During this time of the month, our practice often changes. For me, I feel physically drained during this time and I have to slow my yoga practice right down. I get bad cramps, mood swings and lethargy and don’t feel like doing anything at all- especially yoga! In this article I will share with you 5 yoga poses for period pain.
Practicing yoga during this time can really help with all of these symptoms, and in recent months I have been making the effort to keep practicing yoga during my period.
Here is a nice mellow sequence that I like to practice during menstruation, which is particularly helpful to ease period pain.
Yoga for Period Pain
1) Supta Baddha Konasana- Supine Butterfly Pose
I like to start with this pose. It really looses up the whole hip and groin area, keeps the belly nice and soft and helps to ground me into the practice.
Stay here for a few minutes, with closed eyes and with your awareness in the abdominal area.
You can even place your hands on your belly and feel the rise and fall of your breath, allowing it to become slower and deeper.
2) Supta Padangusthasana – Reclining big toe pose
After Supta Baddha Konasana, bring the knees together and slowly straighten your right leg towards the sky.
You can keep your left leg bent with the foot on the ground if your hamstrings are feeling quite tight (as I show below), or straighten it onto the ground.
You can use a belt if you cannot reach your big toe with ease (like me!)
Stay here for a couple of minutes and repeat on the other side.
3) Sucirandrasana – Eye of the Needle pose
Bend both knees again and place the feet on the floor. Draw your right knee in towards the chest and take the knee out to the right side slightly, crossing the right ankle over the left thigh.
If this feels like enough of a stretch in the hips for you, stay here.
If you would like to take the pose further, draw the left knee in towards the chest, stretching the outer edge of the right hip. Try tp keep your upper body and head down on the mat.
Stay here for a minute or so. Focus on releasing tension in the hip area and breathe slowly and deeply.
4) Baddha Konasana – Butterfly Pose
Place both feet down onto the mat again, and roll onto your right side. Slowly push yourself up to a seated position.
We will now do the seated variation of the first posture.
Bring the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to fall out to the sides.
Adjust the distance between your heels and your hips so that it suits you. We don’t want the stretch to be too intense as we are staying here for a few minutes.
If you can, slowly fold your upper body over your legs, chest towards your feet.
Stay here for a few minutes.
For more information about this pose, click here.
5) Viparita Karani- Legs up the wall pose
We will finish the sequence in relaxation with legs up against the wall.
Bring your mat to the nearest wall. Sit side on, with your right hip touching the the wall and slowly slide down on to your mat, turning your hips so that your bum is against the wall and your legs are up against it.
Shuffle around a little to make yourself comfortable.
Close your eyes and stay here for at least five minutes.
When you are ready to come out of the pose, slowly bend your legs and roll onto your side. Gently push yourself up to a seated position.
Poses to avoid during menstruation
It’s really up to you what asanas you practice during menstruation, but it is advised in a lot of yoga literature not to practice inversions during this time. The reason being, it goes against the downward flow of energy through the body during this time. Yoga is all about assisting the body, and turning upside down during this time would go against the natural energy flow.
This sequence works wonders for me, but perhaps you still have heaps of energy and feel you can still do your usual practice. In which case, go ahead! As long as you are doing what feels right for you, its the right thing.
If the pains have still not eased try the following natural pain relievers-
– Hot water bottle on your belly. It will warm up the whole area and ease muscular cramping
– Abdominal oil massage. I like to rub oil on my belly, making downwards strokes to aid the downward flow.
– Drink a lot of water.
– Supplements can help. Take evening primrose oil every day throughout the month, and add Maca powder to your diet (a great addition to hot chocolate and smoothies) Both help maintain women’s hormonal balance.
– Move around. Staying still and curled up into a ball isn’t going to help. Walk around a bit to try and get things moving.
I hope you feel better soon ; )