Asana and Menstruation
Word Menstruation is still a taboo and a less discussed topic. Every woman faces different challenges during the menstrual cycles and deals with it as a part of their daily life.
How Yoga changes your thought process and how you deal with menstruation … Below is an example of one of Asmyi student Supriya ‘s experience after joining Iyengar yoga
Going with the flow: Iyengar Yoga during the menstruation
Menstruation is a natural phenomenon and a healthy part of women’s life.
Regularity of the menstrual cycle helps women to know if the hormones are in or out of balance. It also helps us to learn more about the bones, thyroid, reproductive and metabolic health.
I came to understand about menstrual cycles more only after experiencing it myself under the guidance of my teacher at ASMYI. It was magical. I always believed my menstrual health to be perfectly alright. My menstruation is always on time, never missing a month except for the time when I conceived till the time I was nursing my child. I rarely feel any pain or discomfort during my menstruation cycle. I play sports, travel and it never bothered. Heedlessly, I continued to practice all the asanas including inversions like Sirsasana and Sarvangasana which is strictly prohibited during menstruation as per Iyengar Yoga.
In every class my teacher makes sure to tell us to skip inversions if we are menstruating and guide us to do asanas that will aid in the menstrual process. Initially I would ignore however the instructions are repeated in every class. Hence one day, I followed just for sake and communicated about my periods to the teacher. I was asked to avoid certain asanas and practice specific asanas such as Supta Baddha Konasana, Supta Veerasana, Upavishtha Konasana in addition to a few forward bends, all in a particular sequence which made no sense to me in the beginning.
However, to my surprise my menstruation for the first time began and ended within 5 days. So this is where it was probably not going right earlier. My menstruation duration has always been between 10-11 days. It had been like that since I remember and so I got used to it. And over time I began to accept it as normal. In fact, this prolonged duration of the flow may be a cause of any hormonal imbalance that I was not aware of.
This made me aware that Synchronizing the asanas along with the monthly menstrual cycle have a subtler yet deeper impact on our bodies as well as on our minds which we should not undermine.
Geeta S. Iyengar in Yoga Rahasya has mentioned that,
…one should not perform inversions during menstruation as it arrests the menstrual flow. They dry up the uterus and can lead to complications like cysts and fibroids if practiced during menstruation. However, one should immediately commence the practice of inversions after the completion of menstruation since it is the time for the re-establishment of hormonal balance. They strengthen the uterine system. Such a practice will prevent diseases like endometriosis, leucorrhea, and also miscarriages. They help in maintaining the health of the reproductive system.
Therefore, being aware of the sequence of the asanas is very crucial during as well as pre and post menstrual phase.
This helps immensely in
1 regularise the period cycle, its duration and the blood flow;
2 reducing pain and discomforts that women often go through during the monthly cycle
3 combating fatigue and
4 most important yet least paid attention to- emotional and mental well being.