Menstruation is a massive taboo subject in all aspects of life. Some cultures and religions believe that the woman is not clean during menstruation.
Therefore, women can’t engage in certain religious practices or social events. Since yoga comes from a religious background, it’s only natural to be part of the stigma.
Hatha yoga during periods sets yoga schools apart. Some people believe that inversions during your cycle are forbidden, and others allow them.
In many rural villages nowadays, menstruating women are seen as impure and even asked to stay in huts outside the village during the cycle.
Some yoga schools, like the B.K.S. Iyengar School of Yoga, forbid doing inversions, as well as the Ashtanga Vinyasa School. They state that during the moon days, women are supposed to take a little break and continue once they’re clean.
Below in this article, we will go through different beliefs and opinions on doing yoga during your menstrual cycle.
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Even though it’s very questionable what yogis think of doing yoga on your period, it has many health benefits. Things like meditation, breathing practices, and gentle poses can improve flexibility and stability. Yoga can also decrease nausea, weakness, yoga period pain, mood swings, irritation, and more.
The body alignment and concentrated breathing improve the oxygenation through the body so that it can cope better with the 4-5 days of your cycle.
Good health comes from good eating, taking supplements, and doing yoga improves and regulates the cycle. Usually, cycles are the best way to track your hormonal health, so severe symptoms and irregular menstruation are sure signs of visiting a doctor. If you neglect these issues, you have a high risk of developing severe conditions.
Considerations should be given to concerns such as excessive bleeding, potentially resulting in anemia; abrupt mood fluctuations that can contribute to depression; and extended menstrual cycles, which can be associated with PCOS and potentially increase the risk of diabetes. Addressing and resolving these matters is of paramount importance.
We have a small list of some issues that you have to get checked if you experience them frequently:
- You have an infrequent period without being pregnant, breastfeeding, or menopause.
- Your periods are really long or really short, and you experience dizziness, weakness, and difficulty breathing.
- You have lots of cramps and a high fever. Paracetamol doesn’t help with cramps; you have headaches and bleeding between your cycles.
Is Yoga During the Menstrual Cycle a Health Risk?
So, is yoga good for period pain? Most yoga programs let their students practice Yin yoga poses without extensive inversions so they don’t hurt themselves. Still, yoga is totally safe for period pain, and it might relieve it.
However, not all women can agree with that, as some have pain in their lower back or belly, and some feel dizzy. So doing inversions might make them sick, and without the additional energy during the period, they won’t be able to do heavy exercise.
If you are one of them, ask your teacher to adapt the asanas and skip any heavy exercise. The goal is to feel better after leaving the room.
But if you have lighter periods, we suggest doing light yoga to reduce the cramps and improve your mental health. Use up all inversions and be your best self on the mat.
Benefits of Yoga During the Menstrual Cycle
There are many benefits when it comes to yoga and your menstrual cycle. More and more women use yoga to regulate periods and improve their hormonal health without using drugs as much as possible.
One of the main issues of today’s society is obesity which can lead to insulin resistance, and this causes infertility and hormone imbalance. Practicing Hatha yoga daily can omit the hormone effects on your mood and fight depression and chronic fatigue.
You can overcome anxiety and stress with a few minutes of yoga and breathing every day. Not to mention your quality of sleep will be improved to the max.
Asanas to Avoid
It’s time to review which yoga to avoid during periods and, specifically, which asanas are not great for our physical health.
The primary type of asanas to avoid are inversions. When we practice them, a kind of prana called apana that goes downwards from the naval center to the cervix is reversed. This is good for increasing the prana and awakening the kundalini. Still, during menstruation, it can go against the natural flow. This can stop menstruation and lead to issues.
Also, during inversions, the uterus goes to the head. It causes broad ligaments to overstretch, and collapse of the veins can occur. This leads to open arteries that pump blood, and you might get more bleeding or vascular congestion.
You should avoid strong twists, backbends, standing, and arm balancing positions because they cause stress to the pelvic and abdominal area. This can increase the pain you are going through, and you might not have the energy to do them.
Power yoga, Surya namaskar, and strong vinyasa must be avoided because of the heavy bleeding and pain.
Bandhas must also be avoided because they move the apana up instead of going down, adding more pressure and heat. Just listen to your body and see which positions can be done and which you stray away from.
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For warming up, you can do the pawanmuktasan series 1, 2, and 3 from Swami Satyananda. Chandra Namaskar, or the Moon Salutation, is also suitable for a more calming and soothing practice.
You can also do gentle forward bends like Paschimottanasan (Forward Bend), Ugrasan (Ferocious Pose), Ardha paschimottanasan (Half Forward Bend),Shashankasan (Hare/Moon Pose), Janu Bhalasan (Standing forward bend), and Vajrasan Yoga Mudra Type 1 (Child’s Pose).
Do these poses to 50 or 60% of your capacity with bolsters or cushions, and you can even do very gentle twisting positions that can remove cramping and back pain.
Such twisting includes vakrasan (Twisted Pose) type 1 and gentle twists in sitting positions. Suitable backbends include Supta Titaliasana (Sleeping Butterfly), Supta Vajrasan (Sleeping Thunderbolt) with the support of bolsters.
Other good yoga poses to do are the Vajrasan series which are good for pelvic congestion, poses with your leg up the wall, and more.
Last but not least, other good positions are the Tiger Pose, the Cat Pose, Butterfly, Simple Gas Release Pose, Simple Tortoise Pose, Simple Pigeon, and supine spinal twists.
Of course, there are thousands upon thousands of poses to pick from but as long as you remember the guidelines and listen to your body, you will be fine.
When it comes to your period, there are many ways to make it better if you experience a heavy flow. The rule of thumb is to do some light exercise, drink plenty of water, avoid coffee as caffeine worsens the cramps, don’t drink soda, and avoid greasy and fried foods. You have fruits as a substitute for chocolate, but if you crave a chocolate bar or two, you can go that route.
Doing Hatha yoga during periods can be beneficial, and it might make you feel less bloated and more energetic or sleepy. Sleep quality is really low these days, so make sure to have a good night‘s sleep during your period. Play soothing music, meditate, shower before bed, watch something light and funny, and read a book.
Incorporate all healing methods into your menstruation days, and you will see that your mind will be clear and any mood swings will come around less and less.
We hope that this elaborated article gave you some useful tips and tricks and that next time you get your period, you can manage it better.
Is it safe to do yoga during your period?
Yes, you can do yoga during the menstrual cycle but be careful and listen to your body. If you have loads of cramps, skip the asanas and do meditation and breathwork. Improvise and experiment.
What should I do during my period when doing yoga?
You should stay hydrated and eat healthy food alongside some chocolate if you feel like it, especially the first two days. Don’t drink fizzy drinks, and avoid fried food as much as possible.
Can yoga omit taking painkillers when I have a heavy period?
For some women, it can substitute drugs, but for others, the pain is unbearable, and they might need strong painkillers to get by.
Should I do at-home practices when I am on my period?
You can go to the yoga studio without issues. Still, if you feel more comfortable at home, you can choose from thousands of Youtube videos online.