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Do These 6 Yoga Poses for a Healthier, Happier Period

Michelle Stanger
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Whether you are on a contraceptive or not, your period will make an appearance at some point. We all have a different monthly cycle with different symptoms and experiences. Much of these depend on our current lifestyle and habits. But even if we all have different cycles, we can all agree that having a healthier period makes things much easier.
 
Can we also agree that menstruating is not a taboo subject and we no longer have to keep it to ourselves? Your period and all that comes with it makes you much more powerful than you know. It makes you a woman. Sure our face breaks out, we cry over dirty dishes and the cramps can keep you on the couch the whole day – but it doesn’t have to be that way.
 

Once we are able to embrace this part of being a woman and actually celebrate the changes our bodies go through, we can meet these symptoms with understanding and acceptance.

 
So how can yoga help us have a healthier period? It allows us to become connected with our body and our womanhood. The more in-tune you are with your body, the more you know what it needs.
 
You may have heard different opinions regarding practicing yoga during menstruation. I do not feel we should sit in the corner while we dread, curse and loathe the week we are menstruating. But as a yoga teacher, I do feel we need to acknowledge this time and modify our yoga practice accordingly. Looking to a more restorative practice is what the body needs most when you’re on your period, and slowing down allows you to tap into what is going on emotionally and physically.
 
Many instructors advise skipping inversions while menstruating, and I agree. Think about it – you are doing the exact opposite of what the body is trying to accomplish when you go upside-down! It is also recommended that you avoid intense twisting as this can put too much stress on the reproductive organs. So again, let’s focus on a more slow and therapeutic practice.
 

Here are 6 yoga poses you can practice during menstruation for a healthier, happier period:

 

Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

This posture has a great calming effect in our daily yoga practice, and the same applies while menstruating. To invite even more of a restorative pose, I suggest you practice with a bolster or a couple of pillows. This will release pressure on the pelvic area and any weight on the uterus, and also help alleviate cramps.
 
Reclined-Bound-Angle-Pose
 
How to get into this pose:

  • Have a seat at the top of your mat and bring your bolster or pillow longways at the center of your low back (with the shorter end of the bolster close to your sacrum).
  • Bring the soles of your feet together and knees out wide to form your bound angle pose. Feel free to place blocks or pillows under your knees to allow the hips to slowly open without any added tension.
  • Sit up tall and slowly lower onto your bolster or pillow. Your arms can fall down by your side or propped on blocks or pillows. Allow your eyes to close and your breath to deepen and become smooth.
  • Stay here as long as you would like – I recommend at least 10 full, deep breaths. Remember you are here to restore and connect to your body.
  • To make your way out of this pose, bring your knees back together using your hands and gently roll off the bolster onto your side. Stay here for a breath or two before coming back to seated.

 
 

2. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

This is another great way to find pelvic release and to help rid muscle tension and cramps. Child’s pose will invite not only menstrual relief but stress relief as well. The option to use a bolster or pillow for this pose is again recommended. I find hugging the bolster adds a little extra comfort and relaxation in this variation (think of your favorite stuffed animal back in the day).
 
Childs-Pose-bolster
 
How to get into this pose:

  • Begin kneeling on your mat with big toes touching and your knees spread wide. Feel free to play with your knee width depending upon how open your hips are that day.
  • Bring the bolster or pillow longways again in between your legs. If you have another bolster or pillow handy, place it underneath the first bolster to prop it up.
  • Slowly lower your chest and a cheek to the bolster. Take another inhale as you wrap your arms around the bolster or pillow, then exhale fully and allow your eyes to close.
  • Remain here as long as you like – try for several minutes. Be sure to switch cheeks about half way through (or when you remember). When you are breathing in this pose, try to focus on releasing any abdominal pressure and allow your vaginal muscles to completely relax.
  • Make your way out of the pose by bringing your chin to the bolster and releasing the hands to the earth. Slowly press yourself back into a seated position and take a few breaths before moving on.

 
 

3. Head to Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana)

This is a great calming posture with the added benefit of reducing anxiety and irritability. We use our bolsters and pillows again (so if you’re considering investing in a bolster, the answer is yes! We recommend this one from Hugger Mugger).
 
If you have tight hamstrings or want some added comfort, you can place a folded blanket under your hips for support, but do not lift your hips too much. Note: Avoid this pose if you are bleeding heavily or experiencing diarrhea since this pose exercises the digestive and reproductive organs.
 
