Each day of your period seems to bring with it a hellish new set of symptoms that make you want nothing more than to curl up in bed with a heating pad and a pint of Häagen-Dazs.
As easy as it is to transform into a lazy slob during your menstrual cycle, it's actually much better for you to remain as active as possible during this time to help ease the intensity of your cramps.
I know, I know. The word "active" probably makes you cringe, especially in the context of your slow and painful death as your uterus releases all hell on every pair of underwear you own.
But there's no need to get your blood-stained panties in a bunch. No one's asking you to go run five miles or spend an hour at the gym.
A new review of studies has shown that a handful of simple yoga poses can provide relief for even your worst period cramps.
The research established a link between yoga and decreased harshness of symptoms in women suffering from various forms of PMS.
Because we know just how brutal each day of your period can be, here are seven yoga poses to try every day of your next cycle.
1. Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
This is a great pose to do on the first or second day of your period, when your cramps are at their most intense. The bound angle pose opens up your hips and stimulates both your abdominal organs and your ovaries.
Sit on your mat with your legs straight out in front of you. Take a deep breath in. Exhale as you bend your knees and pull your heels in toward your pelvis.
Allow your knees to drop slowly to the side while you press the soles of your feet together. Make sure you're not forcing your knees down.
Turn the soles of your feet outward as much as you can while you focus on your breathing.
2. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
The bow pose can be great for any woman who suffers from back pain during her period.
To get into the position, lie on your stomach with your arms at your sides, palms facing up.
Breathe in, and exhale as you bend your knees, bringing your heels as close to your butt as your flexibility will allow. Breathe in again as you reach your hands back and hold the tops of your feet. Exhale once you get into the official pose.
Coordinate your breaths with the stretching of your feet toward the air. Inhale as you point your toes, and exhale as you release the tension.
3. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
This is your go-to yoga pose if you tend to get tummy problems during your period. The camel pose can help improve digestion, so you can cut down a little on bloating.
Start by balancing on your knees, which should align with your hips, while the rest of your body remains upright.
Rotate your thighs inward and press your shins and the tops of your feet down into your yoga mat.
With your elbows bent, rest your hands on your lower back, just above your butt (which you should avoid squeezing), and point your fingers down.
Tucking your chin slightly toward your chest, slowly lean back until you feel a nice, good stretch in your back.
Beginners can stay here, but if you're a little more advanced, or you feel like pushing yourself, let your arms dangle a bit, and then move your palms to rest on top of the soles of your feet.
4. Malasana (Garland Pose)
If you're feeling a bit constipated during your period, the garland pose is definitely for you.
Start off by standing with your feet slightly wider than the width of your shoulders. Bring your hands together in a prayer position, and bend down into a wide, deep squat.
Close your eyes, and focus on your breathing for about a minute or so. When coming out of the pose, slowly stand up straight and lift your arms toward the sky, stretching upward.
5. Supta Matsyendrasana (Reclined Spinal Twist)
Save the reclined spinal twist for a particularly stressful day of your period, when the physical and mental symptoms are hitting you simultaneously in a perfect storm.
Relax on your back with your knees bent, your feet straight on the yoga mat and your arms at your sides.
Breathe in, and when you exhale, bring your knees in and hug them tight toward your chest.
Extend your left leg, but still hug your right knee. Use your left hand to turn that right knee over your opposite leg, keeping your torso as straight as possible.
Repeat with the other knee, and be sure to maintain deep, steady breaths throughout. In with the good, and out with the bad.
6. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
The cobra pose is perfect for any woman who really needs to catch her breath during her period. This move opens your lungs, providing relief for asthma, as well as sciatica.
Begin by lying flat on your stomach with the tops of your feet resting on the mat. Your elbows should be bent, and your palms should be facing down, almost as if you're ready to do a push-up.
Inhale, and lift your chest upward, still balancing on your palms. Exhale as you push upward as much as you can, while still keeping your hips down.
7. Matsayasana (Fish Pose)
If your cramps are leaving you totally exhausted during your period, that means it's time to get into the fish pose, which can help you beat fatigue.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the yoga mat. Inhale as you lift your pelvis up and slide your hands under your butt (palms facing down). Exhale slowly.
Inhale once more as you press your forearms against the mat and lift your torso up, arching your back as much as you can. Tighten the arch when you inhale, and loosen as you exhale.
Citations: How to Feel Better on Your Period (Tampax), The Effect of Yoga on Menstrual Disorders: A Systematic Review (The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine), Yoga Makes Period Cramps Feel Better (Time), Bound Angle Pose (Yoga Journal), Bow Pose (Yoga Journal), How to Do Camel Pose in Yoga (YogaOutlet), How to Do Garland Pose in Yoga (YogaOutlet), How to Do Reclined Spinal Twist in Yoga (YogaOutlet), Cobra Pose (Yoga Journal), Fish Pose (Yoga Journal)