Should You Do Handstands On Your Period?
Is your yoga teacher telling you not to practice inversions like headstand, handstand, and shoulder stands when you are on your period?
Yet, when you ask other people if you should you do handstands on your period they tell you it’s absolutely fine. And that exercising during your menstruation can ease any discomfort when you are menstruating. To be honest there are no rules, except your own. How do you feel? What does the body (not the ego) want to do? When you take time to truly listen to your energy and your womb what are they telling you?
SEE ALSO: Why You Must Feel In Order To Heal
The truth about retrograde menstruation
Medically there is nothing dangerous about practicing inversions when we bleed. There is no evidence of retrograde menstruation or that the blood flows back into the uterus from doing handstands, or any inversion. Having said that, there are many options about how common the backward flow of the blood really is and if there are any side effects to it at all.
What yoga and Ayurveda says about periods and inversions
In yoga and Ayurveda menstruation is governed by Apana Vayu. This is the downward flow of Prana or energy in our being. Apana Vavy is situated in the pelvis and also controls urination, elimination, ejaculation, and childbirth. For our health and wellbeing, Apana Vayu has to be balanced. Otherwise, it will affect the flow of the other directions of Prana (Udana Vayu, Vyana Vayu, Samana Vayu, and Prana Vayu) and cause havoc with our health.
We aim to keep Apana Vayu happy and moving in its intentional direction: Downwards.
To avoid obstructing or manipulating Apana Vayu when it’s manifested as our monthly bleed we allow it to just flow. And that’s why many yoga teachers and ayurvedic practitioners suggest not to invert during menstruation. In fact, taking it easy and practice a more slow flow or restorative practice is usually recommended the first couple of days – if at all.
When we practice inversion we generally need to engage our deep core including the pelvic floor (applying mulabandha) to support the pose and find balance. We also practice mulabandha to manipulate the flow of Prana (namely Apana Vayu) in meditation. Again, there is no scientific evidence not to practice mulabandha during your flow.
In yoga and Ayurveda though we might work with mulabandha to control Apana Vayu for spiritual purposes and to support our pelvic floor on a physical level. However, during our menstruation it makes sense to go with the flow. Letting Apana Vayu release rather than obstruct or manipulate it.
Starting to listen to your cycles and seasons
I believe movement is medicine – of body, mind, emotions, and spirit. I also believe that yoga and Ayurveda are sciences to help support and guide us to health and wellbeing. In the Feminine Seasons & Cycles online immersion that is what we explore. They can teach us to truly listen to our bodies. Practicing menstrual cycle awareness and understanding our own individual seasons and changes through our cycle offer us invaluable guidance.
You are the only one who know how to practise during your period, ovulation and anything in between.
I’d love to know if a hardcore power yoga practice is your medicine during your period or if your body asks you to just rest? Do you change your practice during your monthly cycle?
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