This article will probably not interest many men (perhaps there are some out there who are curious about women after all!), but women who enjoy yoga or want to start will certainly find some answers to a question we have all asked ourselves at some point.

And yes, it's important to talk about it!

  • Can I do yoga when I have my period?
  • And more broadly speaking, do I need to adapt the yoga exercises I do?
  • For those who suffer from serious menstrual pain, does yoga provide any relief?

Here's everything you need to know if you're a woman and you love yoga. Of course, not all women have the same period. You will have to adapt according to what you're capable of.

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Continuing Yoga During your Period

Of course, if you someone who suffers so much during their period that they become bedridden, it's a safe bet that you'll not want to get up and go to a yoga class for several days.

However, most new mothers can't wait to get to their postnatal yoga classes!

The vast majority of women, about 80%, suffer from premenstrual syndrome or painful menstruation every month, not to mention women with endometriosis whose periods can be utter hell.

Firstly, the decision to continue doing yoga during your period depends entirely on you. There is no obligation to keep doing your lessons as usual.

On the contrary, this is actually beneficial during this time when you are perhaps (not in all cases) irritable, stressed, tired, anxious, etc. There's no shortage of adjectives here!

During your period, when energy levels are usually low, you will certainly want to do more gentle forms of yoga. Other people, on the other hand, will not feel the need to change their routine at all.

By adapting your yoga exercises, you will be able to specifically help certain symptoms and:

  1. Boost your mind,
  2. Reduce stress level,
  3. Relieve abdominal pain and cramps,
  4. Relax the bottom of your back, relieving any chronic back pain you may suffer
  5. Improve energy levels.

Yoga Moves to Avoid During your Period

Avoid certain yoga moves to prevent injury.
This is exactly the kind of pose to avoid during that time of the month. Source: Visual hunt

Even if you are one of those women whose period does not involve discomfort, pain, mood swings, etc.

It is still important to know that some yoga postures are not advised!

If you use your gaming console for yoga, you ma want to abstain during this time as some poses may make things worse!

If you are an avid yoga fan (yogini), you may already have has some bad experiences of these on your own.

What are the poses that are prohibited during your period?

  • Extreme twisting poses (Ardha Matsyendrasana): these can be beneficial on other occasions because they stimulate internal organs. During menstruation, however, they tend to increase bleeding because they tense the stomach. Looking for the famous "benefits of yoga"? In that case, make sure to avoid these when you are not feeling your best.
  • Upside down poses (Sirsasana, Sarvangasana ...): you may not know it, but upside down poses can stop your period. What's that I hear you say? Surely that's an advantage? And yet, you will regret it during your next cycle when your period is even heavier and also more painful. Moreover, by preventing the blood from flowing normally and letting it stagnate and go back to the uterus, it can also lead to endometriosis ...

People suffering from tendinitis should avoid certain poses as well, and arthritis sufferers may want to avoid certain types of yoga altogether...

Relieve Period Cramps with Yoga

If you're the kind of girl who can't let go of your hot water bottle to ease your menstrual pain, it's time to learn about the poses that will relieve your pain and help you to get through this dreaded time.

The idea is to opt for gentle poses, without forcing your body, and to prioritise poses that will open your back, relieve uterine cramps and even regulate blood flow.

Yoga can reduce the pain and discomfort many women feel during their periods.
The downward facing dog pose is great at getting rid of pain. Source: Visual hunt

Definitely avoid standing poses that tend to tire you out quickly and all those that overly work your stomach. However, you can relax with the following poses instead:

  • The child pose (Balasana): a must in yoga. This is the ultimate relaxation pose.
  • The cat pose (Marjarasana): it relaxes the back, but also promotes the circulation of energy in the body.
  • The downward facing dog pose: this pose energises the body and relaxes the spine, as well as the lower back, which is often sore during menstruation.
  • The corpse pose (Savasana): ideal for centring yourself and regaining energy.
  • The sleep goddess pose (Supta Baddha Kanasana): a relaxing pose, that can open the pelvic area and reduce menstrual pain.

Most of these poses are effective for general pain relief, too!

Pain or not, during menstruation, yoga can help you regain some well-being and, at the very least, clear your head. Feel free to practice yoga at home if you don't feel like going to the gym.

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A French/Spanish to English translator, Sarah is currently enjoying travelling around Europe with her work.