5 Gentle Yoga Poses To Help Relieve Period Cramps

5 Gentle Yoga Poses To Help Relieve Period Cramps

When Aunt Flo comes to town, the last thing you want to do is move your body. If you regularly experience cramps or achy back on your period, though, a few restorative yoga poses may be the help you’re searching for. Restorative yoga works to, you guessed it, restore and relax the body. It differs from hot yoga or active yoga in that you go through slow, gentle poses that you can mostly do on the floor. In fact, all of the poses in this article take place on the ground!

According to a growing body of research, yoga is an effective way to relieve menstrual cramping and pain. Aside from the pain relief, yoga can also help to improve your mood and relieve stress levels. And the best news of all? You don’t have to work up a sweat to reap the benefits of these yoga poses during your period. The poses are relaxing, so put on some comfy, breathable clothes, grab a small blanket or towel, some pillows, and roll out your mat. 

Supported Child’s Pose

As a forward-folding pose, child’s pose may promote introspection and rejuvenation during times of stress. In this variation, you’ll widen your knees to encourage gentle hip-opening. Plus, you’ll be supported by your pillow or bolster under your chest. 

  • Begin on all fours in a tabletop position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and hips over your knees. 
  • Angle your knees out to the edges of your mat and sit back onto your heels. Place your pillow or bolster longways in front of you, drawing it between your knees. 
  • Take a deep breath and relax your shoulders. On your exhale, lower your chest so that it comes to rest on your pillow/bolster. Don’t worry if your butt isn’t touching your heels. 
  • Contrary to regular child’s pose, this variation calls for you to rest your arms down by your sides, so that your palms are next to your ankles. 
  • Turn your head to the side to rest your ear on the pillow, taking five to 10 deep breaths before returning to the starting position.

Pigeon Pose

This is an excellent pose if you have any tightness in your hips, and it may stir up a lot of sensation during your period. By compressing the hip flexors, you can encourage blood flow there and open up the surrounding muscle groups, which may be tight. 

  • You can enter the pose from downward dog or from a tabletop position. No matter how you begin, bring your left knee toward your left wrist, lowering your hip, shin, and ankle to the ground. 
  • Square your hips to aim both of them forward. If you left hip lifts up, slip a pillow or yoga block underneath for support. 
  • Sit up tall and press your fingertips into the ground, lifting your chest to extend through the crown of your head. Drop your shoulders and fold down over your left shin, placing your hands or forearms under your forehead for support. 
  • If you need extra support, place a pillow between your chest and the ground. Remain here for five to 10 deep breaths before returning to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. 

Seated Head-To-Knee Pose

Yet another forward-folding pose, but this one targets your outer hips, hamstrings, and lower back. All of those areas may require extra attention during your period. The goal of this pose is not to get your head to your knee; rather, focus on the deep sensations in your legs, hips, and back. Breathe through the pose and find a place that feels comfortable. 

  • Begin in a seated position with your legs extended out wide. Bend your right knee and bring your right foot toward your left inner thigh. 
  • Take a deep inhale, lift your chest, and extend through the crown of your head to lengthen your spine. On your exhale, turn to face your left leg and lower your chest toward your knee, hinging at the hips. 
  • Do your best to keep you back straight and grab hold of your leg, ankle, or foot to create a gentle stretch. Place a pillow between your knee and chest if necessary and hold for five to 10 deep breaths.
  • Return to the starting position, take a few breaths, and then repeat on the other side. 

Supine Twist

Twisting postures do indeed twist your spine, but they also encourage blood flow to key areas. This posture helps to release tension in the outer hips, glutes, and thighs, while opening the chest, shoulders, and abdomen as well. 

  • Lie flat on your back with your legs extended. Bend your left leg, reaching to grab the outside of your knee to draw it into your chest. 
  • Take a deep breath in this position. On your exhale, use your right hand to draw your left knee across your body and toward the right side. Make sure that both your shoulders remain on the floor as you do this. 
  • Your knee may or may not touch the ground beside you. You can apply a little pressure to the left knee to create a deeper stretch. Meanwhile, extend your left arm out to the left side and look at your left hand. 
  • Breathe deeply for about 20 seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. 

Reclined Cobbler’s Pose

This pose aims to create an opening through your inner thighs and groin, all the way up through your pelvis. If you want to fully relax your lower back, stack two firm pillows underneath your upper back and lean back onto them. People tend to hunch forward when experiencing cramps, so this pose helps relieve tightness in those areas. 

  • Lie flat on your back, with or without pillows supporting your upper body, and bend your knees so that your feet are planted firmly on the ground near your butt. 
  • Bring the soles of your feet together as you allow your knees to fall out to the sides. Imagine you’re opening a book, but add support under your knees if necessary.
  • Extend your arms out to the sides to create more opening in your shoulders. Breathe deeply into your belly and rib cage for five to 10 deep breaths.

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