Head-to-Knee-Pose
 
How to get into this pose:

  • Seated at the back of your mat, extend the right leg straight and bring your left foot inside your right thigh.
  • Place the bolster on top of your right shinbone longways so the shorter ends are parallel with the side of your mat.
  • Inhale to sit up tall and keep the spine extended as you exhale your forehead to the bolster. Allow your arms to rest comfortably on the bolster and your head to get heavy.
  • You can shift the bolster onto its taller side or add a block or pillow on top of the bolster if your forehead doesn’t reach the bolster.
  • Rest here for a few minutes, truly allowing yourself to rest. Use your breath to help relax your body and release any tension.
  • When you are ready to release, place your hands on the mat, and gently rise back to center and switch sides.

 

 

4. Wide-Legged Seated Forward Fold (Upavistha Konasana II)

Although this pose may not seem like a calming pose at first, we yogis like to find ways to make that happen. You guessed it, bolster time! This pose will help to regulate the menstrual flow and stimulate the ovaries to function optimally.
 
wide-legged-foward-fold
 
How to get into this pose:

  • Begin seated with your legs spread wide and your bolster or pillow longways in front of your hips.
  • Place your hands behind your hips and gently press them into the floor, inviting your chest to lift and your spine to lengthen. Remain here for a few breaths.
  • Then inhale and reach your arms overhead and exhale as you gently bend forward until your forehead rests on the bolster. Your arms can then fold over the bolster as well.
  • Invite your deep inhales and exhales for a few minutes to allow all of your muscles to completely let go. And again, bring more awareness to your abdomen, pelvis and vaginal muscles to relax.

 
 
 

5. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Incorporating a gentle heart opener in this restorative variation is a great way to combat depression, anxiety and irritability. To make this a restorative backbend, we move to our bolsters and pillows again, which allows our muscles to be completely supported and relaxed.
 
supported-Bridge-pose-period
 
How to get into this pose:

  • Place your bolster or pillow vertically on the center of your mat and sit on one end of the bolster.
  • Begin to lie down on your bolster, allowing your upper back to hang off of the bolster and your shoulders and head to gently rest on the floor.
  • Straighten your legs and feel free to place an additional pillow under your feet.
  • Arms are relaxed by your side and eyes are closed.
  • Deepen your breath and allow the feeling of heaviness within the body to take over. Remain here for a few minutes.
  • To come out of this pose, bring the knees closer toward the chest and gently roll off the bolster. Allow the body to rest for several breaths before pressing back up into a seated position.

 
 

6. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Our final pose of our practice, and one not to be missed! Along with many benefits, taking Savasana on your period gives you the opportunity to relax the abdominal and vaginal muscles as well as relieve cramps while bringing a sense of wellness and restoration to the entire mind and body.
 
corpse-pose-period
 
How to get into this pose:

  • Lie on your back, legs extended long and your hands resting, palms facing up, by your sides. Take up as much space as you would like. Option to place a bolster under your knees for added comfort and restoration.
  • Allow your breathing to become smooth and relaxed as you bring your awareness to your feet.
  • On your exhale, allow your feet to completely relax. Next, inhale and bring your awareness to your calves. Exhale and allow them to completely relax.
  • Continue this pattern throughout the entire body, giving yourself plenty of time for the rest and healing you deserve.
  • Remain here for at least 5-10 minutes. When you feel complete, gently roll to a fetal position on your right side as you gently awaken the body and mind.

The female body is truly a beautiful and miraculous temple. It can transform and create life, and should therefore be given extra appreciation and love. As a woman, you are entitled to honor your body at any and all stages. And you are absolutely worth the time to allow your body to rest and restore. Take time for yourself, and use these poses to connect and grow to love your amazing body.
 
We would love to hear how this restorative practice has helped you while menstruating. Do you feel any relief physically or mentally? Please leave us your experiences or thoughts in the comments below.

 
This article and all included information is not intended as medical advice and does not treat or diagnose. Please consult your doctor for any health-related questions or concerns.
 

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Michelle Stanger

Michelle is living the yoga mom life and loving every second. She believes all beings deserve joy, peace and love and aims to be an example. Forever grateful for her yoga practice, she is honored to be able to share as a yoga teacher and Editor here at YogiApproved.com.

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