Yoga Poses that Help Relieve Menstrual Cramps
On certain days of the month, a woman’s pain can be unbearable. If you don’t want to take pain-relievers or lie in bed suffering, we recommend certain yoga poses. These are a natural way to relieve menstrual cramps.
Yoga and menstruation
According to the teachings of yoga, you should rest during your menstrual cycle and spend time doing gentle activities (like meditation or reading).
But we can’t always take days off, of course. The good news is that there are special poses you can do to find relief from menstrual cramps and give your mind and body extra energy.
This is known as child’s pose and helps with back pain while relaxing the abdomen.
- Kneel on a mat, your knees hip-width apart (or whatever is comfortable).
- Lean forward, laying your arms down behind you and placing your hands past your glutes.
- Rest your forehead (if you can) on the mat, or on a cushion if you can’t reach it.
- Breathe slowly and deeply 10 times before getting up.
2. Parivrtta natarajasana
It also stretches you a bit.
- Lay down face up on a bed or sofa and cross your legs.
- First bring them to your chest and then twist to the right.
- Spread out your arms.
- Switch sides slowly.
This pose is a bit more complicated, but it might also help relieve menstrual cramps. You form a bow with your body and the bowstring with your arms.
- Lay face down with your legs stretched out.
- Lift your pelvis and bring your legs as high as you can.
- Stretch your arms back and hold your calves with your hands.
- Lift your head to finish the movement.
- Do several slow breaths before returning to your initial position.
4. Supta virasana
This position is like the “reclining hero” and here we add support to make it more relaxing. You can use a big cushion (or multiple cushions), or a sheet.
- Kneel on the floor or a mat. The support goes behind you.
- Lean back until your back is completely supported by the cushion.
- Stretch your arms out to your sides.
5. Supta baddha konasana
This one is similar to the previous pose, but with a starting position of the “lotus flower.”
- Sit on the floor with your back straight.
- Put the soles of your feet together (your knees will fall outward).
- The rest is the same as the previous exercise. Stretch backward as much as you can.
This position stimulates your ovaries, groin, thighs, and circulation. It also helps with menstrual cramps and stress.
6. Butterfly pose
This pose may help relieve menstrual cramps since it opens up your hips and relaxes the area. It is simple:
- Sit on whatever surface you prefer and put the soles of your feet together (like in the previous pose).
- Try to bring your knees as close as you can to the ground.
- Lean forward or back, however you feel most comfortable.
The noose pose can also be very helpful, as it stretches the thighs, spine, and groin.
- Squat, keeping your feet and legs together.
- Move your knees to the left and your torso to the right.
- Put your left arm in front of your legs and your right arm behind your thigh.
- Look up and slightly turn your head.
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8. Janu sirsasana
It doesn’t matter how flexible you are – you can do this pose as far as you can.
- Sit on the floor or mat with both legs stretched out in front of you.
- Bend your right knee and touch your left knee with the sole of your right foot.
- Bring your torso forward. The idea is to touch your left foot with your hands. At least try to reach your knees.
9. The dove pose may help relieve menstrual cramps
This can be a good choice if you need to relieve menstrual cramps that are severe.
- Squat down, cross one leg forward and stretch the other back behind you.
- Bring your torso forward and rest your forehead, forearms, and hands on the floor.
The camel pose lets your stretch your abdomen and lower belly.
- Kneel on the ground with your legs separated a bit.
- Bring your torso backward along with your arms and your head. You should be relaxed throughout. The goal is to touch your feet with your hands, and then reach for the ground.
- Hold the pose for a few seconds and very slowly return to your starting position so that you don’t get dizzy.
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11. Upavistha konasana
The seated angle pose can be done with cushions at first.
- Sit on the floor and stretch your legs out. Open them out to the sides as much as possible.
- Lift your arms and move your torso forward. The goal is to touch your forehead to the floor but you will need a lot of flexibility for this.
- To start, place something in front of you to rest your face on.
12. Adho mukha svanasana
The pose known as the downward-facing dog helps release tension in your spinal column. It can be useful to help relieve menstrual cramps.
- Support yourself on a mat or the floor with your hands, knees, and the tops of your feet.
- Gently lift your knees and bring your thighs back.
- Form a triangle, the sides being your arms, your legs, and the ground.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Rakhshaee, Z. (2011). Effect of Three Yoga Poses (Cobra, Cat and Fish Poses) in Women with Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpag.2011.01.059
- Yonglitthipagon, P., Muansiangsai, S., Wongkhumngern, W., Donpunha, W., Chanavirut, R., Siritaratiwat, W., … Janyacharoen, T. (2017). Effect of yoga on the menstrual pain, physical fitness, and quality of life of young women with primary dysmenorrhea. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2017.01.014
- Tsai, S. Y. (2016). Effect of yoga exercise on premenstrual symptoms among female employees in Taiwan. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13070721
- Gonçalves, A. V., Barros, N. F., & Bahamondes, L. (2017). The Practice of Hatha Yoga for the Treatment of Pain Associated with Endometriosis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2015.0343