If you are anything like me, the beginning of my period is a time to slow down. For so many years, I tried to push through it, keeping up with my regular schedule, my regular asana practice, just basically ignoring what was going on in my body. The older I get, and after having the kids, it has become increasingly more difficult to just ignore and plug along, as my symptoms have become more intense. Now, it literally forces me to slow down. When I had to change my habits to accommodate my cycle, I did what I always do, I dove into books, and articles, so I could basically validate (sad, I know) listening to what I knew I needed to do for my body. Although I knew that certain asana were contraindicated during menstruation, I didn't really understand why. I knew that vigorous practice, and inversions were not supposed to be practiced. The philosophical reason that I had learned, is that menses is a downward flow of energy, and we dont want to switch that. Flipping upside down is a way to increase our upward flow of energy. While I believe in/resonate with what is happening in our energetic bodies, I also like to learn the physical reasons. If you would like to read a little bit more about these concepts, here are two great articles - The Mindful Menstrual Cycle (written by our beautiful friend Jackie!!), and Menstruation and Yoga. I would also suggest the beautiful book Red Moon, by Miranda Gray (linked at the end of this post).
Below is the actual yoga practice that I did during my last period. This was not shot while I was actually practicing, because my practice is sacred to me. (Side note - your practice is also sacred to me, which is why I NEVER EVER take pictures of students practicing in the studio durning a scheduled class. Your practice is not used a marketing tool. We do however have a new super exciting campaign coming up soon!!)
Without further adieu, below is a simple restorative sequence, designed to help alleviate some of the discomfort that many of us experience. Feel free to set the tone for your practice by using incense or essential oils, selecting calming music ( I have a playlist for the sacral chakra on Spotify, as well as a few other playlists that are slow and relaxing!!) I sometimes prefer to use my phone to set a timer for each pose, and sometimes I prefer to just listen to my body, and move when I am ready.
Hopefully you are able to carve some time out for yourself, and get to enjoy this practice. Remember, when you are doing this practice, pamper yourself, and be particular! Make sure that you are feeling completely supported in, and comfortable in the poses. Pretend that you are in the story The Princess and the Pea. Anything that feels off when you are setting up is likely to be amplified while you maintain the pose.