This article will probably not be of interest to men (maybe a few curious about women's issues after all!), but women who practice yoga or want to get started will certainly find some answers to a question we all have asked ourselves at one time or another. And yes, it is important to talk about it!
• Can you do yoga when you have your period?
• And more broadly, should we adapt our practice during this period?
• For those who suffer from severe menstrual pain, can yoga bring relief?
Here are the things to know if you are a woman and you practice yoga. Of course, women are not equal when it comes to their periods. So you will need to adapt your practice according to your possibilities.
Continue yoga during your period
Of course, if you're one of those people who suffer so much during their period that they're bedridden, chances are you won't make it through the door of your yoga class for a few days.
The vast majority of women, about 80%, suffer from PMS or painful periods every month, not to mention women with endometriosis for whom this period can turn into a real hell.
Above all, the decision to continue yoga during your period is entirely up to you. There are no contraindications to following your classes as usual.
On the contrary, it will be beneficial during this period when you are perhaps (not to say certainly) irritable, stressed, tired, nervous... The adjectives do not miss!
During this period, when your energy level is generally at half mast, you will certainly want to practice yoga more gently. Others, on the contrary, will not feel the need to change their habits.
By practicing yoga, you will be able, by adapting your practice, to act specifically on certain symptoms and :
• Boost your mind,
• Reduce your stress level,
• Relieve your abdominal pain and cramps,
• Relax your lower back,
• Getting back a better energy level.
Yoga postures to avoid during the menstrual period
Even if you are one of those women for whom menstruation is not synonymous with discomfort, pain, mood swings...
It is important to know that certain yoga postures are not recommended!
If you're a fervent yoga practitioner (a yogini), you've probably experienced it (rather unpleasantly) on your own.
What are these postures to be proscribed during menstruation?
• Deep twisting postures (Ardha Matsyendrasana): they can be beneficial in normal times because they stimulate the internal organs. During menstruation, they will tend to increase bleeding because they put the belly under tension. Looking for the famous "benefits of yoga"? Avoid them when you are indisposed so...
• Inverted postures (Sirsasana, Sarvangasana...): you may not know it, but inverted postures can stop your periods. Rather an advantage you will say to me... And yet, you will regret it at the time of your next cycle when your periods will be then more abundant and also more painful. Moreover, by preventing blood from flowing normally and letting it stagnate and flow back to the uterus, it can also promote endometriosis...
Relieving menstrual pain through yoga
Are you the kind of person who won't let go of your hot water bottle to relieve menstrual pain? This is the time to discover the postures that will calm them down and help you to pass this dreaded period more serenely...
The idea is to favour soft postures, without forcing, and to favour postures that will open your back, relieve uterine cramps and even help regulate blood flow.
Concretely, avoid standing postures that will tend to tire you quickly and all those that overtax your stomach. On the other hand, you can relax effectively with the following postures:
• The child's posture (Balasana): a must in yoga. It is the relaxing posture par excellence.
• The cat's posture (Marjarasana): it relaxes the back, but also helps to promote the circulation of energy in the body.
• The dog upside down: this posture energizes the body and relaxes the spine, as well as the lower back, which is often painful during menstruation.
• The corpse posture (Savasana): ideal for refocusing on oneself and regaining one's energy by doing yoga.
• The posture of the goddess of sleep (Supta Baddha Kanasana): relaxing posture, it opens the pelvic region and reduces menstrual pain.
Painful or not, during periods, yoga can help you regain a certain well-being and at least clear your mind to get through this period. Don't hesitate to practice yoga at home if you don't want to travel to your class.
Tips and tricks to do yoga during your period
Each woman experiences her period differently and the first advice would be to listen to her body and her sensations. An idea widely conveyed by the culture of yoga. Indeed, some women will be ready to do many postures while others will only be able to do one or two. Just as some postures are more or less adapted according to the morphology of each one. It is therefore extremely important to listen to each other.
This is why it is fundamental not to force yourself, as you might do sometimes in a yoga session. Some yogis like to surpass themselves and push the limits a little in the practice of sports. During the menstrual period, it is rather advisable to do the postures as you feel it. If you feel that it pulls too much, relax. The most important thing is to relax.
During menstruation, many women are deficient in iron and therefore have less strength and energy. Forcing could lead you to hurt yourself.
If you have a favorite sequence of postures to perform, don't hesitate to skip certain positions to lighten the series and rest between each posture.
Stable and restful postures will then be favored. Don't forget the board exercises and other abdominal exercises.
In addition, it is essential to feel at your best by choosing an outfit in which you are comfortable. During menstruation, it is important to feel protected and comfortable in your clothing. You can favour menstrual panties and clothing that sticks to the skin without being too tight to be able to perform the different movements.
Finally, consider playing with your breath to do yoga during your period. Breathing plays a vital role in yoga practice in general, and even more so during menstruation. Learning to breathe well allows you to oxygenate all parts of the body properly and thus feel in better shape.
But breathing exercises are also excellent to relax and loosen muscles that could be contracted by menstruation. It is best to start with a session of breathing exercises at the beginning of the session and to finish with a few exercises as well.
Learning to breathe properly can also be done outside of yoga, to soothe painful periods. Lying on a couch, or sitting on a chair, the breathing exercises learned during the yoga class are also valid wherever and whenever they are practiced.
Learning yoga is thus a useful learning experience in everyday life, and even more so during periods.
Have someone accompany you to do yoga during periods.
It is not always easy to know how to react and what positions to take during menstruation. While some decide to do yoga on their own, others prefer to take yoga classes with an instructor. This is an opportunity to ask this coach for some advice on how to achieve the best postures.
Private yoga classes are particularly conducive to this type of situation. By choosing a private yoga teacher, you make sure that you have all the attention on you to make the best progress and especially that this teacher adapts the postures according to your physical condition. Some teachers will then be able to guide you to reduce menstrual pain.
In group classes it is often much more difficult to ask the teacher for personalized advice, but nothing prevents you from asking for it at the end of the class or before starting. The teacher should be able to give you some advice and adapt the postures accordingly.
Even if the teacher does not make you work on these postures during the class, you can then apply his advice once you get home.
Having a yoga professional accompany you during your period is a great idea to get a good foundation. But again, know that only you know how you feel and it's up to you to know when to stop forcing.
You are your best teacher!