Hi there, I’ve heard so many different opinions about whether/how to practice during your period. What are the instructors thoughts here? How do DYWM instructors adjust their practice for menstruation, or not? Also, recommendations for specific videos/practices here that are recommended during menstruation?
Yes there are a lot of different opinions on this matter and I always advise students to follow what resonates with them. Traditionally from an ashtanga yoga perspective it is advised not to practice on new moon days or while menstruating. Many students of ashtanga follow this advice but some do not. Other styles of yoga don’t really have a set policy on this and it is left to the discretion of the student. I personally take it easy during this time on my mat, avoid deep twisting, long inversions, and anything really strenuous.
I’ve thought of trying to create my own 30 day sequence for this reason, with a few days of shorter, gentler, restorative-type classes built in. Otherwise I find myself having to skip over days of the challenges and then feeling I haven’t done it ‘properly’.
Thanks Fiji, that is very helpful!
Yes I agree, I wonder about that with the challenges/multi-day sequences also. It would be great to have a 30-day sequence that gives space for/attention to menstruation and our bodies’ specific needs during that time. I’d love to know if there are specific videos that you’ve found/find as you piece together your sequence!
I’ll take this opportunity to jump in here! We’ve received a few requests for classes that women can do during their period, so we’re planning to film one or more to post early in the new year.
Hey, great question. In my training (Ashtanga and Iyengar) many people who menstruate are advised to really mellow their leading up to and during their periods. I think this really depends on your personal experience of how postures affect you both physically and energetically. Some folks find that engaging their abdominals and twists can increase cramping, while hip-openers can be comforting, or may crave standing poses or cosy long holds or meditation. Many traditions advise against inversions where your pelvis is above your heart and offer legs up the wall as an alternative. These potential effects of inversions are an ongoing debate among practitioners. Here’s an Iyengar practice from Silva and Shyam Mehta: (I’d start with some neck stretches, back and hamstring activation like cat/cow and the start of Surynamaskar) Badda Konasana (bound pose aka butterfly with feet together) and Upavista Konasana (open leg foot reaching with straps) both upright seated with back against the wall starting from Dandasana (staff); forward bends Janu Sirasana (heel to groin, head to knee), Ardha Badda padma Pascimottanasana (bound half lotus forward bend) and Triang Mukhaikapada Pascimottanasana (half hero forward bend- may need prop under butt on your extended side); Pascimottasana (full seated forward bend from staff); Supta Badda Konasana (reclined, bound angle pose); Setu Banda Sarvangasana (modified bridge) on bolsters or bench with body slightly elevated (eg: mattress or 2 bolsters with belts) and head/shoulders on floor or props- could sub legs up the wall; followed by Pranyama series of deep inhales<exhales, inhales<deep exhales, and deep inhales and exhales. Yoga asanas while menstruating is a fantastic motivation to invest in some bolsters and belts! A great resource for yoga and menstruation, including asanas is Yoga a Gem for Women by Geeta S. Iyengar (Our beloved late teacher’s daughter).
Great, thank you so much! That is very helpful and great information. And thank you so much for passing along the Iyengar practice and the book recommendation.
In case you haven’t seen, we do now have a class for that is designed to be done during your period. It’s with Sarah-Jane Steele, and it’s called Moontime Yoga: A Restorative Practice for Menstruation.
Yes, I just did that class for the first time the other day. It was great!
Thank you so much.