Yoga Exercises During Menstruation
| September 30, 2008
Yoga is a holistic method of exercising that concentrates on balancing all elements in the body, not just the physical elements. Yoga helps calm the mind, reduce stress on your body and burn fat too.
Menstruation is a hormonally charged time for a woman and there are varied opinions on whether a woman should practice yoga during these days. Yoga while menstruating has no specific rule. Some practitioners tell you not to do yoga while others say it is perfectly okay to practice yoga. Rest seems like a good idea, but this is because your body is going through a physically trying time. To exercise them, to some, sounds like straining your body. If you have always been exercising, your body will handle itself through a session of yoga.
Whether it is safe or not depends entirely on the woman who is debating whether or not she should practice yoga during her periods. During menstruation, the woman’s body goes through a lot of changes including elevated hormone levels, stress on the body and different forms of pain. Every woman differs as far as symptoms are considered. Stress, travel, emotional upheavals, exercise, diet and many other factors play a role in a woman’s menstruation cycle. Whether she can or cannot do yoga is only something she can decide.
Pranayama is an important part of yoga too. Pranayama is a series of breathing exercises that work towards cleaning the body, removing all blockages internally and of course, calming the mind. There are different types of pranayama and most teachers suggest that not all are done during periods. The ones recommended are anulom vilom pranayama and ujjayi pranayama. Avoid some types of pranayama like antrik, bhaya, kumbhakas, bandhas, kapalabhati, and bhastrika.
Many women find it difficult to meditate when they have their periods, because of the pain and discomfort they experience. However, if you get an adequate amount of rest during the day, follow a healthy diet and drink a lot of water, you may be able to chant and practice Yoga Nidra more easily. Try to relax before you start meditating by playing some soothing music.
Today yoga is available in many styles. The more vigorous styles like hot yoga discourage women in periods to do yoga. These styles tend to be very exacting and can be tiring. Again, it depends on how uncomfortable you are with doing exercise during your periods.
The entire sequence of bikram yoga normally takes a person about 90 minutes to practice. There are no inversions in Bikram yoga, which is why most women prefer to practice this discipline during their menstrual cycle. However, it may be best for you to avoid two poses on the days of your heavier flow, which include –
- Standing Bow Pulling Pose (Dandayamana Dhanurasana)
- Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose (Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Paschimotthanasana)
In case you are wondering if Bikram Yoga is safe to practice during your menstrual cycle, it is best to check with your yoga instructor, as each woman is different.
In case you decide to practice yoga during your periods, it is important that you choose the right discipline. Many yoga experts recommend Hatha yoga during menstruation for women, mainly because this discipline is a combination of postures, deep breathing and meditation.
The different poses and exercises that are a part of Hatha yoga can help ease your pain and discomfort.
Asanas to avoid during menstruation
There are certain asanas or poses that should be avoided during the menstruating phase as they could put additional pressure on the abdomen and thus increase the bleeding. These poses won’t harm you but could definitely increase your discomfort. Some of these include:
Recommended poses during periods
These poses can help relieve back aches and other myriad pains that occur during menstruation.
You could take some precautions while practicing yoga even during your periods.
- Listen to your body. It might be telling you that it may not be able to do as well as it does every day.
- Your body is expending energy during your period so the aim should be to avoid poses that make your body work harder instead of relaxing it. Hence inversions and head stands are not recommended. The Adho Mukha Svasasana or the downward facing dog is a good alternate for an inversion if you are a regular yoga practitioner.
- Seek advice from your teacher. You might have some doubts which can be cleared up.
- Remember to eat well. Your body needs nourishment much more during this time.