Here Are The Best Yoga Poses For Period Cramps

Painful periods can make you want to curl up with a heating pad and not move for days. But before you hide under the covers, try pulling out a yoga mat instead. A great yoga session during your period can feel especially calming, going deeper than deep breathing and taking a mental break.

According to a review of 15 studies published in "The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine," in addition to improving your mood and concentration, yoga can also help relieve bloating, breast tenderness, and cramping (via Time). "Yoga is actually a great strategy for taking away cramps, because it works the pelvic floor muscles on both sides of the sacrum," Dr. Heather Bartos, an OB-GYN and certified yoga instructor, told Popsugar. "If we think about how period cramps are essentially 'labor' pains that we are trying to rid your body of menstruation, then these yoga poses all make sense because they are working the back and pelvic muscles into different positions to prevent over-cramping." 

Just like stretching before a workout, yoga can help relieve the pain you're already in, while also assisting in preventing the pain from getting worse. Whether you're stuck behind a desk or you're able to stretch out from the comfort of your bed, here are the best yoga poses to ease period cramps.

Yoga poses for the bed or floor

As it turns out, relief from period pain can be achieved laying in bed or on the floor. Krissy Jones of Sky Ting Yoga told Teen Vogue she recommends Bound Angle Pose pose. "It's a restorative pose, good for lower body ailments," Jones explained. The Bound Angle Pose stretches the groin and can be done either seated or reclined, per Yoga Journal.

Child's Pose is another yoga pose that can help relieve menstrual pain. In addition to being a relaxing pose that's easy for beginners, Jones explained to Teen Vogue that Bound Angle helps to relieve tension in your lower back. Supine Twist is another great back stretch that also massages "the abdomen, digestive system, and reproductive organs."

The Head-to-Knee Forward Bend, otherwise known as Janu Sirsasana, helps continue to massage the digestive system and reproductive organs, while also helping to strengthen back muscles, according to Yoga Journal. Plus, per Jones, "Forward folds are soothing to the nervous system."

One last laying down pose to try that's recommended for relieving everything from period cramps to stress is the Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose. To ease period pain, this is a pose you're going to want to do with your legs propped up on a wall. Not only does the pose help stimulate blood flow, but it also takes weight and pressure off of your hips, lower back, and sacrum, bringing relief to your entire lower body, per Popsugar.

Yoga poses for when you're stuck at work

Period pain strikes whenever it wants. Thankfully, there are a few poses that you can do in your desk chair. Cat-Cow Pose is a pose that Dr. Heather Bartos told Popsugar was great for period pain relief. Cat-Cow works on your pelvic floor muscles by contracting them, giving your uterus a bit of a break. Plus, there's the added benefit of tension being released from your back and abdomen. While this pose is normally done from a table-top position, Cat-Cow can be done while sitting, either with your feet on the floor or cross-legged. 

Forward Fold Pose can also be done from the comfort of your office chair. Forward folds are effective in relieving pain because of the stretch and strengthening this pose brings to your back and hips. If you want, you can try this pose standing, too. To round out a good back-stretching break, add in seated Spinal Twists. Spinal Twists stimulate circulation, help support concentration, and help massage and stretch your back, abdomen, and hips, per Yoga Journal.

Stretching your hips can be a good habit to get into in general, but it can also bring relief to period pain, so be sure to give Pigeon Pose a try. Piegon Pose can help promote flexibility in your hips, which can relieve the tension menstruation puts on your hips. Additionally, Dr. Heather Bartos told Popsugar that in addition to helping with flexibility, Double Pigeon "helps to balance the hormones in your body."

It certainly seems like yoga can help bring a sense of peace to both mind and body.