Namaste from Yoga: The Ultimate Yoga Guide for Your Period

Namaste from Yoga: The Ultimate Yoga Guide for Your Period

Cramps, bloating, fatigue - periods can bring a rollercoaster of emotions and physical sensations. Yoga can be a powerful tool to help manage these symptoms and find relief throughout your cycle. 


What is Yoga?

Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “Yuj” meaning “Union”. It is an ancient practice originating from India which has a more holistic approach deeper than just learning postures and poses. Yoga is an art that has many forms, variations and levels. Yoga has influenced many people around the world and brought positive changes in their life. From physical health to mental health, and even spiritual - yoga transcends all these aspects of health and helps in alerting the mind and increasing focus, concentration and also helps in bringing discipline in life. Vedic theories, breathing control, meditation, mindfulness, and physical yoga postures are all part of yoga.  


Body, Mind, and Beyond: The Holistic Benefits of Yoga

Unlike other forms of exercise that require training, equipments, or specific routine - yoga is very customizable and adjustable to your schedule. And also unlike many other forms of exercise which can be very energy consuming - yoga is much slower and focuses more on balance, and a mind-muscle connection, while also benefiting other aspects of your health. Studies show that practicing yoga has direct health benefits such as decreasing cardiac output and blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and even anxiety and depression. Thus improving your whole quality of life! How amazing is that?


Syncing with Your Flow: Yoga Throughout Your Menstrual Phases

Feeling overwhelmed by PMS symptoms? Yoga's calming poses and breathwork can help manage stress and anxiety. Struggling with sleep disturbances? Gentle yoga stretches before bed can promote relaxation and deeper sleep.

The best part is, yoga could be a helpful and productive way to deal with period cramps because the physical movement and stretching of the body brings great mobility and flexibility that eventually stretches the uterus from within, loosening the muscles and increasing the blood flow, thus reducing cramps. Here is a previous blog talking about some period friendly asanas for those days of the month! 

So, this blog will be your guide to start off with yoga! No matter what level you are - beginner, intermediate, or advanced - there is something for everyone! We will discuss a few options in each, and with each pose, we’ve provided the instructions and the benefits so you truly find out how amazing, valuable, and wholesome yoga can be! 

A quick note before we jump into the poses! Did you know that certain yoga poses and bends are conducive to certain menstrual phases? If you don’t know what the menstrual phases are, here is a quick Saathi blog to understand them. Once you refresh your memory, here is a quick understanding of what poses can be practiced during certain menstrual phases. This is particularly relevant if for example you’re planning to get pregnant or suffer from very bad menstrual cramps. There are a few studies that show that yoga may help with reducing dysmenorrhea, but still more rigorous research has to be done.  But always remember, it is all based on your comfort levels! So even during your periods, if you have the energy and ability to do certain poses that are more complicated - please do so. It is all about enjoying your yoga, and feeling better!

  1. Menstrual Phase: Hormones and energy levels can be at an all-time low.  Slow, restorative postures that focus more on breathing can be your go-to during these phases. Avoid postures that compress or twist the abdomen. 
  2. Follicular Phase and Ovulatory Phase: These are high-energy phases and hence, you can go all on out with inversions, bends, movements, and intermediate to expert-level postures. 
  3. Luteal Phase: Your energy will slowly start decreasing, and for many people PMS symptoms might start to kick in. so it is a great idea to practice mindful exercises that not only help with your physical activity but also help dealing with mood swings!

Now that we have the basics covered, let us get into these exciting yoga poses! 


Move with your flow: Foundational Poses for Beginners!

Basic yoga poses focus on gentle building of mobility and flexibility in the body. It will not exhaust your energy and will gently stretch your muscles. It will prepare your body for more complex yoga poses.

1. BADDHA KONASANA (Cobbler Pose)

The Benefits

  1. Strengthens the uterus and opens the pelvic region.
  2. Stretches the lower body including thighs, knees and hips.
  3. Helps with relieving the lower back pain.

Avoid during these menstrual phases: None. It is excellent to practice all phases of the menstrual cycle.

How to do it?

  1. Sit in a staff pose (Dandasana) and stretch your legs out.
  2. Then bring the soles of your feet together and close as much as you can without forcing it.
  3. Hold the pose for 15-30 seconds.
  4. Return to the staff pose.
    2. UTTANASANA (Standing Forward Fold Pose)

    The Benefits

    1. Great for straightening your spine.
    2. Also recommended for helping digestive problems.
    3. Tightens up your upper body.

    Avoid during these menstrual phases: None. Good for all menstrual phases!

    How to do it?

