Yoga During Periods: 6+ Best Poses & Practices

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Yoga During Periods

Menstruation, a natural part of a woman’s life, comes with its own set of challenges, including cramps, bloating, and emotional fluctuations. During this time, engaging in gentle exercise can be incredibly beneficial. This is where the practice of yoga during menstrual period plays a crucial role.

Yoga, known for its harmonizing effects on the body and mind, offers an ideal form of gentle exercise during periods. It provides not just physical relief from menstrual discomforts but also promotes emotional balance and stress relief. 

In this post, we will learn how incorporating yoga into your routine during menstrual periods can be a soothing and nurturing practice. We’ll discuss the best yoga poses during period, the benefits they offer, and important considerations to keep in mind to ensure a comfortable and beneficial experience. 

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Can We Do Yoga During Periods?

Yes, you can do yoga during menstrual period. 

In fact, certain yoga poses can be beneficial, helping to alleviate symptoms like cramps, bloating, and mood swings. However, it’s important to approach yoga during menstruation with some considerations:

  • Listen to Your Body: The most crucial aspect is to listen to your body. If you feel tired or have severe cramps, it’s okay to skip your practice or opt for gentler yoga poses during period.
  • Gentle Poses: Focus on gentle, restorative poses like forward bends and hip openers. These can help ease menstrual discomfort. Avoid strenuous poses that might be too taxing.
  • Avoid Certain Poses: It’s advised to avoid inversions (like headstands or shoulder stands) during menstruation. The reasoning is that inversions can disturb the natural downward flow during your period.

It’s always a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable yoga instructor or join women’s yoga courses. It is especially important if you have specific health concerns or severe menstrual symptoms. 

Also Read: Yoga for Anxiety.

Benefits of Yoga During Periods

Practicing yoga during menstruation periods offers several benefits including:

  • Alleviates Menstrual Cramps: Certain yoga poses during periods help relax the muscles in the pelvic region, reducing the intensity of menstrual cramps.
  • Reduces Bloating and Digestive Issues: Gentle stretching and twisting poses can aid digestion and reduce bloating, a common issue during menstruation.
  • Boosts Circulation: Yoga improves blood flow, which can help in reducing the discomfort of menstrual symptoms.
  • Eases Fatigue: The restorative nature of some yoga poses can combat the feeling of fatigue that often accompanies menstruation, giving a natural energy boost.
  • Stress Reduction: Yoga involves mindfulness and deep breathing, which are effective in lowering stress levels. This is particularly beneficial during menstruation when hormonal changes can increase stress and anxiety.
  • Enhances Mood: Regular yoga practice during menstruation can help in stabilizing mood swings, promoting a sense of calm and emotional well-being.
  • Improves Focus and Clarity: Engaging in yoga can clear the mind, improve concentration, and provide mental clarity.
  • Regulates Hormones: Yoga can help in balancing hormones, which is crucial during the menstrual cycle when hormonal fluctuations are common.
  • Empowerment and Self-Care: It empowers individuals to actively manage their menstrual health, emphasizing the importance of self-care.

Yoga during menstruation isn’t about pushing the body’s limits; instead, it’s about gentle care and listening to what the body needs. By adapting yoga practices to accommodate the menstrual cycle, you can enjoy these wide-ranging benefits, contributing to a more comfortable and balanced menstrual experience.

Yoga Asanas During Periods (Best Poses)

Following are the best yoga postures during periods:

1. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana, also known as Reclining Bound Angle Pose, is a restorative yoga pose that is excellent for relaxation and can be particularly soothing during menstruation. 

Instructions: 

  • Choose a calm, comfortable space to practice.
  • Have props handy, like yoga blocks, cushions, or a bolster for support.
  • Start by sitting on your yoga mat. If you have tight hips or lower back issues, consider sitting on a folded blanket for added height and support.
  • Lie on your back.
  • Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together, letting your knees fall open to either side, creating a diamond shape with your legs.
  • Place your hands behind you and gently lower yourself onto your elbows, then all the way down onto your back.
  • Adjust your position so that your spine is straight and you feel comfortable.
  • Close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths. Allow yourself to relax with each exhale, letting go of tension in your body, especially around your hips and lower back.
  • Stay in this pose for 5-10 minutes, focusing on your breath and the sensation of opening and relaxing in your lower body.

Benefits: 

This pose gently stretches the inner thighs and groin area, which can help alleviate tension often associated with menstrual cramps. It also encourages a sense of deep relaxation and can help in reducing stress and anxiety.

Modifications: 

To make the pose more comfortable, place yoga blocks or pillows under each knee. A small cushion or folded blanket under the head can support the neck.

