Practicing yoga has tons of proven benefits to your overall health, including promoting flexibility and mobility, stress relief, weight loss, mental health, and healthy sleep.
When it comes to promoting a healthy menstrual cycle, yoga has been proven to be a big help in a number of ways. Using yoga to help promote period health and help manage some of the symptoms associated with menstruation is a natural, relaxing way to find relief and balance.
How Does Yoga Help Your Period?
Every person who menstruates has a different experience with their period. While it’s not always a nightmare, lots of folks associate less-than-ideal symptoms. These can include period cramps, headaches, fatigue, tight or sore muscles, lower back pain, and bloating to name a few.
Yoga practice can help relieve the discomfort (or at least some of it) caused by many of these symptoms. It helps by incorporating deep breathing, stretching, and mindfulness to improve blood circulation, increase energy, and — like most exercises — be a major boost to your mood.
The 5 Best Yoga Poses For Relieving Period Pain
These are some of the best gentle yoga poses you can do anywhere to relieve unwanted symptoms of menstruation and PMS symptoms
1. Cat-Cow Pose: Chakravakasana
Cat-cow pose stretches the muscles in your lower back and releases tension in your tailbone, neck, and shoulder. It stretches your belly muscles and helps reduce menstrual cramps, and also increases flexibility and strengthens your spine!
- Starting on your knees and with them directly below your hips, place your hands on the yoga mat in front of you shoulder-width apart.
- Inhale deeply as you make a curve with your back, raising your pelvis and your head like a cow.
- Exhale and bring your head and hips down as you arch your spine in the opposite direction into cat pose. Repeat these steps several times, remembering to inhale and exhale.
2. Bound Angle Pose: Baddha Konasana
This pose helps to open the hips and stretch your pelvis region. It’s great for helping to relieve symptoms like stomach cramps and bloating by stretching the muscles and increasing circulation. It can also be helpful in reducing lower back pain.
- Sit with your knees bent and your feet together, flat on the floor.
- Pull your heels back toward your pelvis and let you knees fall to the sides naturally without pushing them down
- Face and press together the soles of your feet
- Sit up with your spine straight and raise your chest and chin as you stretch, inhaling and exhaling naturally
3. Child’s Pose: Balasana
Child’s pose is a gentle position that doesn’t demand a lot from your body, which may already be feeling tired and drained during your menstrual cycle. It’s a great pose for beginners, too. This pose is actually beneficial to your body both internally and externally, stretching your abdominal muscles and flexing reproductive organs to improve circulation.
- Begin by kneeling with your knees beneath your hips, slightly separated, and your feet together behind you.
- Rest your hands on your thighs and bend forward, exhaling as you lower yourself forward between your knees.Rest your forehead on the mat in front of you, keeping your hands behind your back and letting your shoulders relax. Rest in this position or repeat as you wish.
4. Knees-to-Chest Pose: Eka Pada Apanasana & Apanasana
Knees-to-chest is one of the best low-impact poses to relieve menstrual pain. It relieves tension in your core by easing strain on your lower back. This pose is said to help increase circulation and reduce bloating by relieving stiffness in your abdominal muscles.
- Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent, and your feet and arms flat on the floor.
- Bring your right knee to your chest as you inhale, keeping your left leg flat.
- Keep your back pressed into the floor as you hold your right leg to your chest for 15-20 seconds.
- Return your right leg to the flat, resting position as you exhale. Raise your left knee to your chest, repeating breathing and holding the pose for the same amount of time.
- Do this pose with both knees to your chest for Apanasana.
5. Corpse Pose: Savasana
Corpse pose or Savasana is a relaxing pose that makes a great ending to your yoga session. It benefits your body simply by resting, relaxing, and reflecting as you breathe deep. It’s been said to help deactivate stress responses and help lower or regulate blood pressure.
- Lie on your back and separate your legs, letting them fall open naturally
- Bring your arms to your sides with your palms face up, slightly separated from your torso
- Let your breathing happen naturally, and use it to focus if your mind wanders
- After 5-10 minutes, bring your knees to your chest and put your arms around them, gently letting yourself roll to the side and rest in the fetal position for a few breaths
- When you’re ready, roll back onto your back and use your hands to ease yourself into a sitting position
The positive impact of yoga on overall health has been proven time and time again. The benefits to physical and mental health are just as important as the wellbeing it supports. Many folks who menstruate have found relief from or reduced period pain by including yoga in their routine, as well as relief for those who experience heavy periods. Whether you practice every day or on an as-needed basis, yoga is totally worth a try to improve your menstrual health and overall wellness.