Yoga can help ease the discomfort of period pain if you take a strategic approach to the poses you practice. The next time you’re on your period, try these eight poses to alleviate pain, bloating, heavy bleeding, cramping, and PMS. Since the lower part of your body can feel super heavy during menstruation, these asanas are mostly seated and focused on opening up your hips and pelvic floor. Depending on how your body is feeling, you can stay in these poses for several minutes for a restorative practice.
Supta Baddha Konasana
Up first, we have Supta Baddha Konasana. This asana is all about opening up your hips and relaxing — making it the perfect pose to do while you’re menstruating. To come into this pose, start in a reclined position with your knees bent. Release your knees out to the sides of the mat and let them fall to the earth. Bring the soles of your feet together. If you like to use props, a bolster under your spine would feel great in this pose. If you have extra time, you can stay in this pose for up to 10 minutes, bringing your body into a meditative state.
Baddha Konasana, also known as bound angle pose is a great asana to open up the pelvic region and stimulate your ovaries. This reproductive health power pose not only soothes your digestive system, and provides relief from menstrual cramps, it also gives you energy. For this pose, you begin by bending your knees and bringing the soles of your feet together as you let your knees fall out to either side. Draw your feet in as close as you can while still feeling comfortable. Sit up tall, with a long spine, and keep your shoulder blades away from your ears.
Head to knee pose, or Janu Sirsasana, is a simple forward bend that allows you to extend and lengthen your hip and groin area, while also stretching your hamstrings. This asana will aid your reproductive and digestive system, relieve anxiety, fatigue, headaches, menstrual cramps, and can also help depression. Begin this pose by extending your right leg and moving the sole of your left foot on your inner thigh. Center your torso over your right leg and fold forward. Come back through bound angle pose to set up for the same thing on the other side.
Bow pose has many benefits, including stimulating the organs found in the abdomen, stretching the entire front of the body, thighs, and hip flexors, and relieves constipation, mild backaches, fatigue, anxiety, and general menstrual discomfort. This asana will bring you into a backbend that’s in the shape of, you guessed it, an archer’s bow. Start by lying down on your belly and place your hands along your hips. Keep your palms facing up as you stretch your hands backwards to your feet. Grab your ankles. Breathe in and gradually raise your body so your chest and thighs come off the ground. Stable yourself in this position and hold your breath.
Next up is another hip opener. Pigeon pose has many benefits, including stretching your thighs, groin, and pack — all of which are helpful for period pains. For pigeon pose, start in Downward Dog and bring your right leg high towards the sky, coming into a three-legged dog. Bend your right knee and bring it forward to the top of your mat, resting it on the outside of your right hand. Release your left knee to the floor and lay your leg flat on the mat. Keep your toes pointed behind you or tucked under you. Keep your hips square and fold forward over your right leg. Breathe out any tightness that may come up and continue to breathe, deepening the stretch. Return to Downward Dog and repeat on your left side.
This full-body stretch relieves backaches, and menstrual pain, and gives the hip flexors a deep stretch. To begin, kneel on your yoga mat and put your hands on your hips. As you inhale, draw your tail bone in as if you’re being pulled from your belly button. Arch your back and slide your palms over your feet until your arms are straight. Keep your neck in a neutral position, and make sure you don’t strain it. Keep this pose for a couple of breaths before slowly coming back to the initial pose.
Setu Bandha Sarvāṅgāsana
Supported bridge pose relieves headaches, promotes deep relaxation, and reduces heaviness in the abdomen and reproductive system. Begin on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep both your feet firmly planted on the floor and push down into the floor with your feet. Imagine as if your hops were being drawn up toward the ceiling. Keep your knees in line without allowing them to waver from side to side. For added support, you can place a block under your tailbone area — especially if you have intense back pain.
Finally, we have child’s pose. This pose will flex your reproductive organs, all while releasing tension in your back, neck, and shoulders. And the best part is, this pose has just as many calming effects for your mind as it does for your body.
There’s absolutely no pressure to do physical activity while you’re menstruating — sometimes curling up next to a heating pad with a bag of chocolate can be just as healing. However, if you’re in the mood to move your body, we hope the above asanas help.
Let us know in the comments if you try any of these!