There are many debates amongst yoga practitioners about whether it’s ok to do yoga during your period, some like to steer clear of any kind of practice, others opt for limited postures and some just continue as normal. Here’s what I think…
The reason there is such a debate about it and no one can agree on one answer is because WE’RE ALL DIFFERENT. And our body is constantly changing from one day to the next, not to mention our emotions, especially when that time of the month creeps around. The most important thing to think about when deciding if you want to do yoga during your period is to ask yourself ‘How do I feel?’. Just take a moment to close off your eyes, sit in a comfortable position and get into both your physical and emotional body. Once you have an answer to your question then you can decide for yourself whether yoga during your period is a good idea or not.
Personally I have no set rule for this. Some days I feel like practicing a a normal flow (apart from a few postures that I’ll go into in a minute) and other days I won’t want to practice at all. Both situations are totally OK as long as it’s what both my body and mind are in need of. It’s good timing for me to be writing this blog post as I’m having a particularly horrible period this month. I don’t usually get period pains, but WOAH these last few days have knocked me off my feet and even now that the pains have subsided, my body feels a bit heavy and sluggish. Yesterday was the worst day, so I decided to stay off my mat, but my body didn’t want to just lay down as I think that would have made it worse, so I cleaned the house and pottered around tidying… I nice middle grown between nothing and yoga I think! Haha.
Today I’m feeling much better and even though I’m still on my period, it’s much lighter, so I think I’ll get on my mat and see what happens, just taking it super easy. Like I mentioned though, there are a few postures that I tend to avoid. BUT that being said I don’t avoid them all the time, sometimes my body is in need of a handstand, so I’ll have a play around for a little bit when I’m coming to the end of my menstruation, when the bleeding is at it’s lightest.
POSTURES TO THINK ABOUT AVOIDING
I purposely put ‘think about’ in this subtitle because ultimately this is up to you. The main postures I’m referring to is any kind of inversion and this is because of the energy flow and blood flow in the body. Usually throughout day-to-day life our energy flow is working in a downward spiral, known as apana, so during menstruation this is extremely healthy as the body is naturally letting go of some waste. When we practice inversions our normal energy flow is reversed, going upwards, which is an amazing practice to help awaken new energies and get the blood flowing differently in the body. Inversions makes us feel alive, I think you’ll agree. But as you can now see, by doing them in yoga during your period it’s going against what mother nature has set out for us females during that time of the month. There are other more scientific reasons too, which talk about the uterus being pulled etc, but I recommend you doing some of your own research on this, as it’s a pretty big conversation.
The other postures I tend to avoid are super strong and intense ones like backbends and some arm balances. My reasoning for this is pretty simple. The body is already going through a process, sometimes causing pain, so why put it in more stressful positions and make it feel worse? Makes no sense, right? If you’re extremely advanced and aren’t experiencing pain during your period, then maybe if those postures come quite easily for you they won’t be a problem. Again, we are all different.
I’m not against building a bit of heat and fire in the body with yoga during my period, but not on the days when I’m most heavy as I find my body temperature is already all over the place so the last thing I want to do is make it even hotter. Some slow and gentle sun salutations are a nice go-bewteen, keeping it soft and light, modifying postures when I feel it’s necessary.
Do what feels right for you, but DO also think about it logically. If mother nature has intended for us to release something throughout these few days, then ask yourself ‘Should I be sending things in the opposite direction?’. I’ll leave you to answer that for yourself.
Any questions, as always, just comment below!
Love, Cat x