Reasons to Avoid Inverted Posture During Menstruation

By Patricia | December 11, 2008
Yoga Poses That Affect Menstrual Flow

Many yoga experts do recommend that women who are menstruating should avoid inverted yoga postures. These postures include the Baka Asana (Crow Pose), Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Pose), Vrischikasana (Scorpion Pose), Adho Mukha Vriksasana (Handstand Pose), Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose), Sirsha Asana (Headstand Pose), and the Hala Asana (Plough Pose).

There are many reasons why this is recommended. According to the traditional Yoga philosophy, menstruation is referred to as ‘apana’. This refers to a downward flow of energy. Performing an inversion when one is experiencing ‘apana’ is thought to interfere with this natural flow of energy.

Physiologically, avoiding inverted postures during menstruation can be explained based on the fact that they arrest the normal menstrual flow. This can dry up the uterus and lead to the formation of fibroids or cysts.

Inversions are also physically demanding poses that require high levels of strength and energy. Since most women feel less energetic during their menstrual periods, it is a good idea to avoid such high energy postures.

However, there are certain cases where inverted postures are actually known to be beneficial to menstruating women. Women who suffer from heavy flow can benefit from inverted postures as they can help to arrest the flow. These inverted postures should also be resumed once you have finished menstruating as they strengthen the reproductive organs and help to prevent diseases like endometriosis and leucorrhoea.

Many women prefer to not let their menstrual cycle affect their yoga practice. They prefer to continue practicing the inverted postures, but hold these postures for a lesser period of time. At the end of the day, if you are comfortably able to hold these postures, there is no reason why you should not try them; after all yoga is all about listening to your body.

Another option for those who wish to continue with their regular yoga routine during menstrual flow is to perform supported inversions. Instead of performing complete inversions, perform a partial inversion by resting your legs on the wall or other suitable support.

Energetic forms of Yoga such as Bikram Yoga and Power Yoga should be avoided while menstruating as they can increase fatigue levels and make you feel weak and lethargic during your menstrual period. If you are one of the lucky few who do not experience severe menstrual syndromes, you may continue to perform them, albeit at a slower pace.

For more information it is a good idea to consult your yoga teacher as he or she will be able to tell you about the poses that should be avoided, and those that should be performed, during menstruation.

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