    1. Stand straight and then bend from the waist till you touch your feet.
    2. Hold the pose for 15-20 seconds at least.
    3. Return to normal posture.
    3. UTKATA KONASANA (Goddess Yoga Pose)

    The Benefits

    1. Helps in improving blood flow.
    2. Helps in relieving tension.
    3. Promotes concentration and focus.

    Avoid during these menstrual phases: None. A great pose to practice during all phases of your menstrual cycle and may help with menstrual cramps!

    How to do it?

    1. Stand still and begin with spreading your feet further than your hip-width apart.
    2. Then raise your toes and your arms (your elbows should be parallel to your shoulder).
    3. Hold the pose for 10-15 seconds.
    4. Return to normal posture.
    4. ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (Downward Facing Dog)

    The Benefits

    1. Helps in strengthening the upper body.
    2. Helps in relieving stress and tension from your body.
    3. Stretches your arms and abdominal area.

    Avoid during these menstrual phases: None. Could be done during all phases. If you feel discomfort during your periods, you can skip it for now.

    How to do it?

    1. Stand straight on your feet then bend down from your waist and press your palms flat on the ground.
    2. Take 3 steps ahead with your palms keeping your feet in the same place.
    3. Hold the pose for 10-20 seconds.
    4. Return to normal posture.
    5. BITILASANA MARJARIASANA (Cat-Cow Pose)

    The Benefits

    1. Improves flexibility and balance.
    2. Helps in improving bad posture.
    3. Stretches and tones your abdominal area.

    Avoid during these menstrual phases: Menstrual or ovulatory phase if you have cramps, or you can do it slowly to avoid jolts to the uterus.

    How to do it?

    1. Get on your four limbs by keeping knees right below your hips. 
    2. Now curve the spine by keeping your head up.
    3. Hold for 10 seconds at least.
    4. Now curve the spine by keeping your head down.
    5. Hold for 10 seconds at least.

    Flowing into Relief: Intermediate Poses for Confidence and Control

    Intermediate yoga poses help in strengthening your muscles and working your body through some more complex poses in yoga.


    1. UPAVISTHA KONASANA (Seated Straddle Pose)

      The Benefits:

      1. Works as a hip opener and stretches the hamstrings and inner thighs.
      2. Helps with back pain as it lengthens the spine.
      3. Helps in toning the lower body.

      Avoid during these menstrual phases: None. It is a great practice for all phases of the menstrual cycle!

      How to do it?

      1. Begin with a staff pose and then stretch out your legs.
      2. Lift your arms up and bend forward from your waist, don't force yourself.
      3. Hold the pose for 10-15 seconds.
      4. Return to normal posture.
      2. ANANDA BALASANA (Happy Child Pose)

        The Benefits

        1. Helps in stretching out your ankles.
        2. Increases blood flow in the whole body.
        3. Stimulates the digestive system.

        Avoid during these menstrual phases: None. A good pose for all the phases of menstruation!

        How to do it?

        1. Lay down in a reclined position.
        2. Inhale and lift your legs.
        3. Now bend your knees and bring your legs inward to your stomach.
        4. Hold your toes with your hands.
        5. Hold the pose for 15-20 seconds.
        3. BHUJANGASANA (Cobra Pose)

          The Benefits:

          1. Helps in stimulating the respiratory system.
          2. Regulates the thyroid glands.
          3. Improves flexibility and mobility.

          Avoid during these menstrual phases: None. It is an excellent pose for all phases of the menstrual cycle and can help with the cramps!

          How to do it?

          1. Lay down in a reclined position on your stomach.
          2. Point your toes out and lift your upper body.
          3. Hold the pose for 10-15 seconds and repeat it.
          4. SETU BANDHA SARVANGASANA (Supported Bridge Pose)

          The Benefits

          1. Helps with the nervous system.
          2. Tones the abdominal area.
          3. Strengthens the lower back.

          Avoid during these menstrual phases: None. However, if you have certain considerations, you might avoid it during the menstrual or ovulatory phase as there’s pressure on the lower abdomen.

          How to do it?

          1. Lay down in a reclined position then bend your knees.
          2. Lift your hips upward and keep hands aligned under your hip against the ground.
          3. Hold the pose for 5-10 seconds and then repeat it.
          5. UTTANA SHISHOSANA  (Extended Puppy Pose)

            The Benefits

            1. Helps in energizing the body.
            2. Helps with sleeplessness.
            3. Helps with upper body mobility and flexibility.

            Avoid during these menstrual phases: May be avoided during menstrual or ovulatory phase due to the bending (up to your personal preference)!

            How to do it?

            1. Get on your four limbs and stretch out your arms.
            2. Balancing on your knees, keep your head down and stretch the upper body out. 
            3. And hold the pose for 10-15 seconds.
            4. Return to normal posture.

