Yoga for the Luteal Phase
Try as I may to fight it, there are a few days every month when my BS meter goes on high alert, and my tolerance for others dips low. I usually start my period a few days to a week later and only then realize I owe an apology or two. Sound familiar?
Welcome to the Luteal phase of your cycle, where the hormones estrogen and progesterone are at an all-time high, causing uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, breast tenderness, insomnia, AND bingo, irritability. But fear not, there is a secret weapon, a four-letter word that won’t offend your mother and absolutely can and will ease your symptoms… yup, it’s yoga for the luteal phase!
I know, I know, I’m like a broken record, but the truth is, yoga IS so stinking helpful! It can feel like a magic wand at times, quickly providing relief from irritability, cramps and lower back pain, bloating, and constipation. When it seems like nothing will make me feel normal again, yoga does the trick. With a few simple postures, I can return to my life and myself feeling grounded and centered.
The best part is it’s free, and it’s not rocket science. Even beginners can use these poses and do yoga for the luteal phase to ease the discomfort. Now that you’ve heard my spiel let’s talk about poses that will feel good in the two weeks before your period.
Of course, we would start here. I once had a teacher who said if all you ever do is unroll your mat in the kitchen and take child’s pose for five minutes every day, you’ll be better off than most! This resting pose can alleviate cramps and calm the mind. Start on hands and knees and bring your bottom back slowly toward your heels. Knees can be close or wide. For extra yumminess, stack a couple of pillows long ways under your spine to support your upper body. Set a timer for 5-15 minutes and enjoy. Fuzzy socks and PJs are optional. This pose is also nourishing for the Menstrual phase. Read about more poses for when you bleed here.
This pose is a twist for the spine that puts compression on the belly. It’s a sort of wringing out of the internal organs that helps the digestive system to function properly and relieves discomfort in the abdomen. From the seated crisscross applesauce, reach both arms up toward the sky and then twist toward the right side, dropping your right hand behind you and your left hand to your right knee. Imagine the twisting action of the spine beginning from the navel rather than from the neck. Reach up with the crown of your head and twist a bit deeper on the exhale. Stay for a few breaths and then inhale back at the center, raising both arms up toward the sky before taking this to the other side.
Reclining Bound Angle
Also known as sweet relief, don’t be surprised if you fall asleep. This pose helps to open up the hips and release tension in the pelvis. It also stimulates blood flow to the uterus and reduces menstrual cramps. Yippee! Set up lying on your back with the bottoms of your feet touching. Let your hips open, and your knees fall out to the side. If one or both of your hips are tight to start, stack a pillow or folded blanket underneath. You need to be able to relax. Any straining will be counterproductive for your reproductive reprieve. Set a timer for 5-15 minutes, and with your eyes closed, watch the breath with your awareness. Let your breath fill your belly like a balloon as you inhale, and let it softly empty out on the exhale.
Supported Bridge Pose
This pose strengthens the back muscles and improves circulation. It also helps to relieve fatigue and reduces anxiety. While laying on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the earth, step your feet a little closer to your bottom. Press into both feet, lifting the hips. With the hips elevated, slide a pillow beneath the hips at the sacrum and release your body weight down onto the pillow. Set your timer for 3-5 minutes, and let yourself simply relax.
Legs Up The Wall Pose
This is a gentle inversion that promotes blood flow to the pelvic region, relieves menstrual cramps, and reduces headaches. Lay on your back (yes, you’re seeing a pattern here, ladies: rest). This time you’ll need to be near a wall. Let your legs rest upward onto the wall, and wrap a blanket from your feet to your neck. The softer, the better. Set time for 5-15 minutes and enjoy. Give these a try, and let me know how it worked when you return to your slay. Err, I mean day.
Ps. These are just a few of my favorite poses of yoga for the luteal phase. Any gentle practice that emphasizes restorative calming poses can be helpful during this time. You can also practice soothing breath techniques like Alternate Nostril Breathing and Bee’s Breath. These help balance hormones and calm the mind to do yoga for the luteal phase.
Remember to listen to your body and adjust your practice to your needs.
Go slow and don’t push yourself too hard. Sending love. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be free.
Margie Sanders is a mentor, Vibrational Sound Therapist, and Yoga Teacher with a passion for peace.
Her teachings weave ancient practices with modern-day science and technology for a deeper understanding of what it means to truly care for ourselves. Margie’s love of yoga and energy work began 22 years ago, back in her hometown of St Charles, MO. As life evolved and she became a mother, her practice became a valuable tool in managing stress. Feeling empowered by the peace, balance, and physical strength her yoga and meditation practice brought to her life, Margie embarked on a quest for more knowledge. She has now completed over 1,000 hours of teacher training, including special certifications for trauma-informed yoga, vibrational sound therapy, pre-natal yoga, meditation, yoga for chronic pain, paddleboard yoga, restorative, yoga for kids, yin yoga, chakra yoga, yoga for recovery and addiction, and more!
Margie considers herself a lifelong student and is presently in pursuit of her yoga therapy license.
Margie’s classes weave mindfulness, optional challenges, and classic alignment into creative harmony while encouraging playfulness to make yoga fun for all levels. She has studied with dozens of teachers and pulls inspiration from the collective, as well as the teacher within. Margie has taught over 2000 yoga classes and continues to teach yoga and sound therapy classes and trainings both online and in person at Bliss House Yoga in La Vernia, TX.
Margie’s Mission Statement:
“I believe yoga is a journey of empowerment that stretches our body, mind, and spirit. It meets us day after day exactly where we’re at. When we roll out that mat, we show up for ourselves. Some days we’re strong, happy, eager. Other days we’re weary, broken, and weak. But we show up. We show up ready to take the journey because we know that all beings everywhere deserve to be happy and free. You are worthy of these things and so am I.”