Thy Menses: Modifications to the Primary Series

There, there. It’s the time of the month and there are several asanas menstruators are advised not to do. Yet, you just can’t get enough of the Asthanga Vinyasa Primary Series. So, what do you do? You make modifications to it. Less kick but that’s better than nothing. Furthermore, some asanas can help alleviate the discomforts that accompany menstruation.

In this article, I first highlight the type of asanas to avoid and explain why. This is followed by a table which lists the asanas in the primary series to be avoided and also explain why. Replacement asanas are provided where possible. Do note that I am being conservative with my list such that I exclude any asanas that can be potentially disruptive to our menstrual cycle.

 

Asanas to Avoid 

Inversions. This is because they cause a type of prana (energy) known as apana to flow upwards. On normal days, the upward flow of the apana from the Muladhara chakra to the Manipura chakra helps awaken the kundalini which is a good. However, during menstruation, the downward flow of the apana helps blood and toxins exit the body safely. Performing inversions would interrupt this flow which may disrupt or even stop menstruation and lead to other reproductive problems later on. Also, if you think about it, during inversions, gravitational force will cause blood to flow inwards. Doing inversions frequently or in long durations during menstruation might prevent blood from flowing out and cause clotting within.

Asanas that (a) stress the abdominal and pelvic regions and (b) compress the lower abdomen. The former includes backbends, arm balances, and deep twists while the latter includes pressing our legs into the lower abdomen. These asanas may disrupt the flow of the blood out of the body or cause uterine contraction.

 

Asanas from the Primary Series to Avoid/ Replace (listed in sequence)

 

References:

  1. http://www.yogapoint.com/yoga-poses/yoga-for-menstruation.htm
  2. https://iynaus.org/research/asana-during-menstruation
  3. http://www.spiritvoyage.com/blog/index.php/all-about-yoga-yoga-exercises-and-the-menstrual-cycle/
  4. http://theyogasanctuary.biz/apana-vayu/

 

Hope this helps ~

Written by: Tan Bee Li (YTT Sep – Nov 2017)