The practice of Ashtanga Yoga during menstruation is a controversial topic among yogis. Some yogis believe that women should not practice any form of Yoga if she's in her period.
Others suggest to refrain from doing inversions. Others believe to practice restorative Yoga poses.
Women have different experiences and conditions with their menstruation. Others have no side effects or feel low energy level. It seems menstruation to them is like any other regular day. Yet, some suffer from pain, bloating and mood swings. Some also feel irritable in the course of their period.
Women don't have the same conditions. And, many yogis are questioning whether they should practice Yoga in this menstrual period. In reality, there are no written rules or regulations about the practice of Yoga during menses. But, use of guidelines could help ease the pain and condition your body.
Understand Your Body
Let us understand first what this menstrual cycle. Menstruation is a regular event in a woman’s fertile life. This is affected by our daily activities and habits. High level of stress, frequent travels, and even change in your diet can change your cycle.
When menstruating, it is important to be conscious of your cycle and listen to your body. It is safe to say that the condition of your cycle mirrors your mental and physical health. Hence, it is important to also practice reflection and meditation.
Women look at menstruation in varying perspectives. There are competitive women who chose to ignore it as much as they can. They want to detach themselves from this occurrence. These women want to prove that they are as capable and as strong as men.
Strength is necessary, but, it is also important to be conscious of your body and listen to it during this period. Make sure to invest efforts to stay balanced. It is also important to nurture your inner strength.
There are those who connect negativity with menstruation. They associate menstruation with uncleanliness, fatigue, weakness, and many other negative emotions. This could be due to upbringing, culture, beliefs, and other events in their lives.
Women have various reasons why they do not practice Ashtanga Yoga during their period. One is because of the symptoms and feelings related with it. If you are feeling weird during this time, it best to execute useful asanas to ease the pain.
For negative perspective, one should perform several relaxation techniques. This will help clear their mind from the negative things.
Best Ashtanga Yoga Menstruation Poses
Modified Salute to the Sun
You can perform the modified version of Salute to the Sun (Surya Namaskar). This yoga pose is known as Salute to the Sun. Perform this in a slow and gentle manner. This is not applicable for those with heavy bleeding.
You can do this by first letting it down to the belly and going up to Shalabasana, sphinx, or low Bhujangasana. It is useful to step back to plank and instead of jumping, lower down.
The shift from Chaturanga to Urdhva Mukha Svanasana must be modified. The reason for this is because the shift can stress or overstretch your pelvis and abdomen.
Standing Ashtanga Yoga Postures
Modifying standing yoga postures is best when performing yoga during menstruation. Here are some of the poses that can be modified:
1. In doing standing postures, you can modify it too. In Extended Side Angle Pose, put your front hand on a block for better support. Then, you can place your elbow on your thigh.
2. You can do Revolved Side Angle Pose in a modified way. Put your front hand inside your front leg leaving some space between the thigh and the abdomen. Maintain a space in your pelvis and execute twisting from your mid-spine going up.
3. You can do the modified versions of Intense Side Stretch Pose. Do this by bending forward while making your abdomen long. Do this in replacement to the chin-to-shin pose. You can use blocks or your hands for support
4. Also, you can execute the modified version of Wide-Legged Forward Bend. Do this by relaxing the abdomen and folding the knee a bit. You don’t have to reach the floor with your head like in extreme poses.
Seated Ashtanga Yoga Postures
Here are some seated yoga postures that you can do:
1. You can change the postures. Make it so the heel puts pressure on your belly. Instead of executing Seated Half Bound Lotus, do Three Parts Forward Bend Pose or Head-to-Knee Forward Bend A
2. Don't do Head-to-Knee Forward Bend B. Instead, do the modified version of Marichi's Pose A. Give emphasis in bending forward and keep your abdomen long.
3. You can execute the modified version of Marichi's Pose B. You can do this by using a yoga strap wrap around your heel. This will lessen tension and help you find the right alignment.
4. With Marichi's Pose C, change it by winding away from the flexed leg. This is helpful in case your abdomen feels sore, bloated, or tender. You can also do twisting in the direction of the bent leg. Keep your legs in a hip width distance.
5. Execute Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha) and Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana). These asanas are helpful for the health of your pelvic floor by removing tension on it. You can use support such pillows and yoga bolster. In doing this, breathe soft and relax.
For forward twists, don't put your head down. Instead, one should concentrate on lengthening forward. You can stretch your arms on the floor or in the block in front. To relax your belly, you can also do the normal sequence of Reclining Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana).
Closing Ashtanga Yoga Sequence
You can replace Upward Bow (Urdhva Dhanurasana) with Camel Pose (Ustrasana) if your flow is moderate to heavy. You can do this by placing your hips against the wall. Your hands should be on placed on the blocks beside your feet or on your sacrum.
It is better to use blocks since the blocks can push you in while you can still use your hand to lift your chest. Do not yet do inversions if your blood flow has not yet stopped or you still feel pain in your abdomen. All the time that you are executing these poses, always breathe using the lightest ujjayi. Don't strain yourself.
It is important to practice meditation during your menstruation. During this period, you are more aware and sensitive. You can do Antar Mouna or the method of creating inner peace where you can observe your thoughts. You can chant your personal mantras.
Do Yoga Nidra to keep your mind calm and at peace. There are other Ashtanga Yoga poses that you can do during your menstrual period. What is important is you are aware of the current state of your body.