Cramps Begone! 6 Yoga Poses for Your Period

While the basics of menstruation are something all women have in common, each woman experiences her period differently. Though most would agree that it's not the most enjoyable time of each month, responses vary from feeling appreciative of one's fertility, to getting annoyed, to being curled up in pain, to not really caring. If you are trying to get pregnant, a period means disappointment. If you are trying to avoid getting pregnant, a period means relief.

Many societies, including the Brahmins in India, have segregated menstruating women and encouraged them rest during this time. When women began doing yoga, they were likewise told to refrain from practice while menstruating. Ashtanga yoga suggests a "ladies' holiday" of one to three days. Most contemporary yoga methods acknowledge each woman's right to make a choice for herself about what kind of practice to do, including whether to practice inversions. The following poses are intended for a restorative home practice and can help alleviate cramps. If you'd rather cuddle up with some Motrin and a heating pad during your period, that can be considered your yoga too.

Cobbler's Pose - Baddha Konasana

Baddha Konasana for Period Cramps
Cobbler's Pose - Baddha Konasana. pkline/E+/Getty Images

Since the lower half of the body often feels heavy during menstruation, seated poses will be our focus. You may stay in each pose for up to several minutes, as is common in restorative classes. Baddha konasana opens the pelvic region. For a more restorative version, come into a forward bend using a bolster or several folded blankets to support your torso so you can relax more.

More »

Head to Knee Pose - Janu Sirsasana

Janu Sirsasana for Period Cramps
Janu Sirsasana. Ann Pizer

Extend your right leg and place the sole of your left foot on your right inner thigh. Center your torso over the right leg and fold forward. Come back through baddha konasana to set up for the other side.

More »

Seated Straddle - Upavistha Konasana

Upavistha Konasana for Period Cramps
Seated Wide Legged Straddle - Upavistha Konasana. Ann Pizer

Open both your legs wide into upavistha konasana. Again, a supported forward fold with a bolster or blankets is a great option.

More »

Seated Forward Bend - Paschimottanasana

Paschimottanasana for Period Cramps
Seated Forward Bend - Paschimottanasana. Ann Pizer

Bring both leg outstretched for a forward bend. Lengthen the spine in a seated position before coming forward. Imagine the pelvis as a bowl that is tipping forward as you come down. 

More »

Supported Bride Pose

yoga bridge pose
Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

Lie down on your back. Press into your feet to lift the hips slightly and slide a yoga block under them for support. This very gentle backbend can help relieve back pain associated with menstruation. To come out, press into the feet to lift the hips again and slide the block out.

More »

Goddess Pose - Supta Baddha Konasana

Goddess Pose - Supta Baddha Konasana. © Barry Stone

Stay in a reclined position with your knees bent. Release your knees out to the sides and down to your mat. Bring the soles of your feet together for goddess pose (which you may notice is a reclined version of cobbler's pose, back where we started). Placing a bolster under the length of your spine can feel great here.

More »

Continue Reading