I have always suffered from painful cycles. This started when I was a teenager and used to be so bad that I would need to stay home from school some days. I use the traditional methods of relieving them such as warm packs, baths and over the counter menstrual pills, but I have found yoga to also be very useful. Not only am I doing positions that help ease lower back tension, belly cramping and hip opening, but I also find that the act of doing yoga and the quiet breathing that it requires helps me calm the painful bloating I often deal with. Here are some great yoga poses for menstrual relief.
Side Twist Pose
This pose helps with feeling refreshed and helping your lower back. Start by laying flat on your back and bring your knee up and move your hip over to the side. Keep your shoulders pressed flat and one or two arms straight out.
Happy Baby Pose
I modify this one because I carry all my weight in the front so my belly tends to get in the way. I start by laying flat on my back, sometimes with a pillow wedge for ease and comfort like in the picture. Opening my hips, I lean forward and grab my feet. This position helps ease lower back pain.
Wide Leg Pose
I really love this pose for my hips and boating as well as menstrual headaches. This one is pretty easy to do as well. I start by spreading my legs as far apart as I can safely hold them and then lean over grabbing my ankles.
This one is a bit of a challenge for me as I don’t have a lot of flexibility in my back or shoulders, but I fit it great for relieving boating. Start by laying on your stomach flat. Lift your hips so your legs are up or you can simply lift them at the knees like I do. Next, place your hands behind your back and lift them up if possible. Hold this for a few moments and the relax.
Cobra takes the pressure off your lower back and stretches it instead. I find it incredibly restorative during this time of the month. It also can be energizing. Start by laying on your stomach with your feet flat. Using your shoulders, lift your chest/heart and hold it.
This is another way to do something similar to the cobra if you find it too hard to hold. Rather than coming up all the way, simply rest on your arms just like a cat does.
Thunderbolt Pose (with Modification)
Thunderbolt really helps with front pelvic cramping. Start by simply sitting on your knees. This is a thunderbolt pose. I like to add the addition of lifting my arms up and reaching back to stretch my abdominal area.
One last note; I use a wedge pillow or blocks to comfortably get into these positions because I try to be extra gentle with my body during my period. Also, I find with bloating and cramping that I am less flexible. There is absolutely nothing wrong with modifying any and all positions in yoga with tools. I hope these poses help ease some of your monthly woes.
Read more by Christine here.