2. Balasana (Child’s Pose)

It is one of the best yoga poses to do during periods. It is a grounding forward bend where you fold over your legs.

Instructions: 

  • Start by kneeling on your mat. 
  • Bring your big toes to touch while keeping your knees as wide as your mat or closer together. 
  • Exhale and fold your torso over your thighs, extending your arms forward or letting them rest by your sides. 
  • Rest your forehead on the mat.

Benefits: 

Child’s Pose is a calming posture that helps relieve stress and fatigue. It gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles and can alleviate back and neck pain when done with the head and torso supported.

Modifications

Place a bolster or a pillow between your thighs and calves to make the pose more comfortable. For neck support, use a small cushion under your forehead.

Also Read: Yoga for Bipolar Disorder: 5 Most Effective Yoga Poses That Work

3. Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose)

It is a restorative inversion where you lie on your back with your legs extended vertically up a wall.

 Viparita Karani

Instructions: 

  • Sit with one side of your body against the wall. 
  • Gently turn to lie flat on your back while extending your legs up the wall. 
  • Your buttocks can be right up against the wall or a few inches away, depending on your comfort. 
  • Let your arms rest by your sides or on your abdomen, palms facing up.

Benefits: 

This pose helps in relieving tired leg muscles, reducing lower back tension, and improving circulation. It’s also known for its ability to induce a state of relaxation and can aid in alleviating menstrual cramps.

Modifications: 

For added lower back support, place a folded blanket or a bolster under your hips. If your hamstrings are tight, allow your feet to fall outward slightly or move your buttocks further from the wall.

4. Marjaryasana-Bitilasana (Cat-Cow Pose)

Marjaryasana-Bitilasana, commonly known as the Cat-Cow Pose, is a gentle flowing sequence that is safe and beneficial to practice during menstrual periods.

Instructions: 

Position yourself on a yoga mat or comfortable surface on all fours. Ensure your knees are directly below your hips and your wrists, elbows, and shoulders are in line and perpendicular to the floor.

1. Cow Pose (Bitilasana):

  • Inhale, drop your belly towards the mat.
  • Lift your chin and chest, and gaze upwards.
  • Draw your shoulders away from your ears.
Bitilasana Cow-Pose

2. Cat Pose (Marjaryasana):

  • Exhale, round your spine towards the ceiling.
  • Release your head towards the floor, but don’t force your chin to your chest.
  • Draw your belly towards your spine.
Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)

3. Flow Between Poses:

  • Continue flowing back and forth from Cow Pose on the inhalations to Cat Pose on the exhalations.
  • Move at the pace of your own breath for several cycles.

Remember to perform these movements gently and within the comfort range of your body.

Benefits: 

This flow warms up the body and brings flexibility to the spine. It also massages and stimulates organs in the belly, like the kidneys and adrenal glands, which can help relieve stress and calm menstrual cramps.

Modifications: 

If you have knee discomfort, place a folded blanket under your knees. For wrist discomfort, make fists or place your forearms on the ground.

Also Read: Benefits of Yoga for Mental Health and Physical Health (Main Effects)

5. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, also known as Bridge Pose, is safe to practice during menstrual periods, and offers some benefits. 

Bridge Pose

Instructions:

  • Lie on your back on a yoga mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep your feet hip-width apart and parallel, and place your arms alongside your body with palms facing down.
  • Ensure your heels are close enough to your sit bones that you can graze them with your fingertips.
  • On an exhale, press your feet and arms into the floor and lift your hips up towards the ceiling. Keep your thighs and feet parallel.
  • Roll your shoulders underneath your body and try to clasp your hands together below your pelvis, straightening your arms as much as possible to open up your chest.
  • Keep your knees aligned over your ankles and avoid splaying them outwards.
  • Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, breathing deeply.
  • To come out of the pose, unclasp your hands and slowly lower your hips to the floor on an exhale.

Remember, it’s important to perform this pose within your comfort range and make modifications if needed.

Support with Props: 

If you find it comforting, use a yoga block or bolster under your sacrum for support. This makes the pose more restorative and less intense.

Benefits

Bridge Pose can help alleviate back pain and menstrual discomfort. The gentle inversion aspect of this pose can also be soothing.

6. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

Paschimottanasana, or Seated Forward Bend, is another safe yoga pose during menstrual periods. Your body may require gentler practices, and deep forward bends might feel uncomfortable for some. 

Instructions:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out straight in front of you. Keep your spine erect and toes flexed towards you.
  • Inhale and lift your arms over your head, stretching upward.
  • Exhale and hinge at the hips, bending forward towards your legs. Keep your spine long and your focus on moving forwards rather than down.
  • Extend your arms and try to reach for your feet. If you can’t reach your feet, hold onto your shins or use a yoga strap around your feet.
  • Keep the position, breathing deeply. With each exhale, try to relax a bit more into the pose.
  • Don’t push yourself to bend further than is comfortable, especially during menstruation.
  • Hold the pose for a few breaths, and then release, lifting your torso back up on an inhale.

