Skip to main content

8 Yoga Poses to Help Ease Period Pain

By 03/11/2023March 12th, 2024Lifestyle & Wellness, Yoga Asana
Child's Pose on a yoga mat

If you’re someone who goes through a monthly cycle, you have probably at one point or another experienced “period pain” or PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Period pain arises from a shift in hormones due to the different phases of the menstrual cycle. Symptoms can include but are not limited to cramping, headaches, nausea, and body pain like lower back pain or breast tenderness. Other symptoms related to the menstrual cycle can also include fatigue, food cravings, acne, bloating, and mood swings.

An average cycle lasts somewhere between 28 and 31 days. Actual menstruation, which is the shedding of the lining of one’s uterus after pregnancy has not taken place, is bioindividual and can last 3 to 7 days. Whether you’re experiencing “period pain” during your actual menstrual phase or in a different phase of your cycle (it’s common to experience pain during the luteal phase), it’s not uncommon to ignore our symptoms and “push past them,” accept them as part of our fate, and/or to treat them like the enemy. Contrary to what we may believe, it can be deeply healing to acknowledge and embrace any and all symptoms and to honor our cycle and therefore our connection with Self.

Hormone shifts happen throughout the whole cycle. It should be noted that intense chronic pain from one’s period is often the result of hormonal imbalances which can be regulated with some lifestyle changes (think exercise, diet & nutrition, and time/energy management). One’s yoga practice can meet us at all phases of the cycle and certainly help to honor and accept our bodies, even on the days where cramps, bloating, and fatigue may be present. And while these poses may not fully heal any pain, they can certainly help one to slow down, respect one’s body, and settle into the intuitive and feminine nature of one’s period.

1. Child’s Pose (Bālāsana)

Child's Pose on a yoga mat

Child’s Pose (Sanskrit: Bālāsana)

Child’s pose is probably my number 1 go-to when I am feeling tired, bloated, and/or crampy. Having the belly facing the floor feels nice for protecting the vital organs, while at the same time letting the belly fully extend towards the ground between the legs. The head down on the ground can feel soothing for headaches or overall fatigue.

2. Cat/Cow (Marjaryasana)

Cow Pose – drop the belly, lift the gaze & chest

Cat pose

Cat pose – round the spine, tuck the navel

The sequence of cow and cat is great for bringing fluidity into breath and body in a very gentle and familiar manner. It might be all the fluid movement you need to connect to your body.

3. High Lunge (Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana)

Person on a yoga mat in High Lunge with Back Knee Bent

High Lunge (Sanskrit: Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana)

If you’re seeking a bit more “high energy” movement, high lunge is nice to incorporate. I like high lunge because it’s a closed hip position and offers the variation of having the back knee up or down depending on how you are feeling. If you’re not feeling up for this posture, skip it!

4. Wide Leg Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)

Wide Leg Forward Fold

Wide Leg Forward Fold (Sanskrit: Prasarita Padottanasana)

If you’re sequencing a flow for yourself, going from high lunge to wide leg forward fold might be all the standing poses you need. If you want to sequence a standing pose that isn’t high lunge, this one may be perfectly adequate. Like child’s pose, having the head towards the floor may help to ease tension in the head while usage of the legs to fold may also release tension in the lower back.

5. Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvāṅgāsana)

Supported Bridge pose

Supported Bridge (Sanskrit: Setu Bandha Sarvāṅgāsana)

Supported bridge is a nice option for a gentle backbend. It might be our tendency to want to fold into ourselves when we’re not feeling our best, so spreading the chest and opening the fronts of the hips with the block can be just what we need to allow the front body to widen.

6. Supine Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

Supine Twist

Supine Twist (Sanskrit: Supta Matsyendrasana)

Supine twist is an easy and gentle way to bring some movement towards the belly. This might feel good if you’re feeling crampy or bloated and this posture (when done with the knees left first) encourages the movement of digestion. You might use props here with a blanket under your knees or between your knees if you are needing some extra support.

7. Pigeon (Kapotasana)

Pigeon pose

Pigeon Pose (Sanskrit: Kapotasana)

Any forward folding posture feels good for me in my body when I am in my menstrual phase. Not only do the physical postures themselves feel good, but the forward folding postures encourage one to look inward. It’s always best to listen to oneself in order to truly honor oneself, especially as it comes with shifting phases. For these reasons, I love pigeon pose when I have my period. In addition, if any low back pain or stiffness is present sometimes getting into the hips can bring about a fluidness to the body.

8. Corpse Pose (śavāsana)

Savasana on a yoga mat on the floor

Corpse Pose (Sanskrit: śavāsana)

There’s truly nothing like savasana, especially during the menstrual phase. You might consider giving yourself longer rest time when you have your period. Use any and all props under or over your body to support your journey inward.


Join our mailing list for incredible weekly content!