Let’s be honest, exercise is usually the last thing on your mind during your period. Between painful cramps, bloating, and fatigue, just getting through the day is hard enough without adding exercise into the mix too.
Although you might want to curl up on the sofa with a hot water bottle and snacks, sometimes doing some simple, light movement can help to relieve uncomfortable symptoms. Studies have found that low-intensity workouts such as yoga and pilates can lower cortisol and prostaglandin levels, which in turn helps to alleviate menstrual symptoms.
So roll out the yoga mat and try out our favourite stretches below, just promise us you’ll jump straight back onto the sofa to chill afterward?!
Legs Up The Wall
You might recognise this one as it’s gone viral on social media recently. Kicking things off with a very do-able movement, all you need for this one is a wall and a pair of legs, and a cushion for added comfort. This pose works to relax and stretch your muscles, which in turn kicks back at period cramps.
1. Grab your mat and bring it to the wall, along with a thin cushion for your head for comfort if needed.
2. Scoot yourself up to the wall, with your tailbone still on the floor.
3. You should feel a light stretch in the back of your legs. From here, breathe deeply for anywhere from one to three minutes.
Many people report lower back pain and discomfort during their period. For that reason, some light stretching can help to lessen some of that pain. Doing this pose also lengthens the abdominal muscles, strengthens the spine and firms the buttocks – so a win-win altogether!
1. Begin by lying on your stomach with your legs together.
2. Place your arms under your torso, supporting your weight with your elbows as they remain parallel to one another.
3. Deeply inhale, lifting your head and chest up into a backbend, using your hands to push your body upward.
Another great one to relieve upper back pain and tension. With this, you’ll feel a stretch across your chest and shoulders, as well as the hips and glutes.
1. Start lying flat on the mat with your knees bent.
2. Exhale and grab your knees to your chest, holding them for a breath.
3. Extend your left leg on the floor, keeping the right leg drawn to your chest. Place your right arm outstretched on the mat.
4. Shift your hips slightly to the right and drop your right knee over the left side of your body, keeping your left hand gently resting on your right knee.
5. Turn your head to the right, keeping your shoulders down and away from your ears and neck. Hold the pose for 10-20 breaths.
Child’s pose can help soothe abdominal cramps by stretching and relieving tension in the area.
1. Kneel on the mat with your knees bent parallel to one another and your big toes touching.
2. Sitting back on your heels, exhale as you lower your torso forward, keeping your arms backward and resting your forehead on the mat.
3. Breathe slowly in and out, holding the pose for as long as feels comfortable.
Butterfly Pose Forward Bend
This pose gives a gentle stretch to the inner thighs, groin, and knees. It stimulates the kidneys, ovaries and adrenal glands.
1. Sitting on your mat, bring the soles of your feet together.
2. Bending your torso forward, place your arms in front of you.
3. Hold the pose for 10-15 breaths, allowing the movement of your lungs to massage the inside of your body.