Yoga: A Gem for Women
In her book "Yoga: A Gem for Women," Geeta Iyengar specifically addressed the issue of menstruation and how yoga can be adapted to suit women during this time. She recognized that many women experience physical and emotional changes during their menstrual cycles and provided guidance on how to modify yoga postures to accommodate these changes.
For example, Iyengar recommended using props such as blankets and bolsters to provide support during poses like Supported Bridge Pose and Reclining Bound Angle Pose, which can help relieve menstrual cramps and promote relaxation. He also suggested avoiding inversions like Headstand and Shoulderstand during menstruation, as these postures can disrupt the flow of blood and energy in the body.
Overall, Iyengar's approach to yoga for menstruation emphasizes the importance of listening to your body and making modifications as necessary to ensure a safe and comfortable practice.
How to Adapt your Yoga Practice during Menstruation
If you are an Iyengar practitioner, you are surely aware of the importance of modifying your pratice when menstruating. As a matter of fact, where many other yoga styles simply ask students to avoid inversions when on their period, Iyengar has a specific sequence designed for this time of the month. And Iyengi teachers make sure female practitioners inform them of their state at the beginning of the class in order to apply modifications where needed. Although it might seem a little awkward at the beginning, it then becomes totally natural amongst students. BKS Iyengar's daughter Geeta Iyengar did a thorough work on yoga for women (see book "the practice of the women during the whole month").
The first 2 or 3 days being the hardest for women, Iyengar recommends to follow the following sequence.
These postures are restorative (women tend to be low on energy while menstruating and need to take it easy) and gentle with the belly. Most of them help open the uterus and ovarian area to help relax tensions, lower cramps and let the blood flow happen.
During the second part of the menstruation, women can perform standing positions against a tressler or against the wall. Nevertheless, the following postures should be avoided at all means:
- core work (abs)
Students can replace these by postures from the menstruation sequence.
Online Ressources to Adapt your Yoga Practice during Menstruation
If you are practicing alone at home and need further information as to how to perform yoga during menstruation, relieve period cramps or PMS symptoms, here is a really good video from a Senior Iyengar teacher to follow:
A very interesting article on the same matter with pictures of the postures can be found here: https://www.ballaratyoga.com.au/why-are-we-concerned-about-menstruation-in-iyengar-yoga/
Click here if you are looking for a yoga bolster to lie on or other yoga props to use during your menstruation.