7 yoga poses for the premenstrual phase: how to ride the tide

So you have been noticing there are times when no matter how hard you try to keep your self-control, things just fall apart – and I mean it literally as well!

Chances are you are getting caught in the waves of the premenstrual phase of your menstrual cycle. Next time it happens pause for a moment, look at your calendar and see if you are expecting your period in the next 15 days.

Premenstrual phase: switch into a low gear

Premenstrual phase is the time of the month to turn inward as your body prepares for menstruation – if pregnancy did not occur. Your hormonal changes lead the way and you can’t fight back. Your energy intake and expenditure increases.

If you don’t know when your period is due, you can still practice the yoga asanas I suggest below when you feel low on motivation and energy, have problems sleeping, experience mood swings.

I strongly recommend that you write down the days you practice and how you feel to start being more aware of your menstrual cycle. You will then be able to analyse the situation in retrospective when your period starts.

If you have been trying to hold your horses during those days for a while now, you know how hard it can be.
For some reason you keep losing it. Something happens and you end back to your angry, emotionally unstable, grumpy self.

Not this time.

Because this time you are going to be equipped with 7 yoga poses to ride the tide during the premenstrual phase.

Before we dive into these incredibly effective tools to support yourself, let me tell you a secret.

Premenstrual phase secrets

You just can’t be as productive, clear and organised in your premenstrual phase as you can be during other times.

I like to divide the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle into post ovulatory and premenstrual phases as they have a very distinct energy.

You better tune in with your body and notice when this changes happen to get the most out of your premenstrual phase and harness its powers.
Instead of desperately trying to replicate an extrovert, multitasking, energetic self, tune in with the premenstrual phase and get more into quiet activities, wrap up and get things finished.

This shift in perspective will allow you to hold space for yourself and better control yourself as you ride the waves of the luteal phase.

So if you need to tap into a little more calm and ease, try these yoga poses.

7 yoga poses to ease through the premenstrual phase – practice as a sequence or on their own

1. Supta baddha konasana (supine bound angle pose):

supta baddha konasana to ease through premenstrual phase

STEP 1: Sit down with your legs straight in front of you, then bend your knees and join the soles of your feet.

STEP 2: Make a big loop out of your yoga belt, then place it around the front of your ankles and your sacrum. Make sure the free tail of the belt is towards you so that you can easily adjust the belt once you are lying down.

STEP 3: Rest your trunk and head on the mat or blanket and adjust the belt so that your heels are as close to your perineum as your inner thighs and groins allow. These should stay soft.

STEP 4: Make sure the belt remains around your sacrum at all time.

STEP 5: If your head tilts backward you can support your neck and head with one of more blankets. You can also use a pillow.

BENEFITS: reduces abdominal tension and cramping, pelvic pain, restores energy.

SUGGESTED TIMING: 5 – 10 minutes.

2. Adho Mukha Virasana (downward facing hero pose):

adho mukha virasana to ease through premenstrual phase

STEP 1: From your hands and knees bring your buttocks backwards, place your knees separate on the mat, bring your toes together and heels apart.

STEP 2: Place your sit bones on top of your heels and rest your trunk and head on a support. Use blankets and pillows to give yourself enough support so that your abdomen and neck feel soft and long. Support your forehead as shown in the picture.

BENEFITS: quietens the mind, soothes the nervous system, improves emotional balance, reduces abdominal tension.

SUGGESTED TIMING: 1 minute.

3. Adho mukha svanasana (downward facing dog):

adho mukha svanasana to ease through premenstrual phase

STEP 1: Spread and ground your hands, straighten your arms fully and bring the weight of the body back as you lift your sit bones higher and bring the outer hips back. Keeping that in place, straighten your legs to your ability.

STEP 2:Your abdomen should be long and soft, away from the root of the thighs.

STEP 3: Now rest your head on a support, at whichever height it feels appropriate. You can also place your hands on yoga bricks to make the pose more accessible. Be careful that your neck stays long and relaxed.

BENEFITS: quietens the mind, keeps yourself grounded.

SUGGESTED TIMING: 30 – 60 seconds

4. Uttanasana (intense forward stretch):

uttanasana to ease through premenstrual phase

STEP 1: With your feet well grounded and your legs straight, go on hinging forward at your hips, until your trunk is parallel to the floor.

STEP 2: Now place your hands on the floor, under your shoulders. If this is difficult, use yoga brinks, books or even a chair.

STEP 3: Release your head down and rest it on one or more yoga blocks. An alternative is to rest your forehead on the sit of a chair, holding the sides of the chair with your hands. Add as much height as necessary.

STEP 4: Relax your forehead fully.

BENEFITS: quietens the mind, keeps yourself grounded.

SUGGESTED TIMING: 30 – 60 seconds

5. Baddha konasana (bound angle pose):

baddha konasana to ease through premenstrual phase

STEP 1: Sit on a yoga bolster, pillow or stack of blankets with your back at the wall.

STEP 2: Bend your legs at the knee and join the soles of your feet. If your feet hurt, place a blanket underneath. If your knees are higher than your hips, support your outer thighs with yoga bricks or pillows.

STEP 3: Place your shoulders and back of the head at the wall.

STEP 4: Rest your hands on your thighs.

STEP 5: Make sure you are sitting upright, from the center of your sit bones to the top of your head. If that’s hard, place a vertical yoga bolster behind your back, against the wall.

BENEFITS: soothes pelvic tension.

SUGGESTED TIMING: 1 minute

6. Upavistha konasana (seated wide angle pose):

upavista konasana to ease through premenstrual phase

STEP 1: Spread your legs wide apart with your back at the wall. Check if you need to sit on a yoga bolster, pillow or stack of blankets for your back to be erect at the wall while sitting on the center of your sit bones.

STEP 2: Straighten your legs and keep your feet perpendicular to the floor.

STEP 3: Place your hands on the floor behind your thighs. Shoulders and back of the head are at the wall.

STEP 4: Make sure you are sitting upright, from the center of your sit bones to the top of your head. If that’s hard, place a vertical yoga bolster behind your back, against the wall.

BENEFITS: soothes pelvic tension.

SUGGESTED TIMING: 1 minute

7. Viparita karani (legs up the wall pose):

viparita karani to ease through premenstrual phase

STEP 1: Place a bolster or 3 – 4 blankets folded tightly next to a free wall.

STEP 2: Sit sideways on one edge of the stack, then swing your legs up the wall while lower your trunk down. Your head and shoulders should be on the mat while your buttocks and leg touch the wall.

STEP 3: Don’t worry if your legs are not fully perpendicular or straight at the beginning. Focus on finding the right support so that your face and neck are relaxed and your abdomen feels soft and spacious.

BENEFITS: improves hormonal balance, immune system functionality, quietens the mind.

SUGGESTED TIMING: 5 – 10 minutes

There you have it, 7 yoga poses to ride the tide during the premenstrual phase. They have been working for me, give them a try as a full sequence if you have 30 minutes or one at the time. See if they work for you too.

And if you feel stressed all the time and would like to learn exactly how to relax to restore your energy – and I am not talking lying on the sofa scrolling through social media – head over to my blog post 3 steps to create a relaxation ritual for hormonal balance.

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PSST: want a detailed guide to turn your menstrual cycle into an ally?

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