8 YOGA POSES TO RELIEVE PERIOD PAIN

Jun 15, 2022
yoga for period pain

Each of our experiences of menstruation may be vastly different.
For some, we flow through this phase without pain or discomfort. For others, this time of the month can be debilitating and leave you feeling like getting out of bed is not even close to an option. I’ve personally experienced both.

Even if you’re not someone who experiences pain, slowing down and connecting to your womb during this phase can lead to a deeper connection to both the self and the natural world. We are cyclical beings. Slowing down during this phase honours that. 

Gentle restorative yoga is a beautiful and accessible way to stay connected to your practice and also to your body as you bleed. 

The following sequence is a series of shapes that I have found helpful during menstruation; to relieve pain, stretch my body and feel as though I’m still consistently dedicated to my practice without over-exerting or risking injury. 

You can use props if you have them. Pillows from your bed will work well. You may even choose to practice these shapes from the comfort of your bed. 

I’m not a big believer in binaries, therefore, to me, there’s no right or wrong way to practice restorative yoga. Ideally, your joints are supported and your body can relax. If sleep comes, allow it.

You may prefer to practice in silence; you may prefer to have some gentle music playing; alternatively, you can practice this free guided meditation to relieve cramps. 

You may choose to practice any or all of these shapes.

This practice is yours. Menstruation is a time of deep listening. Be gentle with yourself.

 
 

1. BADDHA KONASANA - BOUND ANGLE POSE

Come seated. Soles of your feet together, allow your knees to open wide. You may choose to stay upright, feeling your inner thighs soften and open, or you may fold forward, supporting your head with your hands or a cushion/block.

Take at least 10 deep breaths here. You can stay up to five minutes.

 

 

2. UPAVISTA KONASANA - WIDE LEG FORWARD FOLD

Come seated, this time taking your legs out wide.
Relax your legs and allow your feet to roll in or out, whichever feels most comfortable for you.

You may choose to stay upright or if you prefer, you may fold forward, perhaps rounding the spine and supporting your head.

Take at least 10 deep breaths here. You can stay up to five minutes.

 

 

 

3. SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA - RECLINED BOUND ANGLE POSE

Similar to baddha konasana in the lower body, this shape is practice reclined either onto a cushion/bolster or you may lay all the way onto your back. Breathe deeply.


I personally prefer some support beneath my spine as it eases the compression in my low back which is often associated with menstrual cramps for me. You can also roll a towel or blanket into a long thin roll and use it to cover your feet and support your outer thighs.

You can stay in this shape for as long as you feel supported. About 10 minutes is usually nice for me.

 
 

 

4. BALASANA - CHILD'S POSE (ON A CUSHION OR BOLSTER)

Childs pose is a wonderful shape for relaxing the body and softening the low back. I love to practice this with my tummy resting on a bolster (you can use one or two cushions from your bed) so that there’s a very gentle compression on my low belly, relieving menstrual cramps and widening the low back area.

Stay as long as feels good.

 

 

5. KAPOTASANA - PIGEON POSE FOLDING FORWARD

From all fours, bring one shin forward and down onto the mat. Depending on your body’s ability for external rotation in your hips, you may have your shin on a downward angle, or you may have your shin closer to parallel with the top edge of your mat. Neither is right or wrong.

You can also use a cushion or bolster to rest your upper body on as I have in this image.

Choose a shape that allows you to relax. Your back leg is extending back behind you. Stay for at least 10 breaths each side, taking a few breaths in child’s pose before moving to the second side.

 

 

6. SUPPORTED SETU BANDASANA - SUPPORTED BRIDGE POSE

Begin laying down, bend your knees so your heel bones rest roughly below your knees. Press into your feet and lift your hips up, sliding a bolster, cushion or block beneath your sacrum (the flat bone where you spine meets your pelvis). Rest the weight of our pelvis onto the support of your prop and allow your pelvic floor to soften.

Deep breaths right down into your low belly. Stay for as long as feels good - I like to be here for at least five minutes. From here, you can move into the next shape with ease.

 

 

7. VIPARITA KARANI - LEGS UP THE WALL POSE

Begin in supported bridge, then when you’re ready, gently lift one leg at a time up into the air. See if you can find a place where your legs feel almost weightless and your thigh bones can soften back into your hip socket.
This is a very gentle inversion.

If you prefer, you can practice this shape without a prop beneath your sacrum. You can also choose the practice this shape against a wall where your legs can lean. Choose what feels most easeful and accessible to you. Again, there’s no right or wrong here.

 

 

8. SAVASANA - CORPSE POSE (WITH BOLSTER UNDER KNEES)

This shape, traditionally, is practiced laying on your back with no props, however for this phase of your cycle, it may feel really supportive to have a bolster or cushion under your knees to release tension in your low back and allow your belly to be soft.
Stay for at least five minutes. 

 
 

Menstruation is a time of deep listening. We are more connected to our inner teacher than any other phase of our cycle. I would encourage you to gather props (any soft furnishings will do) so you can drop into a feeling of safety and support and truly allow your mind and body to relax.

If you would like to learn more about your menstrual cycle, each phase and how to adjust your yoga, self-care and practices to align with your internal seasons, you may like to check out ORBITAE.

Love,

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