5 Yoga poses to help alleviate menstrual pain

Updated: Jul 27, 2021

Menstrual pain varies from person to person, but there are a number of yoga poses that may 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.

Thankfully, there are also other less invasive options that you can use to ease the pain associated with your monthly cycle. Yoga is one such tool to do just that.

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.

Child’s pose

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.

To practice:

  • 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.

To practice:

  • 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

Sphinx Pose

Pic credit: Matthew Roberts Photography

Add more subtle pressure to your lower abdomen and pelvis with this gentle backbend.

To practice:

  • 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.

To practice:

  • 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.

To practice:

  • 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.


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