Opinions vary on whether women should practice yoga during the time of their menstrual cycle. Yoga is a useful and healthy practice that can be wonderfully beneficial for our minds and bodies, especially during menstruation when unpleasant symptoms and hormone imbalances can cause heightened sensitivity. Since our bodies are delicate during the menstrual cycle, the opinion on whether practicing certain yoga positions during this time is divided.
Since menstruation affects every woman’s body differently, whether or not you should practice yoga during the time of menstruation is dependent on how comfortable you feel doing so.
There is an ongoing debate on whether certain yoga positions are safe during menstruation. While there is no consensus on the matter, both sides weigh the pros and cons of practicing yoga during a woman’s time of the month. The practice of inversions during yoga is the primary focus of this debate. Inversions are yoga poses that include headstands, handstands, and shoulderstands, which position your head below your heart.
The argument against the pose states that it is dangerous to practice during the menstrual cycle because there is a risk of developing endometriosis due to the unnatural flow of menstrual blood back into the uterus and fallopian tubes. While this is a common idea, no research has readily shown that the position can be harmful to the body during menstruation.
How is yoga beneficial?
Despite controversy, there are plenty of yoga positions that can have a calming and relaxing effect on woman experiencing their menstrual cycle. Practicing positions that allow you to become more grounded and relaxed can help alleviate any emotional disturbances that come along with the symptoms of menstruation.
Practicing gentle asana positions can help alleviate some menstrual symptoms. Gentle forward bends can help soothe the abdominal and pelvic region to relieve the heavy bleeding and cramping commonly associated with periods. Gentle backbends can alleviate back pain and pelvic discomfort. Assuming gentle positions such as placing your legs up against the wall and laying on your back can help remove the stagnant blood from the legs and help open up the pelvic region.
It is probably better to avoid asanas that will put extra pressure on the abdominal region, as that may exacerbate cramping and heavy bleeding.
Some useful positions include Marjariasan (Cat Pose), Vyaghrasan (Tiger Pose), Titaliasan (Butterfly), Sulabh Koormasan (Simple Tortoise Pose), Simple Pigeon, and simple supine spinal twists.
If your period symptoms are especially painful or uncomfortable, you can practice much simpler exercises to help ease some of the distress your body is experiencing. Practicing some pranayama breathing exercises can help. Lay on your back, place the soles of your feet together, and spread your knees wide.
While placing both hands on your abdomen, take full, deep breaths right into your belly. This should relax you and ease the pain. You should put any strain on your breath, and also avoid any fast breathing that will increase heat and can cause heavier bleeding and excessive pressure on the abdominal region.
If you’re experiencing very low energy during your menstrual cycle, it is probably better to practice low energy poses rather than pushing yourself to complete high energy techniques.
It is suggested to do your home practice during the menstrual cycle rather than going to a yoga class, since in a yoga class you may feel inclined to follow the instructor and push yourself harder than you should. Instead, you should be practicing yoga for yourself, and should listen to your body in order to have a full and soothing experience. Toning back on your practice during menstruation is recommended especially if you typically experience negative symptoms during this time, although it is not the case for everyone as the effects of menstruation vary from woman to woman.
Practicing yoga during your period can be a calming and healthy experience. It can alleviate stress and pain, as well as improve your physical and mental health. Yoga can help balance emotions and relieve congestion in the pelvic region. As long as you listen to your body’s signs, practicing yoga during menstruation is completely safe and can even have a beneficial impact on the body and mind.