Yoga is essentially a spiritual discipline based on an extremely delicate science, which focuses on bringing synchronization between the practitioner’s mind and body. It is an art and science of healthy living and thinking. The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’
Yoga plays a significant role in regulating women’s monthly menstrual cycle and also easing the menstrual cramps to a large extent.
Yoga practice during menstruation is a controversial and frequently researched issue. There are those who say that no woman should practice yoga during her menstruation, others say practice everything. Some say practice inversions, others say avoid. Some say a strong practice is useful, others say to practice restorative asanas.
Every woman is different with regards to menstruation. Some may not have any side effects, low energy or even feel different at all then they do during the rest of the month. While others have such extreme pain, mood swings, fatigue, bloating, irritability and so on that they have to stay in bed for the first few days. Because no woman is the same in regards her menstruation, there are no hard and fast rules with respect to what to practice during menstruation but there are some general guidelines that can definitely help drawing an outline. What is important is that we listen to one’s bodies and mind during this time.
Menstruation is a time of heightened awareness and sensitivity. It doesn’t necessarily mean irritation or whining. Many times, the problems that women have during this time of the month becomes more real at this time and affects them more strongly. At this time, it is particularly useful to examine, assess and list these problems and find the long-lasting solutions to them. Menstruation is a time to explore and possibly look within. It is a time to nurture and heal the body and mind.
Moreover, the way women look at their menstruation greatly differs between women too. This is mainly because of involvement of hormones to a profound level. Some women prefer to ignore it as much as possible, to pretend or distract themselves from what is going on with their body. Strength is good but women should also have the awareness of their bodies and give space and time to listen to them. It is not to say that women should hang around the house all day, not doing anything but they can treat their bodies with care and respect. We should put in efforts to remain balanced and therefore cultivate inner strength.
Relaxation techniques such as yoga-nidra can be extremely beneficial for women in clearing away the negativities and bringing acceptance and positivity of one’s self.
The main reason why women choose not to practice yoga is be due to the associated symptoms of menstruation. If a woman is having very extreme menstruation pain, then even the thought of practicing will cause negative emotions. The best practice at this time is then yoga-nidra and some gentle pranayam such as bhramari (humming bee breath), anulom-vilom (alternate nostril breath), ujjayi (victorious-breath) and deep breathing. Om Chanting has also be very beneficial.
If women are not feeling too uncomfortable then a yoga asana practice can be useful as well to help lighten period pain or back pain, balance the emotions – mood swings, anxiety, anger, depression, irritability and gently open the pelvic region, relieving any congestion during the flow. Menstruation is a time to vary and explore one’s yoga practice to look within and find the peace and tranquillity.
It is highly recommended to avoid doing vigorous or exhausting yoga asanas.
It is true that during periods women have better blood circulation than other days and body functions perfectly internally. Also in olden days women used to have very good physical workout like cleaning and lifting water, stone grinding (weight training) etc at home itself. So, during periods there was a need for them to take a break from heavy workouts as well. Daily yoga was not prescribed for them. But today’s professional and sedentary lifestyle there is not much of physical activity and women have extra stress over their minds too. Hence it is guided by health professionals to practice yoga every day.
Maybe during the periods, one can avoid exerting herself or extreme yoga postures and do only breathing techniques along with some gentle pelvis opening in a relaxed posture.
Irregular period is a very common condition nowadays. Usually, a menstrual cycle is 28 days long on an average but it can range from 21 days to 35 for some. It is said to be irregular if a woman have not had her periods for over 35 days or have experienced bleeding within 21 days of your previous period. Irregular period can happen once in a while and it is normal but it is advisable to consult a gynaecologist if this irregularity occurs frequently. It is caused due to changes in the hormonal levels, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), excessive or no exercise, changing birth control pills and also using certain medications. Other reasons for irregular periods include thyroid issues, pregnancy, breastfeeding, uterine fibroids, intrauterine device and stress.
One of the best ways to regulate your irregular period, painful menstrual cramps and menstrual disorder is Yin yoga. Here are some yoga asanas to help you regulate your periods.
- Dhanurasana (Bow pose)
- Ustrasana (Camel pose)
- Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
- Malasana (Garland pose)
- Baddha konasana (Butterfly pose)
- Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
- Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
- Marichyasana III (Marichi’s Pose)
- Pasasana (Noose Pose)
- Patangasana (Butterfly pose)