Can I Do Yoga during periods? Its Benefits and Poses

Are you also one of those who are sceptical about doing physical activities during those 5 days of the month?

But have you wondered why?

There is absolutely no reason why you should skip your yoga or exercise routine or anything for that matter just because you are on your periods. 

Don’t let natural phenomena like this ruin your life.

Can I do yoga during periods? Is it good or bad?

In normal conditions, the answer to the question of doing yoga in periods is a big YES! 

Yoga and exercise during periods, in general, is not bad in fact it is good and has several health benefits.

But it also depends on person to person.

I would like to make a statement here, that every woman is different. Maybe what’s working for one may not work for another. 

So don’t compare yourself with anybody. Identify what is working for you. Your body is smarter than you think.

It gives you enough signs and signals to make you understand whether or not you should continue yoga.

Under normal cramps, you should go for yoga but if you are experiencing excessive pain and bleeding you must first see a doctor.

Benefits of yoga

An experiment was conducted on women aged between 18-22 with primary dysmenorrhea.

The aim was to find out the effect of yoga on menstrual pain, physical fitness, and quality of life of non-athlete women. 

In their experiment, they found out that women who did yoga for 30 minutes a day, twice a week, for 12 weeks experienced an improvement in period pain, physical fitness, and quality of life.

Yoga during periods is extremely beneficial. It builds endurance which helps us to take the pain in a better way. 

The amazing benefits of yoga are :

  • It Improves core strength
  • Relieves painful period cramps 
  • Relaxes mind
  • Improves blood circulation 
  • Improves overall endurance
  • Eliminates bloating
  • Improves mood

Yoga poses to do during periods

Certain poses are of great importance during periods. 

Practicing these helps us to get over cramps. 

Here are the top seven yoga poses which one can practice during periods.

Let’s check out 

  1. SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA (RECLINED BOUND ANGLE POSE)
Can I Do Yoga during periods?
  • Lie down on your back. You may use a pillow to support your lower back.
  • Bend your legs and spread open the knees, with the feet touching each other.
  • Place your hands on your navel or above your head as shown in the picture.
  • Close your eyes, and stay here for around a minute.
  • Continue breathing through the nose.
  • Slowly relax and release the legs.

BENEFITS

  • Relieves lower back pain
  • Relieves menstrual cramps
  • Stretches inner thighs
  • Stimulate organs like ovaries, bladder, and kidneys
  • Relieves stress and depression
  1. UPAVISTHA KONASANA  (SEATED ANGLE POSE)
Can I Do Yoga during periods?
  • Sit up on your sit bones.
  • Spread open your legs.
  • Straighten the back.
  • And slowly start walking your hands in front of you on the floor lowering the upper body.
  • If possible try to hold the toes with your hands, otherwise, stay up to whatever point you are comfortable.
  • Hold here for 5-7 breaths, and relax.

BENEFITS 

  • Stretches the reproductive region
  • Releases the pain through the hip opening
  • Releases groin
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs
  • Relaxes brain
  • Strengthens the spine
  1. BAAL KRIDASANA (HAPPY BABY POSE)
Can I Do Yoga during periods?
  • Lie down on your back.
  • Lift the legs off the floor.
  • Bend the knees towards the armpit with the shin perpendicular to the floor.
  • Wrap the inner arches of your foot from the inside with your hands.
  • Stay here for 8-9 breaths.
  • Slowly release.

BENEFITS

  • Opens up hip and pelvic floor 
  • Relaxes muscle contraction
  • Good activation to the abdominal organs
  • Reduces lower back pain
  • Releases stress and anxiety
  • Lowers heart rate
  • Stretches the hamstring
  1. MATSYASANA (FISH POSE)
Can I Do Yoga during periods?
  • Cross your legs.
  • Lie down on your back.
  • Place the knees on the floor, lift the head, and place the crown of the head on the floor.
  • Place your hands on your thighs.
  • Stay here for 5-7 breaths.
  • Slowly release your head, come up, and then release the legs.

 BENEFITS

  • Eases out lower back pain 
  • Eases out cramps
  • Remove the stiffness of the hips
  • Relieves tension in your neck, throat, and shoulders
  • Strengthens the quadriceps
  1. ANANTASANA (SLEEPING VISHNU’S POSE)
Can I Do Yoga during periods?
  • Lie down on the left side of the body.
  • Place your head above your ears.
  • Place your left hand above your ears.
  • Lift the right leg, and grab the toes or ankle.
  • Stretch the leg up and straighten the knee.
  • Stay here for 5-7 breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side.

BENEFITS

  • Opens up the pelvic floor and hips
  • Gives great stretch to the region
  • Reduces fat around your tummy, legs, and hips
  • Relieve symptoms of periods and menopause
  • Improves blood circulation
  1. BHUJANGASANA (COBRA POSE)
Can I Do Yoga during periods?
  • Lie on your stomach with your legs straight.
  • Place your feet together.
  • Place your hands under your shoulders.
  • Use your hand to push you, and lift your head and shoulders.
  • Breathe deeply and hold this pose for 30-60 seconds.
  • Breathe deeply and relax.

