The following yoga poses are intended for a restorative home practice and can help alleviate menstrual cycle relief.
Reclined Hero (Supta Virasana)
- Get a yoga bolster or a rectangular sofa pillow and a book of yoga block. Then take two blankets and fold each into a triple fold.
- Place the block or book next to the short edge of one blanket at the end of the bolster or pillow. Place the second blanket on top of the first so that the end of the top blanket is approximately six inches from the short edge where the block is placed.
- This allows the other end of the top blanket to be folded over to make a pillow for your head and to prevent your lumbar spine from becoming too concave
- Kneel over the block, with your knees hip-width apart. Sit back so that your buttocks rest on the block and your heels are to the sides of your buttocks, with the tops of your feet on the floor. Be sure that your toes are pointing backward. (This is virasana.)
- place your hands behind your feet and lift your buttocks, tucking them under, and slowly roll your spine down to lie on the folded blankets. Be sure that the edge of the top blanket is in line with the bottom ribs.
- Stretch your arms over your head, interlacing your fingers, with your palms facing away from your head. Inhale and stretch the upper torso away from the pelvis as you lengthen from your thighs to your knees.
- Exhale and let your arms relax at your sides. Palms facing up breathe and hold for two minutes, building up to five minutes.
- Relax and feel a gentle stretch in your thighs. Continue breathing into your lower pelvic region.
- Bring your hands to the sides and press your palms down into the floor to lift your chest and upper torso off of the support. Come forward into Child’s pose and relax
Note: This pose stretches the reproductive organs, relaxes the lower pelvic region, and helps to reduce menstrual cramping. If you want more of a stretch, decrease the height of the support behind you. If it’s too low and a strain on your back, build up the height with more blankets until it’s comfortable. Another reclined pose that helps to relieve menstrual cramping is Reclined Bound Angle Pose.
Note: It’s worth taking the time to fold the blankets and enjoy the stretch.
Head to Knee Pose (Janusirsasana)
- Sit on the floor with your legs together, stretched out in front of you. Bring your hands to your right buttock and move the flesh and skin out of the way so that you are sitting on your “sitting bones.” Repeat on the left side.
- If your lower back is rounded, sit on the edge of a folded blanket to help you correctly position your lower back.
- Bring the arms down by your sides and lifting up through your spine, stretch out through your heels, pressing your thighs to the floor. This is Staff or Rod Pose.
- Bend the right knee to the side so that your heel is near your right groin. Turn the upper torso so that your chest faces over the center of your left leg. Place a belt on the ball of your left foot. With an inhalation, lift your spine up.
- Exhale and bend from your hips, stretching forward over your left leg. Be sure to keep your chest open and your lower back concave. Keep your left leg straight and your shoulders relaxed.
- Breathe and hold for one minute.
- Now to relax completely into the pose, place a blanket or bolster on your left leg and let your forehead rest on this support.
- Relax the belt and relax your arms to the sides, palms facing up.
- Breathe and hold for one minute, building up two minutes. Totally relax your belly and the lower pelvic area.
- Slowly inhale and lift your upper torso back into a sitting position. Stretch your right leg back out and repeat on the opposite side.
This pose relaxes the reproductive organs and relieves menstrual cramps.
Full forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
- Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out straight in front of you, keeping your spine erect and toes flexed towards you. Breathing in, raise both arms above your head and stretch upwards.
- Breathing out, bend forward from your hip joints and leading with your chest towards your toes.
- Keep your spine erect and focus on moving forwards towards your toes, rather than down towards your knees.
- Place your hands on your legs or wherever they can comfortably reach. Breathing in, lift your head slightly and lengthen your spine. Breathing out, gently move your navel towards your knees. Repeat this movement two or three times.
- Stretch your arms out in front of you. Breathing in, with the strength of your arms, come back up to a sitting position. Breathe out and lower your arms.
Menstruation is a normal physiological process. It is not a disease and practicing yoga or other physical activities are even recommended during periods.
Regular yoga classes may help your body to go through the periods more comfortably; it may also promote health and normalization of periods.