Yoga & Menstruation

Practising Yoga during Menstruation? Yes or no?

 

This is an ongoing question. From my Shri Balaji, my teacher, who is an ayurvedic practitioner and a tantric master, I have learnt, that it is better to allow the menstruation to flow freely during the first 3 days. The time of menstruation is a time in which body and mind have the chance be cleansed and to rejuvenate, toxins and negativities are being expelled from the body. For this to happen, it is good to just take a step back, avoid  physical and emotional stress whenever possible and rather relax, have a nice meal, read a good book or take a walk.

The process of cleansing and expelling is regulated by the downward flowing energy, that we call apana in Yoga. Lots of yoga postures, especially all inversions, meditation and chanting will reverse this flow and bring the energy up, what we would like to have during the rest of the months but during the first 3 days it disturbs the flow. Therefore these techniques should be avoided. Recently I read an excellent booklet by Dr. Geeta Iyengar “The Practice of Women During the Whole Months” (from yogamatters for £2) which recommends among others postures that are beneficial during menstruation or in case of problematic menstruations. She also stresses that especially inversions avoiding the complete clearing of blood and tissue from the womb, leading to potential problems, and the importance of rest during menstruation.

Apart from avoiding a strenuous asana practice and meditation Ayurveda goes even further and recommends in these first 3 days:

  • avoiding a full bath and washing the hair (as this will bring the energy back up to the head)
  • preparing food for others

Then on day 4 all is changing by having a full bath, washing the hair and cleaning the rooms to invite fresh energy back in and to make a new start again.