Firstly, PMS chocolate brownie points for the above yoga period graphic, Jezzies.
OK ladies, chime in whenever you’re ready. Yoga during your period. Yay or nay? Reliable menstruating experts at Jezebel have taken on the question and went ahead to gather a few sources on the subject.
While much of the reasoning behind the “no yoga on your period” rule is steeped in Ayurveda to keep the natural direction of menstrual blood flow (that’s down and out!), there isn’t much modern day science to back it up. Still, if you tell any Iyengar teacher you’re on your cycle you better believe you’ll receive some “special option” treatment. (Most Iyengar and Ashtanga teachers don’t recommend inverting during your period or at least during the first few days of heavier flow. See Senior Iyengar teacher Bobby Clennell’s The Woman’s Yoga Book: Asana and Pranayama for All Phases of the Menstrual Cycle)
However, concerns about retrograde menstruation, where the blood flows up and into your fallopian tubes (yikes) that can cause endometriosis is certainly a serious issue. Also, if you already have endometriosis, inversions on your period are probably painful enough you won’t do them anyway.
But, as the article points out, Dr. Timothy McCall writes about a study that found retrograde menstruation naturally occurs in 90 percent of women regardless of how long we hold headstand or invert at all.
So what’s the verdict? Let’s be honest, most of us everyday yogi super heroines aren’t holding inversions much longer than a tampon commercial, but the reasons not to kick your feet up over your head may be as simple as listen to your body when it’s trying to tell you something.
“To me the bigger question is whether you are listening to your body,” McCall told us. “If you are tired and crampy, then not only shouldn’t you be doing strong inversions like headstands in the early days of your period, but you probably should also be refraining from multiple sun salutations, arm balances and other strong poses, in favor of a gentler practice. I believe, however, that if it’s later on in your period, your flow is light, and you otherwise feel good, that going upside down for a minute or two is unlikely to cause problems.”
Sure, he’s a dude, but we agree. Do we really have to push, push, push all the time? Might we suggest a restorative practice during your lady holiday?
What’s been your experience, sister women?
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