She arrives every month but never seems to get any sweeter—your period. Yes, a menstrual cycle is a sign of a healthy female body capable of incredible things (creation of life, NBD)! But, if we’re being real here, it can also be annoying. There’s the headaches, the bloating, the mood swings (watch out), the cramps, the general sense of “ugh.”
If you’re battling those three little letters (PMS), yoga can be an effective way to alleviate symptoms. We know, working out might not be at the top of your to-do list, but these poses are restorative and simple—you can even do them in your bed (score). To explain and demonstrate these poses, we enlisted the help of yoga instructor and THE/THIRTY contributor Alexis Novak.
Read on for her take on yoga poses to ease your PMS.
Child's Pose (Balasana)
How to Do It: Bring knees as wide as is comfortable for your lower back and hips. Touch your big toes behind your tail and reach your arms out in front of you.
Why It Helps: “This is a very supported resting posture. It is also a relieving shape for the lower back and belly. Putting pressure on the center of the forehead, on the bed, or your yoga mat helps to down-regulate the endocrine system that gets revved up during our beautiful menstrual cycle. Breathing deeply in this posture can remedy cramps or ease the stress of PMS irritability,” Novak says.
Legs Up the Wall Pose (With a Pillow for Support)
How to Do It: Find a wall or use the headboard of your bed to get into this supported passive inversion.
Why It Helps: “This is an amazing remedy for belly bloat and overheating. The inversion of the legs helps the entire body calm down and reset. This is also a calming stretch for the lower back, and it helps take a load off of our swollen feet!” Novak explains.
Supine Pigeon (Reclined Figure-Four)
How to Do It: Place your right ankle of your left thigh, and rest your left foot on your headboard or a wall. Use the bend in your knee to leverage the stretch to your hips and IT band.
Why It Helps: “Joint pain is a terrible but common side effect of PMS, and this gentle stretch sends some fluid to the tight tissues, and it can help with all-over body soreness,” Novak says.
Meditative Sitting or Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
How to Do It: Sit gently in a cross-legged position. Take a few deep breaths into your belly and calm the heart rate. Rub the palms together to generate some heat and place them on the belly. Repeat for 20 minutes.
Why It Helps: Breathing deeply helps to slow our heart rate, and also focus emotional energy. The heat from your palms is also a nice relief for cramps and pain.
Do you find yoga restorative when you’re on your period? We would love to hear your experience!