How to Do Yoga Poses for Menstrual Cramps

Three Parts:Using Sitting-Based Yoga PosesUsing Yoga Poses That Don’t Involve SittingUnderstanding the Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is an effective, natural method for relieving the pain caused by menstrual cramps. Positioning your body in certain ways through yoga can help alleviate the discomfort you experience during your period. By learning and practicing these certain poses, you can make that time of the month a little more bearable.

Part 1
Using Sitting-Based Yoga Poses

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    Try a head-to-knee forward bend (Janu Sirsasana). This pose stretches your spine, back of the thighs, and groin. It strengthens pelvic muscles and helps with menstrual cramps. It also has a soothing effect on the brain and, thus, relieves fatigue and anxiety.[1]
    • Sit on the floor spreading your legs forward. Bend the right knee outward to about a 90 degree angle. Both your right leg and your thigh will touch the floor. Now bring the right foot towards the left thigh so that the sole of the foot touches the inner thigh.
    • Grab the left foot with both hands, inhale and bend your torso over the left leg. Make your spine as straight as possible instead of allowing it to be curved.
    • Breathe slowly and deeply for one to two minutes. Then sit up slowly and repeat the pose for the right leg after a minute of rest.
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    Get into a reclining big toe pose (Supta Padangusthasana). This pose is intended to stretch the groins, hips, back of the thighs and legs. Relieving back pain, sciatica, and menstrual cramps are its main therapeutic uses.[2]
    • Lie straight on your back with your head on the floor. Lift the right leg by partially bending the knee.
    • Clasp the right toes with the right fingers. Press your left thigh with the left hand to prevent spontaneous lifting of the left leg.
    • Now exhale slowly and straighten the right leg as much as possible without overexerting. It may feel difficult to fully straighten the right leg because your lower limbs are longer than the upper limbs.
    • To equalize the lengths, you may use a belt or towel to wrap around the right foot and hold that belt/towel with your right hand at a suitable length. Your right leg will now easily become straight.
    • Hold your right leg straight and in an upright position. Breathe gently and hold this pose for one to three minutes. Bring the right leg back to the floor and repeat the pose for the left leg.
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    Do the diamond pose (Vajrasana). This pose sets a person into a state of relaxation. You also give a workout to your pelvic floor. Thus, anxiety and the discomfort of menstrual cramps are benefitted.[3]
    • Sit on the floor comfortably with your back straight. Spread out the legs and bring the soles of your feet together bending your knees horizontally at 90 degree angles.
    • Keep your knees in contact with the floor, thus both your legs and thighs will touch the ground. Both lower limbs will now form a diamond shape. Lean forward gently while you breathe in. Exhale in the leaning position and again come back upright while straightening your back.
    • Repeat this for about two to three minutes or as long as you feel comfortable.
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    Give fire log pose (Agnistambhasana) a try. This pose stretches the hips and groin as well as strengthening pelvic organs. It can also reduce discomfort from menstrual cramps, fatigue, and anxiety.[4]
    • Sit on a floor comfortably with your back straight and knees bent. Move your left foot under your right thigh so that the sole of the foot exceeds the outer border of the thigh.
    • Now stack your right leg on top of the left thigh. Your right leg should rest on the lower part of your left thigh and your right ankle should be outside the outer border of the left thigh. If it feels tight or difficult to bring the right ankle over the left knee or thigh, simply sit with your shin crossed.
    • Place the palms of your hands on the floor in front of your shins. Now exhale and lean forward by bending at your hips. Remember to keep your torso straight, not curved at the abdomen.
    • Breathe deeply and slowly for one minute. You will notice that the torso rises a bit with each inhalation. Stress the front of the body during this time so that there is lengthening from your pubis to sternum. You may feel like you are a bit convex forward at the torso.
    • Hold this pose for one minute and get back upright and uncross your legs. Repeat the pose with the left leg on top of the right.
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    Practice lotus pose (Padmasana). This is a very popular pose worldwide because of its numerous benefits. Even little ones know and enjoy doing this pose. It is believed that lotus pose improves concentration as well as relieving anxiety, depression, and fatigue. It also stretches the pelvis, spine, and abdomen and helps in sciatica, low back pain, and menstrual cramps.[5]
    • Sit on the floor with your legs spreading straight in front. Bend the right knee and hold the right leg using both hands as a cradle. The outer edge of the right foot will rest on the left elbow-bend and right knee on the right elbow-bend while both hands remain clasped. Swing your leg right and left a few times to explore the full range of movement of the right hip.
    • With a smooth but quick movement at the right hip, place the right leg over the left thigh so that the outer edge of the right foot is locked into the left groin. Press the right heel into the left lower abdomen.
    • Keeping your back straight, hold the left leg at the ankle and shin with both hands and place it over the right thigh. The alignment will be similar to that of right leg which is that the outer edge of the left foot will be locked into the right groin and the left heel will press on the right lower abdomen.
    • Bring the knees as close as possible. Keep your hands over the corresponding knees with the palms facing up and the thumbs touching the little fingers.
    • Hold this pose for just a few seconds the first couple of times you try it, then gradually increase the duration. Over time, you should be able to hold this pose for up to one minute. Do this pose three to four times daily during your period.

