ASK A YOGA TEACHER: SHOULD I PRACTICE YOGA DURING MY PERIOD

Updated: Jan 9

A COMMON QUESTION I GET AS A YOGA TEACHER IS “SHOULD I PRACTICE YOGA DURING MY PERIOD?” THE ANSWER IS MORE CONTROVERSIAL THAN YOU MIGHT THINK.

There is no one answer that works for every body. I choose to practice yoga during my period, most months. I have some months where I do not practice. On the months where I opt I do not practice on the first or second day of my period when bleeding is at it’s heaviest, however I return to my practice once bleeding has slowed.

Some practitioners may feel compelled to keep up their practice. Others may feel compelled to rest. Yoga asks us to listen to our bodies in real time, and be responsive. That said, if you decide to practice during menstruation it’s my recommendation that you avoid inversions.

Why? The apana prana naturally flows down from the manipura chakra to the mooladhara chakra. Apana prana flows in the blood & waste out of the body. Inversions reverse the flow of apana prana. In addition, when we do inversions the uterus is pulled towards the head, causing the broad ligaments to be over stretched. This can cause heavier bleeding and cramping.

Other asanas to consider avoiding are backbends and twists in the pelvic or abdomen region as they may increase cramping and bleeding. Practices like kapalbhati, uddiyana bandha, and nauli kriya generate heat in the body, which can also lead to both heavier bleeding, and diarrhea. You may have already noticed that you get diarrhea during menstruation, this is due to the fact that is already increased heat in the body at this time.

Should continue your asana practice while you menstruate these are some asanas you could consider practicing.

  • Chandra namaskar (moon salutation)

  • Sulabh Pawanmuktasan (or as I like to call it – farty legs posture)

  • Paschimottanasana (forward seated posture)

  • Supta Titaliasana or Titaliasana (reclined or seated butterfly posture)

  • Balasana (child’s posture)

Not feeling up to an asana practice? No worries – there are many way to practice yoga. Here are some other yoga practices to consider in lieu of asana:

  • Yog Nidra (yogic sleep)

  • Bhramari Pranayam (humming bee breath)

  • Sitali Pranayam (cooling breath)

  • Meditation (take time to self observe)

  • ॐ Mantra (chanting om)