Everything You Need to Know About Practicing Yoga On Your Period

Leah Sugerman
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Aunt Flo usually isn’t the most welcome visitor. We all dread the day she arrives and the ensuing week of misery she brings with her.

For most, she brings us cramps. She brings us bloating. She brings us mood swings, fatigue, and overall distress.

But, luckily, our continual saving grace – yoga – can be a comfort during our most miserable time of the month.

But there are so many questions that surround practicing yoga on your period and yoga for menstruation.

Can I practice when I have my period? What type of yoga should I practice when I’m menstruating? What should I not do? What will help with cramps?

The list can go on and on. So, here’s everything you need to know about practicing yoga when you have your period.

Ditch the misery! Here’s How to Honor the Phases of Your Monthly Menstrual Cycle With Ease and Grace (A Week-By-Week Guide)
 
 

Can You Practice Yoga on Your Period?

The short answer: Yes, absolutely! And it may provide you with some much-needed relief. However, every woman is different, so how each woman responds to her menstrual cycle will, of course, be different.

Some women love to practice a strong, sweaty flow during that time of the month to amp up their low energy levels. Some prefer to practice soft and soothing Restorative or Yin Yoga to rejuvenate their weary bodies and minds.

And some women fluctuate from month to month! There is no one size fits all in yoga for anything and practicing yoga when you have your period is certainly no exception.

So, yes, you can absolutely practice yoga on your period. But, just like always, how much and how vigorously you practice will depend entirely on how you feel.

Looking for some great Yin practices? Try Yin Yoga Remedies
 

 
 

Is There Anything You Should Avoid When You Practice Yoga on Your Period?

You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t invert while menstruating. You’ve probably also heard that twists can do damage. Or that you should avoid this pose or that pose.

But, speaking from an anatomical perspective, there is no increased risk of injury or bodily damage from practicing yoga when you have your period – regardless of the style you may choose to practice.

Now with that being said, you may find that your energy levels are particularly low at the beginning of your cycle.

If you wake up feeling like utter crap, then maybe some simple, restorative poses and pain-alleviating meditations would be your best bet for your daily practice. Slow practices can be really great yoga for menstruation!

You have to take each day as it comes to decide what will be best for you on any given day of your cycle. Ultimately, there is nothing in particular that you need to be cautious of or avoid – other than your own emotional and physical wellbeing.
 
 

But What About Inversions? You Can’t Do That Type of Yoga on Your Period, Right?!

There has been a long-held belief in the yoga community that inverting during menstruation is anatomically harmful for the body.

It was previously believed that flipping upside down when Mother Nature was trying to flow things out could lead to retrograde menstruation, which could – in turn – lead to endometriosis.

However, now that more is known about this once very mysterious disease, we understand that inverting does not actually change the natural flow of our bodily systems.

But, if we look at this from a yogic philosophy perspective, many teachers advise against inverting while practicing yoga on your period because when we menstruate, the flow of energy is downward.

In yogic terms, this is known as apana. Traditional practitioners believe that by physically flipping the body upside down, we disrupt this downward flowing energy.
 

Inverting does not actually change the natural flow of our bodily systems.

 
However what can be extremely confusing about this cautionary advice is that it is often contradictory. Many teachers will say: “Don’t come into Shoulderstand if you have your period. Instead, take Legs Up The Wall.”

The hypocrisy here is that both Shoulderstand and Legs Up The Wall are inversions. So, if the worry is about altering the flow of energy, then both postures could potentially change its flow. If the worry is about retrograde menstruation, then neither posture creates that.

So, from a philosophical perspective, you have to make your own judgements. However, from an anatomical perspective, popping up into Headstand or Handstand while menstruating does not cause any known physical damage to the body.

Ultimately, if you like to invert when you have your period, then invert away! You can rest assured that you will not harm your body on a physical level.
 

 
 

So How Should You Practice Yoga on Your Period, Then?

Just as the practice is a completely personal journey, so is yoga for menstruation. As mentioned, many women choose to continue with their rigorous flow practices even when they have their periods. Many others choose to slow things down and give their bodies some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

You have to choose what works best for you personally. And it will likely change every month!

In the end, whether you sweat through a Vinyasa flow for 90 minutes or sit for 10 minutes in silence on your meditation cushion, you will be doing a great service to both your body and your mind. However you choose to practice – whether it’s yoga for menstruation or not – is beneficial in countless ways. So, you really can’t go wrong however you choose to swing it!
 

A happy body and a happy mind equals a less painful and less disruptive menstrual cycle.

 
Also, barring pathology, a happy body and a happy mind equals a less painful and less disruptive menstrual cycle. And yoga can help you to get just that. No woman is going to turn that down, so practicing yoga (while menstruating or not!) is an offer you simply can’t refuse.

Need PMS relief ASAP? Practice These 4 Yoga Poses For Natural PMS Relief

All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical questions, please consult your healthcare provider.

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How to Honor the Phases of Your Monthly Menstrual Cycle With Ease and Grace (A Week-By-Week Guide)
Your menstrual cycle can be painful, emotionally draining, and dramatic. Here’s how to navigate your cycle for less pain and moodiness during your period.
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Leah Sugerman

Leah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer, and passionate world traveler. An eternally grateful student, she has trained in countless traditions of the practice and teaches a fusion of the styles she has studied with a strong emphasis on breath, alignment, and anatomical integrity. Leah teaches workshops, retreats, and trainings both internationally and online.

leahsugerman.com

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