Cycle Practice – Practice during menstruation
Of course people know not to do inversions. But a lot of times you will see women modifying their pranayama and skipping the inversions while continuing to do everything else full-on in asana practice.
You also want to avoid
- A lot of jumping (particularly in the Ashtanga practice, when the hands are on the ground and you are really working mula bandha).
- Deep binds and twists that work with the internal pressures in the body · Any postures that put the feet in lotus or foot in half lotus.
- Anytime you are required to sit on your heel or press your heel into your pelvis (i.e., Janushirshasana B and C)
- Any poses that require a great deal of pelvic floor support should all be avoided.
That doesn’t mean we are invalid. Some things are quite good to do during your cycle.
What to practice
- Exercise, gentle stretching and restorative asanas can help ease menstrual symptoms.
- You might prefer to go for a walk, swim, easy run, etc., which do not require the same mula bandha activity, even though you always need some. And of course other exercise and stretching are very different from the asana, but I am speaking in terms of being active.
- Some great poses to hold during your cycle days are: Trikonasana, Baddha Konasana (more on the passive side, without too much mula bandha activity, and you could have the legs further out in front of you), Upavishtha Konasana (also more restorative and passive than normal), Pigeon (simple version), Hanumanasana (assuming this pose is not too uncomfortable for you), Supta Virasana and Matsyasana.
- Restorative poses with bolsters and blocks are also therapeutic.
- Assuming you practice pranayama, anything that overheats or overly engages mula bandha and uddiyana bandha should be avoided. Therefore, retention work is skipped the first 2-4 days of our cycle.
- Surya Bhedana, as well as Nauli Kriya, Kapalabhati and Agni Sara are also skipped the first few days. However, by the end of our cycle Nauli can aid the final eliminationprocess, and a light Kapalabhati is also fine, even beneficial.
Before the cycle
You might also find that the few days before your cycle you need to lower your retention count because the internal pressure is off. And maybe the day or two before your period comes you need to do your cycle practice if you feel uncomfortable.
It is important that we sit, no matter what. But what we practice when we sit will change, depending on the time of the month. You may also decide to do some extra chanting orjapa/mantra repetition during and around your cycle, which is very soothing.See more posts