Yoga during menstruation
Our culture is very much “carry on” as usual. No matter what. We are tired, so we drink coffee and carry on as usual. We have a headache and remedy it with numbing out the pain with a Nurofen – and carry on as usual. We suffer from heartburn and indigestion and we pop an anti-acid – and carry on as usual.
Women get their periods and, you guessed it, carry on as usual. Even if we might experience headaches, fatigue, tiredness, cramps or backache.
Some of us are blessed with a pain free easy period. And we have energy to pretty much enjoy our moon, or bleed, much like any other day.
Listening to our inner wisdom
Living according to our inner wisdom we need to take time to check in with ourselves: how do we feel? Energetically, emotionally, mentally and physically? This is true at any time. But during our period it is a wonderful practice to notice what is going on. And how we respond to any discomfort – regardless of whether it is feeling irritable, emotional, angry, achy, heavy, sad, nausea, experiencing cramps or headaches.
Perhaps this is your time for you.
For contemplation, introspection and simply being. Time to check-in. We are seeing a resurrection of Red Tents. Red Tents were the traditional practice of women coming together when bleeding. Space for women to connect and hold space for each other. For others to do the cleaning and cooking while menstruating women simply take time to be. Our modern Red Tents work slightly differently but the intention is the same. A time to be.
I go into details on how to honour your cycle (and all phases of your moonthly cycle in the Feminine Cycles and Seasons online course)
Should you practise yoga when you menstruate?
The body is focusing on releasing. Blood along with some of the inner lining of the uterus and the unfertilised egg is being released. The energy is Apana Vayu – the downward force of Prana moving in our being.
This is all a natural process and we honour it by giving space for our body to simply do what it needs to do: Releasing.
We reduce our activities by being more contemplative, relax and be.
We trust our body (not our ego) to guide us. Medically there is nothing wrong about practising yoga or any sports during your period. From a Western medical perspective, there is no reason why you shouldn’t do inversions for example.
However, from an energetic or yogic perspective, we honour Apana Vayu. So we don’t practise inversions as it may disturb the Pranic flow. Often when we practise inversions we engage our Mula Bandha/root lock and pelvic floor. In that way, we also restrict Apana Vayu.
Modifying your yoga during your period
But moving is often helpful. Maybe at this time you skip your strong power yoga or hot yoga and enjoy a more calming or slow flow practise. Or perhaps you simply want to chill out and lie on the sofa – because your body is asking you to do so. Not because of laziness but your inner wisdom.
In general, listen and observe your mind and body when practising through the month as our body does change including hormonal changes which affect our ligaments too.
I go into great details on each phase of the menstrual cycle, including yoga videos, in our Feminine Cycles and Seasons online course on menstrual awareness, ayurveda and yoga.
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