There are many types of yoga - Ashtanga, Hatha, Bikram, Iyengar, and while they’re all good for you, Vinyasa yoga is one of the best types for easing your period. At its core you're constantly moving, connecting postures, and staying active. It's the activity; the gentle, but frequent movements of Vinyasa yoga that ease your period, and gentle exercise is generally known to help with the pain.
Yoga is a practice, so it does take time to get it right, but even beginning to breath in a yogic way, and flowing through the moves (awkwardly or not), and making a conscious effort to stay centred makes a difference.
When you’re actively trying to manage your breathing in order to become a yoga goddess, your body naturally focuses on that, and not the building pain.
The key elements of Vinyasa Yoga include:
Stretching Gentle stretching is key for easing abdominal pain. It may seem like the last thing you want to do, but speaking from experience I can’t recommend it enough. It’s not a miracle cure, but I’ve found practising Vinyasa yoga stretches before, and during my period reduces the pain significantly.
Hip and leg stretch
Relaxing Stress can aggravate pain, but yoga is famed for being a stress-buster because you’re usually in a meditative state. Slow, but effective movements are a crucial element of Vinyasa yoga, and it’s the repetition of the key moves that makes for a more harmonious state; finally hopping gently to ‘standing pose’ (as opposed to jumping/falling in previous attempts), is an achievement, and the wave of happiness brings a euphoria with it too.
Staying centred Focusing on you, and only you is easier said than done. When you’re in a calm environment practising Vinyasa yoga can seem like a breeze, but when you’re due, or on your period, and noise is a feature of your home it can be near-impossible to stay in a calm space. Staying centred however means you can block all external distractions out and focus on your breathing. I cannot tell you how important this is for a happy period. Being what some may consider selfish, and focusing on your natural rhythms is one of the elements of Vinyasa yoga, and being in touch with yourself, and finding ground with your body is what will, and does help ease the pain of a period.
Practice Leading up to my period I try to practise yoga every day. I don’t have the time for an hour long class, so instead I practice Vinyasa yoga teacher Sadie Nardini’s Youtube videos, for sometimes as little as 15 minutes in my bedroom. It’s not long, but it’s effective, and stretching my limbs for a quarter of an hour each day without a doubt reduces the pain I’ve previously experienced with my period.
Ujjayi breath Ujjayi breath is the breathing technique which is practised throughout your yoga session. The breath is broken down into three stages: initially you breath through your nose, down to the lower belly, allow the breath to rise to the lower rib cage, and breath out through your nose. Initially breathing in this way is difficult, but once you get started it becomes as natural as 'normal' breathing. Maintaining ujjayi breath throughout your practice will encourage a detoxifying process, but mostly an overall sense of control, which is incredibly reassuring when your period can be erratic and painful.
For an easier time, give it a go, and if you can’t make it to a class try online videos, and maybe you’ll be in ‘open goddess’ finding your centre when it’s the time of the month.
If you have any experience with yoga or any tips to help with period pain please share it with our readers by leaving a note in the Comments section.