Yoginis, have you ever participated in a yoga class during your period and when everyone is working on an inversion or some abdominal work, and your body is saying “No, not today!”?
Are there other poses in the class that your body is instinctively telling you not to do at a certain time?
Having practiced for years in larger studios with little understanding of what a “special practice for women” is, I did many poses that did not feel right in the moment and I now better understand why.
During a woman’s menstrual phase the body is in a natural process of cleansing and we want to assist it with that downward flow of energy. Going upside down, twisting, or doing deep abdominal work can interfere with what nature is trying to help us achieve.
When I began studying Iyengar yoga, I was surprised to see some women in these classes doing their own practice. They would join in for some poses, use modifications for others, and do more restorative work while the rest of us practiced inversions or poses that worked the abdominals intensely.
Having now experienced the benefits of this quiet and steady work, there is no going back. Knowing which asanas to practice, which to avoid, and how to make adaptations can make all the difference in soothing physical discomforts or emotional rough edges that may occur during the monthly period.
If you are going to practice in a class environment at this time of the month it’s important to inform your teacher at the start of the class, and learn how to adjust your yoga practice to be safe and healthy.