There are some people who rock their Lululemon’s and actually go to yoga. And there are other people who are sporting yoga pants and laying in savasana...in their bed while they watch Netflix. Hey, no judgment. But if you’ve been thinking about doing yoga and lacking the motivation to actually roll out your mat at home or head to a class, you might be interested in this: yoga can actually help ease cramps, headache, anxiety, and other period-related symptoms. If you practice yoga for a long time, these benefits will be even more likely but even doing period yoga for 5 minutes can help even your most stubborn period pains disappear. Different poses have different benefits but we’ve rounded up 7 easy poses that will have you saying “ommmm” and “ahhhh”.
1. Bound Angle Pose - Baddha Konasana
Diarrhea and constipation are par for the course when it comes to periods, thanks to the release of prostaglandins that cause your uterus to contract. Not super fun but, thankfully, bound angle pose can help. Not only does it soothe your digestive system but it can also provide relief from painful menstrual cramps. Oh, and it stimulates your ovaries making it a reproductive health power pose. If you’re feeling fatigued, spend some time in bound angle—it’ll revive your energy, too.
2. Reclined Bound Angle - Supta Baddha Konasana
Period-induced anxiety making you feel a bit cray? You need this pose. Reclined bound angle is similar to bound angle but you’re leaning back instead of forward. And the list of PMS symptoms that this pose helps is extensive—from fatigue and insomnia to anxiety to headaches, your period doesn’t stand a chance against this relaxing post. Since you’re leaning back into the pose, your abdominal muscles relax which can help ease cramping.
3. Child’s Pose - Balasana
Yoga isn’t just about external flexibility. The impact of many poses also benefits your organs, acting as a sort of internal massage. Child’s pose does this by flexing your reproductive organs, as well as releasing tension in your back, shoulders, and neck. If you’re among the masses of uterus owners who feel achy in the muscles and joints during menstruation, you’ll love this simple pose. Stay in it as long as you want—the calming effects it has on your mind are just as beneficial as the relaxation your body will feel.
4. Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend - Upavistha Konasana
Speaking of mind-calming poses, wide angle seated forward bend (that’s a mouthful) is where it’s at. On your period or not, stretch into this pose when the stress of life is getting to you. Like with every other pose, the benefits aren’t singular. This forward bend helps to stimulate your abdominal organs, leading to less painful cramps (both in the short and long-term).
5. Reclining Twist - Bharadvaja
One of the most popular poses for dealing with menstrual pain is the reclining twist. Why? Because it feels good and has massive health benefits. For starters, your back and hips will get a great stretch (much-needed if you’re dealing with aches and pains from your period). But your digestive organs are getting just as much stimulation due to the fresh blood flow from this pose. Win-win!
6. Inverted leg pose - Viparita Karani
Physical, mental, and emotional benefits abound in this pose. Like with many of the other poses we’ve talked about, inverted leg pose improves circulation and digestion, lowers blood pressure, boosts energy levels, and soothes the nervous system. It’s also said to increase creative thinking and problem solving (super helpful if you’re in the stage of menstruation where you feel like you can’t focus!). Emotionally, inverted leg pose can help you keep your chill, even in the midst of angsty mood swings.
6. Head to Knee Forward Bend - Janu Sirsasana
Another forward bend? Yes. And for good reason. The stimulating effect that forward bends have on the abdominal and reproductive muscles are unparalleled. The head to knee forward bend is another pose that can be modified to your experience level. No matter how you modify it, head to knee forward bend supports your reproductive and digestive system, relieves anxiety, fatigue, headaches, menstrual cramps, and can even help soothe mild depression.
Even if you just can’t bring yourself to head to a yoga class, doing one, some, or all of these yoga poses at home will help you to manage your period pains. Because let’s be real—soothing your cramps and headaches with sugary snacks and Netflix binges is only a temporary fix. Practicing yoga for even a few minutes a day will help you feel better, longer.