Is it ok for me to practice yoga while I am menstruating?
My answer, and that of many wise yogis including Geeta Iyengar is that yes, it’s ok to practice yoga while you are bleeding. BUT it should specifically be a restorative form of practice- one which encourages rest and relaxation.
If you have never practiced restorative yoga before - this is a practice which uses many yoga props to support and hold your body in place so that your muscles can relax. Postures are held anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes.
The more comfortable you can be in your body during this time, the more your mind will be able to relax, so it’s worth taking the time to make small adjustments until your body feels “just right”.
Restorative yoga is a practice that works to rest and restore your nervous system and energetic system. It requires time, warmth, quiet, and stillness. If you are not used to going slow or being still you may find this practice challenging - so please make the intention to practice with self-compassion and kindness, and equanimity (meaning non-judgement).
It’s worth noting that in native American tradition, a woman is considered to be at her most powerful spiritually when she is menstruating. This makes your restorative practice during this time the BEST way to work on strengthening your mind-body connection through visualization and affirmations (which we will do during the practice below).
Restorative yoga is great at calming the mind- so after you practice is a great time to do some introspection and journaling to gain clarity on any big questions or decisions you are currently faced with.
What yoga poses should you NOT practice during menstruation?
It is important not to practice any inverted poses, active back bends, and strong twisting poses as these disturb apana vayu- the downward flow of vital energy in the low abdomen that supports elimination.
Please note that if you FEEL like you want to continue with your regular yoga practice or exercise routine while menstruating, it may feel good at the time, but it will deplete your energy stores later in your cycle (and adequate energy is essential for conception and embryo growth).
A short yoga practice for your menstrual phase
In this menstrual phase yoga practice we will start with a mindfulness exercise to help you acknowledge and accept any difficult emotions you may be experiencing at this time. We will then perform a few postures to relax your nerves and uterus, followed by postures to calm the brain and soothe the abdomen, and finally we will end with two postures to balance your hormones and rest your nerves.
For this practice you will need:
If you haven’t already, set your yoga mat up in a warm, quiet, and dark space. You may want to light a candle or essential oil diffuser, and you can even play a relaxing playlist of your choice. I would recommend wearing a long sleeved shirt and socks to help keep your body warm.
I hope you enjoy this practice (and if you do please subscribe and leave me a comment).
Subscribe to my Youtube channel for more short mindfulness, movement, and meditation practices for more ease and less worry on your Motherhood journey.
And register for a free 60 minute fertility yoga class here.
I spent over half my life studying the sciences, specifically physiology and neuroscience. Then, while teaching science to high school students, I developed an interest in yoga. It was the only activity I found that was able to help my migraines and debilitating anxiety. I have devoted the last decade of my life to 1) becoming a mom and 2) immersing myself in the study of yoga and Eastern medicine. Today, I am passionate about bridging together Western and Eastern sciences to better understand the reasons why many women have difficulty becoming and staying pregnant.