A question I receive fairly often while assisting at Yoga Teacher Trainings or on guest podcast episodes is this~
Is it healthy for women to practice yoga while menstruating?
Most yogis have an opinion on this subject. Traditionally in Ashtanga Vinyasa, women are instructed not to practice yoga during their menstrual cycle. Other forms of yoga traditionally did not allow women to participate in the practice at all.
So what really is the answer? Is it healthy to do yoga while bleeding? Are there any contraindications? What is the true perspective on the subject from a health AND yoga stand point?
The most important thing you must ask yourself is this: by practicing yoga during your cycle, are you honoring your body?
For some women, this is an absolute yes. For others, not so much. Traditionally, women tend to feel lower energy during their cycle and may not feel inspired to participate in a strenuous yoga practice. Learning to honor what your body naturally craves is a massive step in connecting to your body. You may find that some days during your cycle, a yoga class sounds really ideal. On other days, it may sound like the worst idea ever.
A huge part of the Divine Feminine is the nature of change. Our bodies have the tendency to shift moment to moment, so learning how to read your body and what she desires is a powerful practice.
All of this to say: practicing yoga while menstruating is a hugely personal decision. Likely, there are no contraindications to practicing while bleeding - in fact some women report that it actually helps reduce their cramping.
In my own personal yoga practice, I honor what arises for me each day. Sometimes during the first day of my cycle, I'll opt out of yoga and instead take plenty of space to rest and experience self care. Other days, I'll feel inspired to flow and move.
If you do choose to practice yoga while menstruating, I do recommend avoiding inversions like headstand, handstand, forearm stand and even shoulder stand. Inverting your body disrupts your body's natural process of bleeding, so I recommend taking a few days off from practicing inversions during your cycle.
Do you typically practice yoga while menstruating? How does this experience feel?
If you want to learn how to make menstruation an empowering and sacred experience every month, listen to our podcast about empowered menstruation here!