Yoga practice is well known to calm, center and strengthen both body and mind. So when it comes to menstruation, practising yoga can offer enormous benefits to balance your mood and ease menstrual cramps. You may not always feel like rushing to take part in physical activity on your time of the month, but exercise can really help with period pain. Yoga especially has been tried and tested to be beneficial for muscles and mentality. Here are some of the most effective yoga positions to do during your period.
We have carefully chosen poses that are not too strenuous so should work for all ability levels. These poses will help you relax, and are perfect to try if you aren’t able to find time for a full practise or yoga class. Try them the next time you have your period and let us know how helpful you found it.
Downward Facing Dog
A classic pose amongst yogis, the downward facing dog has many many benefits – it strengthens and stretches, as well as calms your mind. Downward dog also helps to relieve menstrual pain. Stand on your hands and knees and lift your knees on the exhale. Lift your hip towards the sky and stretch your heels and shoulders (don’t worry if your heels don’t touch the floor). Stay in this position for several full breaths and let your cramping tummy relax, focussing on deep breaths (and not falling over). Downward dog is a great pose during yoga, but don’t worry if it feels quite intense to begin with! Practise will soon help. It is easy to move into this position as part of the sun salutation if you have slightly longer time to practise, and is great in the morning to set you up for the day.
The Child’s Pose
The child’s pose is a nice resting pose that can follow the downward facing dog. It relaxes and helps especially with lower back pain. Kneel on the floor so that your big toes touch, with your knees widened and sit your bum on your heels. Exhale deeply and lay down your torso, with your arms stretched in front. Rest your forehead on the ground so it stretches your neck and stay in this position. This pose does not require much strength and can easily be done in between a busy routine or for few minutes between Netflix episodes. Remember to breathe deeply and relax into the pose.
The Camel is slightly more demanding, this is an effective cramp-relieving stretching pose which engages the lower stomach and pelvic muscles. The pose also works to reduce anxiety and re-energise. Kneel on the floor with your knees hip wide, lean back and try to reach your feet (don’t worry, if you cannot reach them at first – just start with your palms on your lower back, fingers towards your bum, and work your way down over time). Inhale and lift your chest, leaning against your shoulder blades. If you want you can carefully drop your head and stay in this position for up to one minute. After this you can go back to the child’s pose to counteract the intense back bend.
The bow is another back-bend position that can help with period pain. It stimulates the reproductive organs and gives you a good stretch whilst strengthening your back. Lie on your belly and bend your knees so you can reach your ankles, whilst keeping the knees no more than hip-width apart. If you can’t reach them, you can use a strap and ensure you keep your arms straight. On the inhale lift your thighs and chest, paying attention to lifting them the same height to stay level. Remember to keep breathing (it’s easy to forget when concentrating) and stay in this position for up to 30 seconds before you slowly release and exhale. This is an energising pose, and can be good boost during the day if you are feeling lethargic or uncomfortable at work or home.
The Reclined Goddess
Aah, The Reclined Goddess, perfect for what you are getting calm and comfortable ready for bed. A relaxing favourite amongst the Natracare team, this is a restorative pose which opens the groin and stimulates your ovaries. It can easily be done in bed, and even better with a hot water bottle on your belly. Lying on your back, angle your knees and put your feet together, knees falling to either side. Place your arms next to your body, palms facing upwards and breathe. You can stay like this from anything to 1 minute to 10. It is important to be comfortable so support your head from underneath if needed, and don’t force your knees towards the floor. This way you can relax your body and soul like the menstruating goddess you truly are.
We hope these few simple poses can help you find relief and let you get through shark week just more comfortably. If any pose gives you discomfort or doesn’t quite feel right, stop and if in any doubt ask a yoga instructor. Yoga especially is beneficial for relaxing your muscles and helping calm your thoughts. All sorts of exercise and movement can really help with period pain. Let us know if you have any preferred poses specifically to help during the various stages of your menstrual cycle.
For more Yoga tips visit: https://www.positivehealthwellness.com/fitness/everything-need-know-yoga