Also Read: Yoga for PCOD: Healing, Benefits and Yoga Poses for PCOD

Yoga During Menstrual Periods (Holistic Approach)

Apart from yoga poses, other yoga practices, such as meditation and pranayama (breath control techniques) can be highly beneficial during menstrual periods. These practices help alleviate some of the common symptoms associated with menstruation, like stress, mood swings, and cramps. 

1. Meditation

  • Stress Reduction: Meditation can significantly reduce stress and anxiety, which is particularly helpful during periods when emotions can fluctuate.
  • Mindfulness Practice: Mindful meditation helps in staying present and can reduce the perception of pain, such as menstrual cramps.
  • Guided Imagery or Yoga Nidra: These forms of meditation involve visualization or guided relaxation techniques that can be soothing and restorative.

2. Pranayama (Breath Control)

  • Deep Breathing (Diaphragmatic Breathing): This can help manage pain and reduce stress. Deep, slow breathing is known to activate the body’s relaxation response.
  • Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing): This technique is great for balancing emotions and calming the mind.
  • Ujjayi Breath: Known as the “oceanic breath,” Ujjayi can be calming and help in maintaining a rhythm and focus during yoga practice.

3. Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep)

This is a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, like the “going-to-sleep” stage. It’s a state in which the body is completely relaxed, and the practitioner becomes systematically and increasingly aware of the inner world. It’s a powerful relaxation technique for the deep relaxation of the mind and body.

4. Restorative Yoga

Though not as active as other forms of yoga, restorative yoga involves poses that are supported by props and held for longer durations. It’s focused on relaxation and renewal, which can be very beneficial during menstruation.

5. Chanting or Mantra Recitation

Engaging in chanting or reciting mantras can be a meditative practice that helps in calming the mind and reducing emotional stress.

Also Read: The Best 7 Types Of Meditation: Their Meaning and Practice

Yoga Poses to Avoid During Periods

During menstruation, it’s recommended to avoid certain yoga poses, especially those that are very strenuous, invert the body, or apply intense pressure to the abdominal region. Here’s a list of yoga poses that are suggested to avoid during periods:

1. Inversions

  • Sirsasana (Headstand)
  • Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand)
  • Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand)
  • Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

2. Deep Backbends

  • Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose)
  • Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)

3. Intense Twists

  • Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)
  • Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose)

4. Strong Core Work

  • Navasana (Boat Pose)
  • Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)

5. High-Energy Flow Sequences

  • Ashtanga or Power Yoga sequences

6. Extreme Hip Openers

  • Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose)
  • Maha Mudra (Great Seal Pose)

Also Read: Yoga for High Blood Pressure: Key Poses to Reduce high BP

FAQs About Yoga on Periods

1. Is it safe to practice yoga during menstruation?

Yes, it is safe to practice yoga during your menstrual cycle. However, it’s important to listen to your body and avoid intense or strenuous poses. Opt for gentle, restorative poses, and focus on relaxation and breath control.

2. Are there any yoga poses I should avoid during my period?

It’s often recommended to avoid inversions, extremely vigorous poses, and deep backbends during menstruation. These poses can be uncomfortable and may disrupt the natural flow of your cycle. Focus on gentle stretches and relaxing poses instead.

3. Can yoga help with menstrual cramps and discomfort?

Yes, certain yoga poses and practices help alleviate menstrual cramps and discomfort. Gentle stretching, mindful breathing, and relaxation techniques can reduce cramping and promote overall well-being.

4. How long should I practice yoga during my period?

The duration of your yoga during periods can vary based on your comfort level. Even a short practice of 15-20 minutes focusing on gentle poses and breathing exercises can be beneficial.

5. Is meditation beneficial during menstruation?

Absolutely. Meditation is extremely beneficial during menstruation, as it helps in managing stress, balancing emotions, and reducing the perception of pain associated with menstrual cramps.

6. Can pranayama (breath control) help during periods?

Yes, pranayama practices like deep breathing or Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing) can be very helpful. They aid in relaxation, stress relief, and maintaining a balanced energy level.

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Conclusion:

Practicing yoga during periods offers a unique opportunity to honor and respond to your body’s needs. Whether it’s through gentle asanas, soothing pranayama, or calming meditation, yoga provides a holistic approach to ease menstrual discomfort, balance emotions, and maintain well-being. Remember, the key is to listen to your body and adapt your practice accordingly. 

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