Yeah, we feel you. You just want curl up into a ball and stay in bed every 28 days. As mentioned in our list of period hacks, doing some light, low-impact exercises such as yoga and swimming is actually recommended. So, for days you are feeling extra flowy, you may want to burn some palo santo, hop into some extra comfy pants, and try out some of these gentle poses to alleviate those menstrual cramps.
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
This deep forward bending pose applies light pressure to the pelvic and abdominal region while stretching the lower back. It is the perfect pose to massage out those painful cramps while inducing a state of groundedness. It presses your calf muscles too which is a great relief. To get into child’s pose, kneel on the floor. Sit on your heels and separate your knees about as wide as your hips. Lay your torso down between your thighs. Lay your hands on the floor alongside your torso, palms up, and release the front of your shoulders towards the floor.
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)
This twisting pose aids in relieving backache, fatigue, sciatica, and cramps. To get into this pose, sit on the floor, bend your knees, and slide your left leg under your right leg to the outside of your right hip, making sure the left leg is touching the floor. Then step the right foot over the left leg and have it stand, pointing up at the ceiling. Twist toward the inside of the right thigh. Press the right hand against the floor right behind your right buttock and place your left upper arm on the outside of your right thigh near the knee. Pull front torso and inner right thigh together. You may turn your head in two directions: to the right or to the left and looking over your left shoulder. With every breath, try to deepen the pose by twisting a little more. Repeat on the other side.
Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)
This backbend relieves menstrual discomfort while encouraging a relaxed state. You may have a block within arm’s reach to give support to this pose. To get into this pose, lie spine on the floor. Bend the knees and bring heels as close as possible to the sitting bones. Pressing arms and soles of feet actively into the floor and keeping thighs and inner feet parallel, lift your hips off the floor. Place the block under the sacrum (the block can be used on any of its height positions, depending on how you feel in your spine and fronts of thighs). Your arms can stay outstretched on the floor next to your body. Use your inhales to expand middle and upper chest out over your chin, and your exhales to release all your weight into the block.
Viparita Karani (Leg-Up-The-Wall Pose)
This supported leg-only inversion relieves pelvic discomfort and improves circulation of veins and lymphatic vessels in the legs. You also need to find a wall or other upright support. Start seated beside the wall, with your feet on the floor in front of you and your left side body in contact with wall. Gently lie down on your back and pivot yourself so that the back of your legs are pressing against the wall. Your sitting bones should be pressed up against the wall, or slightly away from the wall. Let your hands rest on your belly or down by your sides. Breathe deeply.
We urge you to explore these four and other gentle, restorative poses during your menstrual days. We strongly recommend against yoga postures that involve inversion, as they can only aggravate menstrual symptoms. Anyway, happy flowing (no pun intended)!