Yoga for period pain: 7 poses to 'ohmmm' your cramps away
It’s too easy to curl up in a ball on the sofa and reach for the painkillers when you have those killer cramps. But actually, a little movement can stimulate blood flow and really help ease the pain. Some gentle yoga is great for when you have a painful period. It releases endorphins which can act as your body’s natural painkillers, and the action of compressing and stretching certain areas around your uterus will help relax the muscles which are cramping. And you don’t even have to go full yogi with your lycra leggings and incense burner (although feel free to!), our top poses can be done in your most comfortable PJs, all from your bedroom floor. Prepare the chocolate for after too. Now that’s the kind of yoga we like.
Seated wide-leg forward bend
Sit on the floor with your legs wide, but don’t overstretch. Make sure your spine is straight, you may need to bump up your hips with pillows to feel more comfy. Then walk your fingers forward on the floor in front of you until you can’t reach any further before relaxing your head and neck into a forward bend.
From an all-fours position gently arch your back on an inhale looking upwards, then round your back, tucking in your tailbone in on an exhale. Meowing/mooing optional…
Inversions (being upside down) are usually discouraged during menstruation but since this pose keeps your feet flat on the floor, you can still enjoy this stretch! Start on your hands and knees, lift your knees on the exhale and push your hips up towards the sky. Keep your hands planted and stretch your heels towards the floor. Practice full breaths, sigh it out, peddle your feet, wiggle your hips – whatever feels good for you in the moment.
This pose is a little trickier, so feel free to skip ahead to pose five if you are feeling sleepy. Lying on your tummy place your hand beside you, palms up. Bend your knees and bring your feet towards your bum. Arch your head up and chest forward and up. If you can reach, take hold of your feet with your hands and kick against your hands bringing your feet and hands upwards.
Feet up the wall
This pose is exactly what it says on the tin. Lie with a small cushion or some support under your lower back. Wriggle and shimmy your bum as close to the wall as possible and straighten your legs up against the wall. All the blood draining from your legs will help with the puffiness from the water retention we can feel around the time of our period. Also a good one to do without even leaving your bed!
From all-fours, drop your hips back to rest your hips on your heels, stretch your hands forward and relax your forehead to the ground. This one feels super nice for that lower back pain. Add a cushion or a rolled-up towel between your heels and your bum to make it super comfy.
Just calling yourself a goddess will help. But if you want the full pose, lie on your back with the soles of your feet together and your legs in a diamond shape. Add a hot water bottle on your tummy and pillows under your knees for extra mmmmmmness. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Stay here for as long as you like.
Need a bit more guidance?
We love Yoga with Adriene and she has a 20-minute practice for menstrual cramps.
… And you can’t say we don’t think of everything! Here are our top Spotify playlists so you can really get into the zone: