow your arms to fall to either side of your body, with generous space from your sides with palms facing up or bring one hand to your belly and the other to your heart and breathe deeply for a minimum of 5 breaths.
Reclined Spinal Twist Pose (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Bring your knees into your chest and give yourself a big hug, keeping your head on the ground. Gently rock from side to side massaging your lower back into the mat. Extend your left arm to your left, straight out from your shoulder, palm facing down. Use your right hand on the outside of your left thigh to gently guide your knees to the right-hand side of your body.
If your knees don’t touch the ground, place a block or pillow under your knees to support you. If your top knee doesn’t meet your bottom knee, place a block or pillow between your thighs. Even if your knees can touch each other or the ground, placing a pillow between them can make you even more comfortable and allow you to fully relax into the pose.
Allow your head to look towards the left for the full variation of the twist. For a deeper stretch bring your knees closer to your chest or move them further away for less intensity.
Repeat on the opposite side, holding each side for at least 5 deep breaths.
Seated Wide-Legged Forward Fold Pose (Upavistha Konasana)
Bring yourself to sit facing the long side of your mat. Open your legs wide into a V-shape that feels most comfortable for you today. Your feet can be as close or far apart as you like. Allow your thighs to open and fall away from each other, your knees pointing to the sky. Feet and toes are relaxed. With a deep inhale lengthen your spine and on your exhale gently walk your hands in front of you, coming down only so far into a forward fold that is comfortable for you. With each inhale continue to lengthen your spine and on each exhale move a little deeper into the forward fold if comfortable and accessible to you.
To make this pose more passive and extra comfy, grab a block or two, a stack of pillows or a bolster and use the bolster or blocks propped up to rest your forehead on or lay them or the pillows on the ground, if you’re close enough, for you to lay on. Hold for at least 5 deep breaths.
Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
Place your mat, a blanket, or a pillow against a wall. Place your bum on whatever it is you put against the wall and bring the base of your spine as close to the wall as possible, your legs extended up the wall towards the sky. Allow your feet to be as close or far away from one another as you like. Do whatever feels best to do today. Allow your arms to fall to your side, with generous space between them and your body, with your hands facing up. Your feet are completely relaxed and your whole body is able to let go, feeling completely supported by the ground and the wall. Hold for 5 deep breaths.
Yoga for Menstrual Cramps & PMS Symptoms Flow
While the above poses may be helpful for you if you’re short on time and can only do one or two, all of them are included in this yoga to relieve period cramps flow. This video is 24-minutes long, includes the poses above and a couple more, and is a restorative style class that is designed to allow you to completely let go of any pain and discomfort and to help ease yourself into relaxation.
Some props you may want other than your mat are a blanket, blocks and/or pillows.
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