5. Mensturation


One of the most frequently asked questions about Bikram Yoga (and other forms of Hatha yoga) is which poses should I do, or not do, whilst menstruating? Or should I do yoga at all during menstruation time?

This is a big question, and a question that in the end really only has one answer – your own. But to help you try to find your own answer, first of all let’s bust some myths around yoga and menstruation…

Myth Busted #1: The heat of Bikram Yoga is bad for me during menstruation.

In fact, the heat of Bikram Yoga is great for muscle cramps. It acts like a muscle relaxant loosening up tight and tense muscles. If you are more sensitive to the heat on your bleeding days, then move to a cooler area of the room. At Bikram Yoga Fitzroy, that’s towards the window end of the room.

Myth Busted #2: Bikram Yoga is not safe to do whilst menstruating.

Bikram Yoga is perfectly safe to practice to while you are menstruating, and in fact it has great benefits for the reproductive system for both men and women. It directly increases circulation to the reproductive system, also to the endocrine glands: the pituitary, pineal and thyroid gland in particular.

Often women report that Bikram Yoga helps their PMS and also helps to regulate their menstrual cycle and alleviate hormonal symptoms such as mood swings, irritability and sugar cravings.

If you’re having strong cramps or are feeling very tired, maybe take the class a bit slower for a change, take your foot off the ‘accelerator’ and have a nice meditative class instead of a ‘full power’ class. You might find that this is a challenge in itself – the ego often finds it hard to pull back and not be ‘super yoga queen’.

Myth Busted #3: You shouldn’t do inverted yoga postures during menstruation.

This is the biggest myth of all – that somehow doing inversions, or upside down postures like headstands, handstands, and shoulder stands during menstruation is bad for you.

It was once believed that the lining of the uterus (your menstruation blood) is in the process of detaching and moving downwards, and if you do an inversion at this time, you maybe at risk of creating gynecological problems like endometriosis.

In fact, there is no evidence at all for this theory, and if you do a bit of research you’ll find that yoga lore is full of contradictions about whether you should or shouldn’t do yoga inversions during menstruation.

In short, there is no clear answer or medical evidence one way or the other. So what to do? Try to listen to your own body and feel this one out intuitively. But you’ll be happy to know that the issue of inversions is not a problem in Bikram Yoga because there are no fully inverted postures. Instead, postures like Dandayama Bibhaktapada Janushirasana (Standing Separate Head-to-Knee) and Adrha-Kurmasana (Half-Tortoise pose) both give you similar benefits to inversions.

Still unsure about whether to do Bikram Yoga during menstruation?

Some women feel quite out of sorts on their first day of bleeding. You might feel very tired, and have cramps, nausea, extreme sensitivity and lack of tolerance and irritability.

Maybe think about resting on your first day of bleeding? In many ancient tribal cultures women often spent the first days of their period resting and taking it easy. This is something you might want to try and give yourself a break to nurture and rest.

Then by Day 2 or Day 3, because you’ve had a bit of a rest, you may find that your energy levels will increase and you might have a pretty good class.

But in the end, you ultimately know what is best for your body. And if you don’t? Maybe it’s time to start listening to what your body is telling you…

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