All yoga is based in an ancient practice, but its modern popularity is evidence of how adaptable the practice is to individual needs and preferences. Some people come to yoga for exercise alone, while others practice only its meditative elements for spiritual or mental healing and self-care. Because of both physical and emotional elements brought up by certain poses, those who menstruate may find that their practice changes throughout the month. Here we have some specific yoga for menstruation paired with supplement suggestions. Poses and nutrients that can offer relief and promote overall well-being during different phases of your cycle.

If you are interested in learning more about nutrition that is supportive of the female body, check out the blog post linked here.

Flowing Through Your Month

The four phases of a menstrual cycle are the menstrual (bleed) phase, the follicular phase (preparing for ovulation), ovulation, and the luteal (pre-menstrual) phase.

Child’s Pose (Balasana) – Menstrual Phase

During the menstrual phase of your month, begin your yoga sequence with Child’s Pose. This gentle resting pose is especially soothing as it promotes relaxation and helps alleviate menstrual discomfort.

By allowing the belly to rest on the thighs and the forehead to touch the mat, Child’s Pose gently stretches the lower back, hips, and thighs. You may want to widen your knees for additional relief from lower abdominal cramping. Keep your knees closer together if your cramps are primarily in the lower back.

This pose encourages deep breathing, calming the nervous system and reducing stress, which can be particularly beneficial during the menstruation period.

Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani) – Menstrual Phase

Returning to a restful pose, Legs Up the Wall is especially beneficial during the menstrual phase. This gentle inversion encourages blood flow to the pelvic region, relieving menstrual cramps and reducing overall discomfort. The pose also has a calming effect on the nervous system, helping to alleviate stress and anxiety. Legs Up the Wall provides a restorative escape, promoting relaxation and balance during the menstrual phase.

This gentle inversion is also a compromise on two schools of thought in yoga. Some practitioners advise avoiding inversions (headstands, handstands, etc.) during the bleed phase of your cycle, while other practitioners do not. Legs Up the Wall does not invert the uterus, while it does provide a break from gravity to your legs while you relax.

Vitamin E is a terrific supplement during menstruation. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, supports healthy inflammation and comfort during the menstrual period, and has been associated with lower levels of menstrual blood loss [1].

Similarly, magnesium is a great nutrient to supplement during the menstrual period. It plays a role in physical processes of relaxation and has been shown to ease discomfort associated with menstrual symptoms [2].

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) – Follicular Phase

Transitioning into the follicular phase, embrace the rejuvenating qualities of Cobra Pose. This heart-opening backbend strengthens the spine and stimulates the abdominal organs, promoting overall vitality. Cobra Pose also helps relieve fatigue and elevates mood by releasing endorphins. As the body prepares for ovulation and your fertile period, this pose encourages a sense of renewal and invigoration.

Cat-Cow Pose (Marjarasana) – Follicular Phase

During the follicular phase, embrace Cat-Cow Pose. This dynamic flow between arching and rounding the back helps to increase flexibility in the spine and stimulate the reproductive organs. Cat-Cow Pose also promotes blood circulation in the pelvic region, fostering a healthy reproductive system. Additionally, the rhythmic movement aids in reducing tension and promoting a sense of balance, preparing the body for the upcoming ovulation phase.

Vitamin D may be an appropriate supplement at this time, depending on your individual exposure to sun and circulating vitamin D levels. Vitamin D status is associated with a female’s fertility, and females with healthy vitamin D levels are more likely to express healthy levels of estrogen [3].

Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana) – Ovulation Phase

Celebrate the ovulation phase with Goddess Pose, a powerful stance that taps into the strength and grace within. This pose engages the inner thighs and pelvic floor muscles, promoting stability and balance. The expansive posture of Goddess Pose opens the chest and heart, fostering a sense of empowerment. As hormonal levels peak during ovulation, this pose helps channel that energy positively while also encouraging a strong connection between mind and body.

Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) – Ovulation Phase

During the ovulation phase, turn to Pigeon Pose to release tension in the hips and promote flexibility. This hip-opening pose stretches the pelvic region, easing discomfort and promoting emotional release. Pigeon Pose also stimulates the abdominal organs and encourages circulation in the reproductive system, supporting overall reproductive health. Embrace the introspective nature of this pose to connect with your body and mind during this fertile phase.

If you are considering conceiving a child, or are fertile and sexually active, consider taking a folate supplement. Low maternal vitamin B-9 (folate) levels from conception through the first trimester, are associated with neural tube defects in the growing fetus [4]. Maintaining healthy levels of folate may be more difficult for the half of the population with inefficient MTHFR gene variants. Taking a supplement with methylfolate, the activated form of folate, however, is effective for raising circulating active folate levels for all people, regardless of genetics.

Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana) – Luteal Phase

Enter the luteal phase with Supported Bridge Pose, a restorative posture that gently stretches the spine, hips, and thighs. This pose provides relief from tension and discomfort associated with premenstrual symptoms. The gentle inversion of Supported Bridge Pose also helps regulate hormonal balance and alleviates stress. Additionally, the pose stimulates the thyroid gland, contributing to a sense of calm and emotional well-being during this phase.

Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana) – Luteal Phase

As you enter the luteal phase, introduce Seated Forward Bend into your practice to calm the nervous system and relieve tension in the lower back. This pose gently stretches the spine, hamstrings, and pelvic region, providing relief from premenstrual symptoms. Seated Forward Bend also has a soothing effect on the mind, promoting relaxation and mental clarity during this introspective phase of the menstrual cycle.

The luteal phase is often when females experience emotional swings associated with shifting premenstrual hormones. Calcium supplements have been shown to not only support a balanced mood during the premenstrual period, but also support body comfort, a healthy appetite, and sustainable energy levels [5]. 

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