You know, you make twenty different resolutions, and when it comes to breaking bread, you don’t keep any of them.
But here’s where it’s good to do some thinking. Exercise is necessary; if we look at it a little bit with perspective, if we want to have a healthy and pain-ridden body, a calm mind, and a stronger sense of loving ourselves, we must exercise.
And since we all wish for the New Year all the best for ourselves, our families, good health and little stress, yoga seems to be an ideal helper.
Maybe you are one of those women who regularly ask yourself once a month whether to go to your favourite yoga class or stay at home under the blanket. Can we practice as we are used to during our “days”, or is it good to respect the different states of our bodies and behave differently?
Menstruation – a different body state
During menstruation, just as in pregnancy or illness, our body is in a different state. However, each woman handles the awareness of this state differently.
Some of us tend not to perceive it and neglect it. We go to the yoga studio even when we don’t feel 100% great, hoping that maybe just practising for a cold will help.
On the other hand, the changed state of the body is also a reason for a behaviour change. We immediately quit everything that concerns the body at all. But if you are not sure, try to connect to your current state of mind and understand your needs.
Yoga can support the pleasant feminine energy of the month
It’s no coincidence that the word menstruation comes from the Latin word menses – moon. Our ancestors already believed that the female body is connected to the moon’s energy and flows following its phases. We could compare the menstrual phase with the new moon.
Just as the new moon brings with it peace, so too during the menstrual period, we feel like stopping, resting, reflecting, meditating in solitude. Our feminine sensitivity becomes sharper; we act instinctively, we are more receptive. It is this beneficial, grounding, fragile energy that the practice of yoga can support. But what asanas help our bodies during menstruation and perhaps even soften menstrual pain?
Beneficial lunar asanas
Yoga is not just a physical practice, and it is during menstruation; we can fully appreciate its other levels. Breathing exercises bring refreshment and relaxation.
The Nadi shodhana or full yogic breath allows us to steady our emotions and find the concentration and courage needed to practice.
However, fiery breathing techniques that get the blood in the body flowing too much, such as kapalabhati breathing, are not very suitable.
Discover the power of meditation and practice both bends and twists
Even a simple meditation exercise, where we imagine the breath flowing up and back down the spine, can bring more benefits to the body than the exercise itself.
Choose asanas that have lunar, calming energy. This is the case with forwarding bending asanas, such as Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend with legs extended), uttanasana (standing forward bend), or balasana (child’s pose). The bending postures harmonize the mind and, at the same time, massage the pelvic area very gently.
Incorporate gentle bending asanas into the lunar line-up – matsyasana (fish pose), or if you have more energy ustrasana (camel pose), perhaps in its lighter half version with palms on hips.
Asanas that gently open the pelvic area, such as prasarita padottanasana (wide straddle forward bend), are also pleasant during menstruation.
What postures to avoid
As it happens, there is no 100% NO here. Some women have a lot of energy during their periods and can practice almost anything.
Generally, however, women are talked out of inversion positions during menstruation when the legs get above the heart. The blood and pranic energy of the apana, which flows from the abdomen downwards to the Mula bandha, is inverted by inversion positions and some experts claim that it can even cause interruption of menstruation.
Also not recommended are all positions that stir up the heat in the body and can cause an unpleasant increase in bleeding and pain.
Therefore, avoid abdominal muscle strengthening, strong torsion positions or handstands. For now, try to work very carefully with bandhas, whose restraints also produce excessive heat.
So if you have to make up your mind about whether or not to go to your yoga class, consider how many asanas it contains that would not do you good and the rhythm of the class.
Rather than an intense power yoga or vinyasa yoga class, choose a quieter class or light a candle at home, prepare a blanket and pillow for meditation and immerse yourself in the calm of lunar yoga practice on your own. It’s a particular time to enjoy.