Not every woman feels the need to modify her practice during THAT time of the month, but many who do are on the hunt for a miracle cure for their period pain.
Some cramps can be cured or eased with lifestyle changes, including dietary modifications, herbal tonics, and incorporating more movement into your daily life. But there are also specific yoga poses for period pain that can help to relax your muscles (the focus should be on the lower abdomen and the lower back) and give your body some much needed softness and rest.
If you struggle with menstrual pain or are just looking for a relaxed pace and some nurturing movement, these postures can be performed slowly and with ease, giving you plenty of time in each pose to connect with your core and get in touch with your body.
Ten Yoga Poses for Periods
You can pick one pose to focus on each day, or you can use this collection of the ten best yoga poses for periods to create your very own gentle, nurturing flow. Each pose has a number of benefits, along with being specifically indicated to ease menstrual pain.
1. Downward Facing Dog
Inversions are generally discouraged during menstruation, but since it keeps your feet flat on the floor, you can enjoy many of the benefits of being upside down just by sliding into Downward Facing Dog. You’ll notice that most of the yoga poses for periods are done on the floor. Downward Facing Dog gives you a chance to move around a bit and work with your upper body first.
2. Half Moon
The waxing and waning of the moon influences the cycles of blood and the slow moving yin. In addition to easing painful periods, the Half Moon is a balancing pose that eases anxiety and soothes a sore, tired back.
3. Bound Angle Pose
If you are ready to hit the floor by now, move on to Bound Angle pose. Like goddess, this asana opens up the hips, stimulates the groin and abdomen, soothing anxiety and fatigue.
4. Half-Lord of the Fishes
This might be a challenging pose for beginners, so be sure to modify it and adapt it to your own body. Sit up on a blanket or firm pillow and ease into a twist. Along with menstrual pain, this pose relieves fatigue, backaches, neck pain and tightness in the hips. A supportive partner can be a huge help with this one.
5. Reclining Goddess Pose
Keep that blanket around and grab a second for this pose if you are a beginner or have tight hips. You can use a block as well to support the knees. Lay back, open and relax. It might be actually the best yoga pose for periods — this modification of Goddess asana is perfect to open the hips, ease menstrual pain and relax your body, stimulating all the muscles in the groin and organs in the abdomen. It’s also great for relief from stress and mild depression.
(IMPORTANT: Some yoga teachers say — while on your period — you can do anything you want, while others DON’T recommend inversions as you might experience heavier bleeding. The Bridge is a gentle inversion, so just test it on your own — listen to your body and decide yourself.)
A great pose to calm your mood and lift your spirits, the Bridge reduces backache and headache, anxiety and fatigue. But to get the best benefits for relieving menstrual cramps, you should do this pose supported. There are some great blocks out there designed specifically for supporting the back in poses just like this, but a stack of blankets or pillows will work well in a pinch. If possible, have a partner to help you out!
7. Seated Forward Bend
If you have a sore back when you menstruate, go easy on this pose. Use a strap and don’t push yourself hard. Forward bend relieves depression and stress, stimulates and tones the uterus, eases headaches and reduces fatigue. Take a few deep breaths. If you are especially tight in the hamstrings, bring that blanket back for a little lift under your hips.
8. Legs Up the Wall
Perfect both for cramps and PMS, this is another great posture to get parts of you up in the air without going for full inversions. Pull out the pillows, lay back on your mat and relax.
9. Reclining Hero Pose
This is a challenging pose, definitely not for beginners. Only try it if you can easily enter the Hero Pose, sitting comfortably on the floor between your feet while kneeling. Even then, use folded blankets to support your upper body in this version. If you have the flexibility for it, this pose is great for an incredible number of health problems, menstrual cramps being only one of many.
10. Corpse Pose: rest and release
This pose comes at the end of your flow, but if cramps are getting the best of you, sometimes corpse pose is all you need.
When you are struggling with keeping up your daily practice, fighting against that resistance, remember this: If the only pose you do today is corpse pose, that is your practice. Show up to the mat and let your bones sink into the earth.
Just show up.
How you modify your practice as your body changes throughout the month is very personal. Use your yoga practice to look inward and get in touch with what your body really needs. Whether you put together a unique flow of your own yoga poses for your periods, or simply lie down in corpse pose and let yourself be still, do what feels good for your body and your soul.
What else do you do to reduce the pain while on period? Share your wisdom with the Zenward community in the comments below. After all, we’re here to support each other 🙂Click here to join the Zenward community