            Inversions and Beyond: Advanced Yoga for Power and Grace

            Advanced yoga poses need proper understanding of holding your breath and stretching your body. It helps you explore a deeper part of yoga through complex yoga poses. But make sure to do them under expert guidance and slow practice only!


            1. SALAMBA SHIRSHASANA (Head Stand Pose)

            The Benefits

            1. Helps in removing toxins from the body.
            2. Helps in regulating blood flow. 
            3. Gives you better and more flexible posture.

            Avoid during these menstrual phases: None. It is a good posture for all menstrual phases and may help with cramps.

            How to do it?

            Do under expert guidance and slow practice only!

            1. Stand facing towards the wall and bend down from your waist.
            2. Keep your hands folded behind your head and put your weight against the wall.
            3. Now bend your knees and bring the legs upward.
            4. Your head would touch the ground while the legs would be lifted.
            5. Hold the pose as long as you can and then return to normal posture.
            2. HANUMANASANA (Split Monkey Pose)

              The Benefits:

              1. Stretches out hamstrings and thighs.
              2. Helps in improving your posture and overall flexibility.
              3. Helps in reducing stress and maintaining focus.

              Avoid during these menstrual phases: None. Is a good posture for good flexibility and stretching during long days of periods.

              How to do it?

              Do under expert guidance and slow practice only!

              1. Keep the hands and knees together then step forward with the right foot.
              2. Keep your upper body stretched and lift your arms up in a namaskar posture.
              3. Stretch the right foot as much as your body can and then hold the posture for 10-15 seconds.
              4. Then repeat the posture with your left leg forward.
              3. UTTHITA HASTA PADANGUSTHASANA (Hand-To-Big-Toe-Bow Pose)

                The Benefits:  

                1. Helps in stretching the thighs and calves.
                2. Relieves digestive system problems.
                3. Stimulates the kidneys and liver.

                Avoid during these menstrual phases: None. It can be beneficial for lower belly aches!

                How to do it?

                Do under expert guidance and slow practice only!

                1. Stand still and put your hands on your waist.
                2. Now lift one leg at 90 angle and hold the leg with one hand on that side.
                3. Try to balance the position for 10-15 seconds and then repeat it with the other side.
                4. ARDHA CHAKRA (Drop Back Pose)

                The Benefits:

                1. Strengthens your upper body posture.
                2. Helps in opening the shoulder and chest area.
                3. Helps in achieving full wheel pose.

                Avoid during these menstrual phases: None. Though, you may avoid during menstruation or ovulation because of bending!

                How to do it?

                Do under expert guidance and slow practice only!

                1. Stand still with your body.
                2. Place your hand beneath your hips.
                3. Stand and drop back as much your body can.
                4. Then hold the posture for 10-15 seconds.
                5. Return to normal posture.
                5. URDHVA DHANURASANA (Full Wheel Pose)

                  The Benefits

                  1. Improves shoulder posture.
                  2. Stretches out upper limbs.
                  3. Great for toning your body.

                  Avoid during these menstrual phases: None. Though, depending on personal preference, can be avoided during the menstrual phase to prevent exacerbation of cramps due to the bending.

                  How to do it?

                  Do under expert guidance and slow practice only!

                  1. Lay down in a reclined position and bend your knees inward.
                  2. Bring your toes near your hips keeping a few inches gap.
                  3. Bend your elbows and bring the palms overhead.
                  4. Then lift your upper and lower body while keeping the position of palms and feet still.
                  5. Hold the pose for 10-15 seconds.
                  6. Return to normal posture.

                  Find Your Peace: Yoga for a Healthy Mind and Body

                  So that was a quick guide to kickstart your journey towards a healthier and happier period with yoga. Remember, yoga offers a variety of benefits beyond cramp relief, including stress reduction and improved sleep – both powerful tools for managing your cycle. Just like anything else, the key is to begin small and keep at it till you are eventually able to explore advanced levels with professional guidance and then do them regularly all on your own!

                  Yoga is an age old practice, starting off in the Indian subcontinent centuries ago. It started off as a way to detach yourself from the perils of the universe, and be mindful and spiritual while you meditate and connect to the almighty. Over the years, the definitions and components of yoga have transformed drastically, wherein yoga has become a form of exercise! But, yoga is not just a workout - it is akin to vitamins for your health. But just like most good things, only continuous practice will show you results. In today's modern and fast life we rarely get time for ourselves, and keeping this little practice in a regular and disciplined way brings joy, health, mindfulness, and peace to one’s mind and soul. 

                  Start slow, listen to your body, and don't hesitate to modify poses to fit your needs. With consistency, you'll find a yoga routine that supports you throughout your menstrual journey. Comment below which is your favorite pose to do.

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