Menstrual pain varies from person to person, but there are a number of yoga poses that can help.
Painful cramps can be truly debilitating and can affect everything in your daily life from things as simple as taking a shower to having the energy to go to work. Many resort to pain medications, hormonal therapy, and other treatment plans to help relieve the torturous sensations and feelings that show up like clockwork every month.
5 yoga poses to help alleviate menstrual pain
There are many yoga poses that can help you manage and cope with cramps. The following are a select few that are simple and accessible, helping you to find relief.
When dealing with painful menstrual cramps, many women actually find comfort from gentle pressure against their reproductive organs. Child’s pose applies just the right amount of pressure to help mask and soothe cramps.
Start on all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked over your knees
Lean your weight back and release your seat to rest on your heels. You may also wish to place a prop (such as a bolster, pillow, or blanket) between your seat and your heels to support your weight
Soften the weight of your torso and abdomen forward over your thighs. Again, you may wish to place a prop (such as a bolster, pillow, or blanket) between your torso and your thighs to support your weight
You can bring your knees closer together or draw them farther apart from each other—find the position that feels the most comfortable for you
Soften your forehead to either a prop or the floor
Either stretch your arms forward in front of you or release them down by your sides
Melt your body weight toward the floor and surrender your musculature—particularly in the places where you feel cramp pain
Soften into this shape and breathe deeply for a few minutes
Reclined bound angle pose
This gentle shape encourages space within your hips while relaxing and soothing your nervous system.
Start lying down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor
Draw the soles of your feet to touch and open your knees out wide to release them onto props (like blocks, blankets, or pillows) or the floor
Either move your feet closer toward your pelvis or farther away—find the positioning that feels best in your body
Soften your body weight toward the floor and rest your hands or a prop (like a heavy blanket) over your pelvis for some added weight for grounding, warmth, and gentle pressure
Close your eyes and soften your breath as you surrender into this shape for a few minutes
When you're ready to release the pose, use your hands to support your thighs to draw your legs back together
Add more subtle pressure to your lower abdomen and pelvis with this gentle backbend.
Start lying on your belly with your feet roughly hip-distance apart
Rise up onto your forearms and align your elbows roughly underneath your shoulders with your forearms roughly parallel to each other
Broaden your chest and expand your heart forward between your arms
If you’d like, you can slide a bolster or pillow underneath your chest to relax further into the shape. You may also wish to relax your neck and release your forehead onto a block or pillow
Release the weight of your lower abdomen and pelvis into the floor
Soften your body and breathe deeply here for a few minutes
Legs up the wall
This very gentle inversion helps to relieve any lower back pain that your cramps may be causing.
Sit down next to some open wall space with your right hip against the wall and your legs forward in front of you
Place your hands behind your seat and lean your weight back into your arms
Swing your legs toward the right and up the wall as you simultaneously pivot your torso toward the left to release down toward the floor
Scoot your seat as close to the wall as you comfortably can. You may wish to slide a bolster, blanket, or pillow underneath your seat or over your pelvis for extra comfort, warmth, and/or pressure
Close your eyes and surrender into the shape as you deepen your breath for a few minutes
Corpse pose with meditation
While menstrual cramps are not in your head, pain can very much be affected by our mental state. Meditation has been shown to be an extremely powerful tool to help alleviate and reduce pain signals in our brains. So practicing meditation in a relaxing shape may be helpful for you to alleviate your menstrual pain.
Lie down on your back with your legs extended forward in front of you
Walk your feet out wide and allow your toes to turn out and your heels to turn in to completely relax your legs
Soften your arms by your sides or rest them over your pelvis
Close your eyes and draw your awareness to your breath
Elongate your inhales and elongate your exhales
Focus on creating a smooth, steady, and lengthened breath
Visualise any pain leaving your body with every exhale
Visualise drawing in health and wellness with every inhale
Continue with this visualisation and this elongation of your breath for a few minutes
For some women, periods can be unbearably painful. But there are tools available to you to help soothe your body and your mind. While these yoga poses may not be enough to completely rid you of all period pain, they may help you from time to time.
About Leah Sugerman
Leah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer, and passionate world traveler. An eternally grateful student, she writes about and teaches a fusion of the styles she has studied with a strong emphasis on finding the balance between strength and surrender. Leah teaches workshops, retreats, and trainings both online and internationally. Connect with Leah and follow her teachings and travels on Instagram, Facebook, and LeahSugerman.com.