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Yoga Poses for Menstruation

Doing Yoga on Your Period

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Updated May 03, 2013

While the mechanics of menstruation are something all women have in common, each woman experiences her period differently. Though most would agree that it's not the most enjoyable time of each month, responses vary from an appreciation of fertility, to annoyance, to being curled up in pain, to disregard. If you are trying to get pregnant, a period means disappointment. If you are trying to avoid getting pregnant, a period means relief

Many societies have segregated menstruating women and encouraged rest during this time. When women began doing yoga, they were likewise told to refrain from practice while menstruating. Ashtanga yoga suggests a "ladies' holiday" of one to three days. Most contemporary yoga methods acknowledge each woman's right to make a choice for herself about what kind of practice to do, including whether to practice inversions. The following poses are recommended for a restorative home practice and may help alleviate cramps.

1. Cobbler's Pose - Baddha Konasana

© Barry Stone

Since the lower half of the body feels heavy during menstruation, seated poses are the focus. You may stay in each pose for up to several minutes. Baddha konasana opens the pelvic region. For a more restorative version, come into a forward bend over a bolster or several folded blankets.

2. Head to Knee Pose - Janu Sirsasana

© Barry Stone
Extend your right leg and place the sole of your left foot on your right inner thigh. Center the torso over the right leg and fold forward. Come back through baddha konasana to set up for the other side.

3. Seated Straddle - Upavistha Konasana

© Barry Stone
Open both your legs wide into upavistha konasana. Again, a supported forward fold is a great option.

4. Seated Forward Bend - Paschimottanasana

© Barry Stone

Bring both leg outstretched for a forward bend. Lengthen the spine in a seated position before coming forward. Imagine the pelvis as a bowl that is tipping forward as you come down. 

5. Supported Bride Pose

© Barry Stone

Lie down on your back. Press into your feet to lift the hips slightly and slide a yoga block under them for support. This very gentle backbend can help relieve back pain associated with menstruation. To come out, press into the feet to lift the hips again and slide the block out.

6. Goddess Pose - Supta Baddha Konasana

© Barry Stone

Stay in a reclined position, bend your knees out to the sides and bring the soles of your feet together for goddess pose. Placing a bolster under the length of your spine can feel great here.

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