Part 2
Using Yoga Poses That Don’t Involve Sitting

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    Do bow pose (Dhanurasana). This pose is so named because you look like a bow while practicing, with the trunk/torso resembling the body of the bow and the arms the string. You need to start by lying on your belly while keeping your hands by the side of your body and palms facing up.[6]
    • Now bend your knees to bring the feet close to the buttocks. Keep your thighs parallel to each other. Lift your hands and grasp your ankles.
    • While taking a deep breath pull back your ankles strongly with your hands so that the legs are lifted away from the buttocks. This will passively lift your thighs and also your upper torso and head off the floor.
    • Continue raising your legs while pressing your shoulder blades firmly against your back. This will open your ribcage and make the chest look wider.
    • Breathe slowly and deeply for about half a minute. Then release the pose while exhaling slowly. Stay lying on your belly for the next half minute. Repeat the pose two to three times.
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    Try bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana). This pose stretches the spine, neck, and chest. Such stretching stimulates abdominal organs and the lungs; strengthens the legs; reduces menstrual cramps; and helps with anxiety, fatigue, and backaches.[7]
    • Lie on the floor facing up, keeping a folded blanket under your shoulders to support the neck. Bend your knees, keeping the flat of the foot on the floor and heels close to the buttock.
    • Now raise your hips, pressing your feet and arms on the floor while exhaling slowly. Your buttock will tighten in this position. Support your body by keeping the entire length of the arms on the floor (palms facing downwards as well).
    • Continue lifting your hips until the thighs become parallel to the ground and lower legs upright. Do not keep your knees wide apart.
    • Keep your head and neck straight and on the floor. Now firming the shoulder blades against your back, raise your chest so that the chest comes close to your chin.
    • Stay in this position for up to one minute. Then gently bring your torso down to the floor while exhaling slowly. Lie down comfortably for a minute.
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    Experiment with noose pose (Pasasana). This pose stretches thighs, groins and spine. Tones of abdominal organs are improved helping in digestion and bowel movement. It also relieves back pain and menstrual discomfort.[8]
    • Take a squatting position with the feet together and keep your thighs and legs in contact with each other. Swing both of your knees to the left and your torso to the right. Place your left arm over the right thigh just above the knee. Now turn the left arm and forearm in front of the legs and further to the back of the left leg. Thus you will actually wrap both of your folded legs with the left upper limb.
    • If it feels difficult for you to wrap both legs, do it for only the left leg. That is, keep your left arm in between your thighs and turn the left forearm to wrap around the left leg.
    • Take a deep breath while moving your right arm behind the lower back so that the right hand can reach the left hand and clasp it.
    • Turn your head to the right stretching the chest and breathe slowly for about a minute. Now release the pose while exhaling slowly.
    • Take a break of one minute and repeat the pose for the opposite side (your knees to the right and your torso to the left).
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    Get into camel pose (Ustrasana). This pose stretches the front of the entire body and improves the muscle tone of this area. It stimulates a refreshing mood and relieves fatigue and anxiety. The stretching also helps relieve menstrual cramps.[9]
    • Start by kneeling on the floor keeping your knees a bit apart and your feet fully extended at the ankles. Thus, the shins and dorsum of the feet (upper surface of the feet) will touch the floor.
    • Arch backwards while hanging the arms freely. At some point, your hands will touch your heel. Now grab your ankles firmly with your hands.
    • While taking a deep breath, lift your chest. It will make your body more arched. Then push the hips forward while you exhale. This move will lengthen and stretch the front of the body.
    • Keep your head and neck parallel to the ground while looking upward. Keeping this position, breathe slowly for 30 to 60 seconds. Then release the pose while exhaling slowly. Repeat the pose a few times with one minute intervals between.
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    Use downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). This pose is very different from the poses mentioned earlier. This pose lengthens and releases tension from your spine. It strengthens the arms, shoulders, and muscles of the back of the body and lower limbs. It also helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and the discomfort of menstruation.[10]
    • Get on the floor on your hands and knees. The palms of your hands will touch the ground and remain spread. Keep your thighs upright and hands slightly forward.
    • Start lifting your knees off the ground with a long breath. Do not extend the knees completely at once. Also, keep the heels lifted away from the floor for comfort.
    • Now exhale and elongate your tailbone away from the back of the pelvis and press it gently towards the pubis. Raise the sitting bones using this resistance. Your legs and thighs will form straight lines. Push your thighs backward to place your heels onto the ground. Roll the upper thighs inward so your hamstrings will be less tensed.
    • Maintain light pressure on the floor with the bases of your index fingers. Widen your shoulder blades and move them downward (toward the tailbone). Keep your head and neck in line with your arms.
    • Stay in this pose for one to two minutes while breathing gently. Then get back to the floor to take rest for another few minutes.

Part 3
Understanding the Benefits of Yoga

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    Know that yoga relaxes both the body and mind. Yoga will help to relax the body and the mind. This is seen through the varied breathing techniques that are employed when doing yoga. The movements that are used in yoga do not add any stress to the body, but they help it to relax.
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    Be aware that yoga will help to make you more flexible. Yoga helps the body to achieve flexibility. When one takes part in yoga, the muscles that were previously tense are relaxed and stretched. This helps to reduce the muscle cramping and relieve general pain in the body.[11]
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    Understand that yoga decreases tension and promotes peace of mind. The techniques that are used in yoga help to relax many different muscles in the body. This helps to reduce tension and stress in the body.[12]
    • This is achieved through the different techniques that are used to inhale and exhale, allowing one to relax.
    • This allows the release of all the tension that has been contained in the body and allows one to achieve peace of mind.
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    Realize that yoga can help to control the release of hormones. Yoga techniques help in promoting the function of the endocrine system, which controls the release of hormones in the body.[13]
    • Hormones that are released during the menstrual cycle are one of the major causes of menstrual cramps. Therefore, when the hormones are balanced through yoga, the cramps are controlled.
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    Know that yoga will help you to stay in shape. The yoga poses will help to tone varied muscles in the body. This helps to keep you in great shape and avoid being overweight. This also helps you to avoid accumulating fat, especially around the abdomen, because the abdominal muscles are toned by yoga.[14]

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Categories: Cramps