Use Yoga Poses to Relieve Menstrual Pain (and Everyday Stress)

Certain yoga poses can help ease the pain and discomfort that comes with your period.

by Ivy Markaity Patient Expert

For those of us who experience cramping during menstruation the discomfort can range from mild to crippling pain. Some women experience terrible headaches and severe nausea as well. Many women take pain medication but certain yoga poses can help ease the pain and discomfort that comes with your period.

I realize that when you are in the throes of debilitating cramping during menstruation, doubled over in the fetal position rolling on the floor (been there), perhaps the last thing you could imagine doing is striking a yoga pose. However, I am here to testify that the following poses will help ease the pain associated with menstruation and you might even be able to catch your breath for a moment.


This pose relieves menstrual discomfort and sciatica. You can also practice Supta-Baddha-Konasana lying on the floor.

Sitting: Sit tall with legs extended out in front of you and then bring the soles of the feet together. Bring your heels only as close to your pelvis as you comfortably can. Let the knees and thighs gently open towards the floor. Never force your knees down. Place yoga blocks or pillows under your thighs to support them. You can hold on to the feet, ankles or shins. Stay in this pose for 1-5 minutes.

Lying Down: Lie on your back with legs extended long. You can support your head with a flat pillow or towel. Gently bring the soles of your feet together as close to your pelvis as is comfortable. Place pillows, yoga blocks or blankets under both your thighs. Then gently release your knees towards the floor.

Make sure your thighs are well supported and place more padding under them if necessary so that they can relax open without strain. Lie in this position for 1-5 minutes. Be sure not to push the knees towards the floor especially if your groins are tight.

Wide Squat

Hip pain can accompany cramping so stretching them out feels really good. If you can't bring your heels to the floor in a squatting position then roll up a towel, blanket or yoga matt and place them under your heels. I like to bring my palms together in prayer position and then bring them toward my heart center as my upper arms rest on the inside of my thighs.

It is best not to force the thighs open with the arms. Gently squat and allow the breath to naturally drop deeply into the belly and ribcage when you inhale. Hold for a few long deep breaths.

Cat Cow

Come on to all fours with your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. As you inhale gently arch the spine and let the belly release to the floor as you gaze up. Let the shoulders soften down your back and be sure not to compress the back of the neck by jutting the chin up too high.

As you exhale round your spine towards the ceiling and allow the belly to lift up as the head and neck release to the floor. Alternate between the two a few times to help ease back pain.

Childs Pose

Childs pose calms the mind and will also help alleviate your cramping. I suggest the pre-natal version of child's pose with the legs a bit wider. Kneel on the floor and sit on your heels. Separate your thighs about ten inches to a foot apart. Bring your head down to the floor or on to a pillow or yoga block. Let the belly gently soften between the thighs.

Arms can be extended out in front of you on the floor or behind you by your sides. Having the arms by your sides will release shoulder tension. If you extend them out in front of you it will help stretch out the lower back.

Use your breath like an internal massage. Send the breath into your back body and even way down deep into the sacrum area. Feel your ribcage and lower back expand and lift with every inhale and release with every exhale. Breathe deeply for 6-10 deep breaths or longer if you like. If there is any discomfort in your knees roll up a small towel and place it in between the knee crease.

Other Recommended Poses

  • Vatayanasana

  • Happy Baby Pose

  • Pigeon Pose (without coming forward)

  • Janu Sirsasana (without coming forward)

  • Padmasana

  • Supta-Virasana (with the support of belts, bolsters and blankets)

  • Trikonasana

  • Supported Setubandhasana

  • Camel Pose

  • Shavasana

Ivy Markaity
Meet Our Writer
Ivy Markaity

Ivy wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Fitness & Exercise.