 BENEFITS

  • Strengthens the spine
  • Soothes sciatica
  • Tones the buttock
  • Helps relieve stress and fatigue
  • Therapeutic for asthma
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  1. MARJARYASANA-BITILASANA (CAT-COW POSE)
Can I Do Yoga during periods?
  • Get on your hands and knees.
  • Place your hands directly under your shoulders.
  • Keep your legs under your hips.
  • Take a deep breath in, and lower your belly towards the ground, while you gently stretch your head and bottom ( COW POSE).
  • Breathe normally for 2-3 breaths.
  • When you are ready to change your position, inhale deeply.
  • As you breathe out, curl your back towards the sky, with your head and bottom gently stretching towards the ground. (CAT POSE).
  • Breathe normally for 2-3 breaths.
  • Slowly go back and forth between these two poses.
  • Hold them each for 2-3 breaths.

BENEFITS

  • Improves posture
  • Improves balance
  • Relieves back pain
  • Calms the brain 
  • Relieves stress
  • Gives a good stretch to hips thighs and ankles

Yoga poses to avoid during periods

Firstly any kind of inversion pose should be avoided because during menstruation the natural flow of energy is in the downward direction.

Women’s health in their article suggests the same.

Inversion pose such as:

  • Shirshasana
  • Halasana
  • Dhanurasana
  • Karnapidasana
  • Sarvangasana
  • Bakasana

These poses hinder the natural downward flow and can create a lot of problems later.

Secondly, asanas that put a lot of stress on the pelvic region should be avoided. During menstruation, there are already a lot of contractions going down there so why give more pressure to that area by doing stressful asanas.

These include:

  • Strong backbends
  • Strong twists
  • Strong arm balances
  • Standing positions

Can I do surya namaskar during periods?

If the flow is medium and cramps are normal then one can practice Surya namaskar. 

It is advisable to do Surya namaskar very gently and very slowly.

However in case of excessive bleeding and heavy cramps one should avoid doing Surya namaskar.  

Tips for smoother experience

TIP-1 PRACTICE YOGA IN YOUR HOME

If you are practicing yoga at your home you will be in your comfort zone. 

This will help you in moulding yoga asana as per your wish. 

While if you practice yoga asana at a centre or with an instructor in a batch, you will have to obey their instructions which might not go along with your mood.

Because sometimes it happens that you do not want to do certain poses or want to finish it quickly.

So to have that extra comfort practice yoga in your home during periods.

Remember it’s just a tip based on personal experience, not a compulsion.

You can always find out what works best for you and act accordingly.

TIP-2 USE MENSTRUAL CUPS OR TAMPONS

Sometimes the problem lies with the period product we are using. Obviously, you are going to sweat while doing yoga or exercise and with your regular sanitary pads, you are going to get-

  • Rashes
  • Itchiness
  • Unpleasant smell 
  • And it is a perfect combination of leakage.

I am pretty sure nobody wants that. Even the best sanitary pads cannot save you from that 

Right?

So go for alternatives like menstrual cups or tampons. They take care of your menstrual hygiene and are very user friendly. Get yourself educated about these products and start using them whichever suits you the most.

To know more about them read-

TIP-3 PRACTICE YOGA REGULARLY

If you want a happy period and overall a happy lifestyle, you should try practicing yoga regularly and not just on your period days.

Sannyasi Bhakti Ratna (Kate Woodworth) in her article suggests some asanas that you should practice on other days of the month. This will help you to prevent the premenstrual syndrome, period pain, emotional disturbances, and other period-related problems.

Asanas 

  • Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
  • Sarvangasan (Shoulderstand)
  • Halasan (Plough)
  • Matsyasan (Fish)
  • Kandharasana (Shoulder Pose)
  • Ardha Chakrasana (Half Wheel)
  • Chakrasana (Wheel Pose)
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra)
  • Salabhasana (Locust)
  • Dhanurasana (Bow)
  • Paschimottanasana (Forward Bend)
  • Ustrasana (Camel)
  • Viparit Karani (Inverted Pose)
  • Sirsasana (Headstand)
  • Ashwini Mudra (Horse Gesture)
  • Akarna Dhanurasana (Archer’s Bow)
  • Marjariasan (Cat), Garudasan (Eagle)
  • Veerasan (Warrior), Trikonasan (Triangle).

Conclusion

No woman is the same and nor is her menstrual cycle. 

Some may have very light symptoms while others may experience painful cramps and heavy bleeding.

Practicing yoga is safe and if it works for you it is great but if any discomfort is experienced one should ditch the idea and should take a rest. 

In a nutshell, the idea is to listen to your body and bring a balance.

Menstruation is sensitive.

It is not only about physical change, it is also about changes in our emotions. 

So ladies clear all the negativities around you.

Relaxations techniques such as yoga Nidra, pranayama such as:

  • Ujjai (victorious breath)
  • Bhramari (humming bee breath)
  • Anulom vilom (alternate nostril breath)
  • Chanting of ‘OM’

are very beneficial to calm your mind. You can also try meditation for the same.

Accept yourself for who you are and love yourself, self love is the key.

The charge is completely in your hands.

Do share what is your experience with yoga. How is it helping you?

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