Ladies, we don’t exactly jump for joy during this time of the month. But wouldn’t it be beautiful to celebrate this stage of womanhood, rather than dread it?
Restorative yoga can relieve many symptoms of PMS, including fatigue, anxiety, cramping, bloating, and muscle tension. Paired with additional rest, this gentle practice can create a comfortable cycle.
Here is a sequence to boost pelvic health, ease PMS, and to encourage an overall sense of wellbeing. If you do not own a yoga bolster, you can substitute with pillows and stacked blankets.
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Butterfly) Hold for 3-5 minutes
Benefits for PMS relief: Softens hips and groins, frees energy flow to the pelvis, helps balance reproductive organs
Moving in: Sitting in front of the bolster, draw the soles of the feet together, and place blocks under the knees. Pull the bolster towards you and lie back. Use a blanket under your head as a pillow, and rest your arms at your sides with palms facing up.
Note: If the bolster is uncomfortable for the low back, remove it and finish the pose flat on the mat.
Moving out: Use your hands to push your knees together, bringing the soles of the feet to the ground. Roll to one side, and push up into a seat.
Supported Balasana (Child’s Pose) Hold for 1-5 minutes
Benefits for PMS relief: Relieves low back pain, opens hips, thighs, and ankles
Moving in: Open the knees wide and bring the bolster towards you, spreading a blanket underneath the body for knee and ankle support. Placing a tightly rolled blanket in between, push the hips to the heels, and lie forward on the bolster. With the head to one side, place the arms on the floor. Periodically turn the head to the opposite side to balance the neck muscles.
Moving out: Press the palms into the floor, coming into a tabletop.
Upavistha Konasana (Seated Wide Angle Pose) Hold for 1-5 minutes
Benefits for PMS relief: Massages reproductive organs, releases hips and groins, relieves low back pain
Moving in: Set up two or three blocks at the end of the bolster. Extend legs in a straddle, and move forward. Rest your head to one side, periodically turning the head. Release hips fully into the floor.
Note: If your head does not rest comfortably to the side, stack your fists on top of one another, and place your forehead on the top fist.
Moving out: Press your hands into the floor and slowly lift up.
Savasana (Corpse Pose) Rest for 10-20 minutes
Benefits: Alleviates fatigue, calms the mind, provides deep relaxation for entire body
Moving in: Place a bolster under the knees and a tightly rolled blanket under the feet. Put an eye pillow over the eyes and sink in the earth.
Moving out: Bend the knees, placing the soles of the feet on the mat. Roll over to one side and pause before coming up to a seat.
Sometimes just moving out of bed during menstruation can be a small victory, and practicing asana may feel out of reach. Adding restorative poses during your cycle can help you start to feel like yourself again.
Honor what it means to be a woman, using the power of yoga as your guide.
Images courtesy of Christie Pitko