10 Yoga Poses to Relieve Pelvic Pain
If you have endometriosis, you’ve probably heard many coping suggestions. When I first realized I had endo, I remember being overwhelmed by Facebook comments and text messages suggesting everything from the paleo diet to elderberry syrup.
So when a friend recommended I try yoga to ease my pain, I shrugged off the idea as another snake-oil “miracle cure.” But over time, I started trying out some basic poses to find some sense of relief from my tight hips and cramping abdomen.
I realized that while yoga may not be a miracle cure for endometriosis, physical activity, and stretching can be helpful supplements to any treatment plan.
Can yoga help manage pain?
First, endometriosis pain results in part from inflammation. During your period, the endometrial tissue located outside of your womb will become inflamed because your body is trying to remove that tissue from your body.
If that tissue is located outside of your uterus, then it can’t be expelled as it normally would during your period. Every month, this same tissue remains trapped.
Still, your body repeats the painful process of trying to remove your endometrial tissue, whether or not that tissue is located in your uterus.
Medical researchers have found that gentle exercises and stretches can help your body remain flexible and reduce some of the inflammation that causes your pain. In a study from the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, patients with endometriosis reported feeling less pain when they started an exercise routine.1
The benefits of yoga
Yoga can also be beneficial because it promotes meditation and deep breathing. When someone does yoga, they may synchronize their movement with their breath.
For example, a person may bend down to touch their toes as they exhale, take a deep breath, and slowly reach their hands up toward the sky. This combination of physical stretching with deep breathing can be very meditative.
Meditation can help us cope with pain because it triggers endorphins, otherwise known as “fight or flight” chemicals in the brain. These endorphins help naturally reduce pain.
When we meditate, we relax our muscles and joints. This mental and physical relaxation can help provide a temporary respite from our flare-ups.
If you are looking to add some exercise into your pain management toolbox, you may consult with your doctor about starting yoga. Yoga has a deep and rich history in Indian history and culture, so it’s also good to support Indian yoga teachers when possible.
Poses to try for endometriosis pain
- Reclined Bound Angle - Supta Baddha KonasanaHalf
- Pigeon - Ardha Kapotasana
- Reclining Twist - Bharadvaja
- Happy Baby - Ananda Balasana
- Thread the Needle - Parsva Balasana
- Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend - Upavistha Konasana
- Butterfly - Baddha Konasana
- Frog - Mandukasana
- Bound Angle - Baddha Konasana
- Child’s Pose - Balasana
Many of these poses have different variations and adaptations, so don’t be intimidated if you are not very flexible or if your body doesn’t look like the models you may see when you Google these poses.
Let us know about your favorite yoga poses in the comments below.
Where has endo been found in your body?