Yoga Asanas During Menstruation

Should I do Yoga or any other physical activity during menstruation? Well, this is a very common question that every female has as it is a phase in the month where a woman is going through a lot in her body relating to the reproductive system and hormones. The answer to this question cannot be generalized to all as it depends on how someone’s body is coping with menstruation. Few of them have a very heavy flow and severe cramps and so should avoid any kind of physical activities and try to rest it out. But others who are okay to do slight movement should indulge in activities that can make them busy and distracted from any kind of discomfort created during this period like going for a walk or indulging in some activities like plantation, painting etc.

Yoga definitely helps in reducing the discomfort but it’s suggested to do it in a way that is not stressful but more relaxing. For example, one can go for 3 – 4 days of Yin or restorative yoga where the muscles that have been worked out are relaxed during this period which will make them ready for good muscle strength post completion of a cycle. During the cycle, the entire body is already having a lot of heat generated due to the hormone activity to carry out the whole process. So, it is best to not do any intense practice and generate more heat. Especially the core and pelvic muscles are already contracted which causes a lot of cramping. So best is to do some hip-opening Yoga Asanas in a relaxed way using props or support. Also Anulom vilom, Yogic Breath are some the Pranayamas that can help a lot to focus on breath and thereby assist in getting into a meditative state.

Below are some of the Asanas that can be practiced to get some relief from the cramps

  • Wide-legged child pose (supported)
    • Sit in Vajrasana with knees wide
    • Keep a bolster or a pillow in between the knees
    • Fall forward on the bolster
    • Stay here for a couple of breaths
  • Goddess pose (supported)
    • Take your legs 4 feet apart with heals inside
    • Place a chair in between the legs
    • Bend both knees and try to sit on the chair
    • This posture will look like a goddess pose but it will be relaxing as you are taking the support of the chair
  • Upavishtakonasana (supported)
    • Sit in dandasana
    • Spread both the legs wide apart
    • Keep a bolster or a pillow in between the legs
    • Fall forward on the bolster
    • Stay here for a couple of breaths
  • Supta Badhakonasana (supported)
    • Come into butterfly pose
    • Place blocks under the knees if they are hanging up
    • Place a pillow under the lower back for support
    • And lie on your back
    • This is a posture where there is a deep relaxation happening in the hips
  • Veer Bhadrasana B (supported)
    • Come to Warrior B pose
    • As this asana is very stressful on your legs and core muscles, we make use of a chair for support
    • Place a chair in between the legs and stay here for a couple of breaths.
    • You can relax your hands if it is too tiring
    • You can also do variations like a reverse warrior if your body is in a condition to move
    • Repeat this on both the sides
  • Janushirshasana
    • Sit in Dandasana
    • Bend your right leg at the knee
    • Drop your right knee towards the right so there is a right angle created between both the legs
    • Slightly twist yourself towards the left and fall forward on the left leg
    • Stay here for a couple of breaths
    • Repeat the same on the left side

As you can see all the above postures are targeted to open the hips or provide relaxation to the pelvic muscles so the impure blood can flow out of the body in a much more efficient way.

What should be avoided?

  • Any kind of Inversions like head stand, handstand should be strictly avoided during menstruation
  • Any asana or workout that provides a lot of stress to the core muscles should be avoided, as those muscles are already contracted
  • Heating pranayama like kapalbhati, Ujjayi, and sbhastrika should be avoided

Make sure you know your body and its limitations during this phase and accordingly choose the workout pattern during this phase.

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