How Yoga Can Help a Woman Through Menstrual Cramps

Women can benefit greatly from a regular practice of yoga. Yoga keeps the body healthy, provides balance to the mind, and nourishes the soul.

Yoga can help women at all ages deal with the hormonal changes they experience throughout their lives, from puberty to pregnancy to menopause. It can also help them manage the symptoms of certain health conditions.

Menstrual Cramps

A woman’s menstrual cramps — also known as dysmenorrhea — can make exercise the last thing she wants to do. But a light yoga practice can actually help ease those pains.

Cramps can feel like a dull throbbing in the abdomen, pelvic area and lower back. They can be so bad that women sometimes miss school or work. Exercise, however, can help to relieve the pain by releasing endorphins, which is the body’s natural painkiller.

Many people wonder if they can do yoga during their periods. While practicing full yoga poses during this time can be uncomfortable, many women find that gentle and restorative yoga helps alleviate back pain and bloating and it also helps to balance the emotions. In addition, deep breathing and chanting can also be beneficial. The best thing to do is listen to your body and only do what feels comfortable. Corpse pose (Savasana) is an excellent posture to do during this time.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

During the course of their lives, most women experience dramatic hormonal changes from puberty, pregnancy and menopause. Managing these fluctuations through regular exercise and a healthy diet can help to reduce bloating, mood swings, breast tenderness and other symptoms of PMS.

Symptoms of PMS typically occur in the days leading up to a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle and stop shortly after her period begins. If the symptoms are severe, a doctor may diagnose her with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is a specific psychiatric condition.

Studies using a diary to measure daily PMS symptoms have found that aerobic and resistance exercise significantly reduces these symptoms. Further investigation on the mechanisms through which these exercises affect the symptoms could lead to the development of new, non-pharmacological treatments for this common disorder. This area of research also has implications for understanding how cultural influences on women’s reproductive health influence diagnosis, symptom expression, management and care. Women’s thoughts and reflections during these exercises are also worth exploring for their potential to enhance the current treatment of PMS and related disorders.

Breast Cancer

Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have many issues including fatigue, emotional instability, pain, and musculoskeletal problems such as muscle and joint complaints. These complaints significantly affect quality of life and may influence adherence to therapy.

This study will include 140 women who suffer from these symptoms and who are randomized into either a yoga group or a control group. The yoga group will be exposed to a yoga program that consists of a combination of slow movements and breathing exercises.

Results from previous studies have shown that participation in exercise improves functional ability, restores fitness, and enhances quality of life for women who have undergone endocrine therapy for breast cancer. However, the effect of yoga on arm range-of-motion and strength, function, and quality of life has not yet been investigated. This randomized controlled trial will provide evidence on the effectiveness of yoga as an intervention to improve arm function and reduce the risk of lymphedema.


Women are especially susceptible to a wide variety of hormonal changes and fluctuations during menopause, often with the accompanying symptoms. These include hot flashes, mood swings and a difficult time sleeping. Yoga can help by balancing hormones, soothing nerves and encouraging restful sleep.

It can also help to improve the flow of energy in the pelvic area and, according to women’s holistic health expert Christiane Northrup, many gynecological problems (such as fibroids, endometriosis and diseases of the ovaries) are manifested by blocked or stagnant energy. Regular practice of the Cat Pose and Cow Pose, which move the spine through a range of motions and stretch both the front and back of the body can help to keep the flow of energy balanced and healthy.

Studies have shown that women who practice yoga regularly tend to have a lower risk of bone loss and osteoporosis, which is often a problem for menopausal women. However, the quality and method of research for yoga in this context is inconsistent and these findings should be interpreted with caution.