Yoga and Menstruation {Guest post}

Known by many names, menstruation can be a time of reverence or a time of feeling cursed. I like to refer to this time of the month as our moon time, honoring how our cycles often follow the phases of the moon.

There is much confusion about yoga and menstruation. Some teachers suggest to stop practicing, while others suggest specific practices for the menses and different conditions of the menstrual cycle. In classical Ashtanga practice we take the full and new moons and the heavy days of our cycle off and rest.

After many years of practicing and teaching yoga I am a firm believer in the development of a personal practice. Swami Kripalu talked about radical self- acceptance as being one of the highest forms of yoga. If we follow our own intuition and the needs of our bodies we will create a sustainable practice that supports our stage of life and health. Having said this, some simple guidelines may help to navigate and manage the uncomfortable and often painful side effects of our cycles.

Most experts recommend that we stop strenuous exercise during the heavy days of the cycle. The body is sloughing off the lining of the uterus and it is a good time to practice gentle self-care. Rest, have a nap, enjoy a cup of tea, go for a walk or read a book. Take the time that you might practice yoga and sit in quiet meditation or simply breathe deep and full for 5-10 minutes.

If you have cramping, pain, profuse discharge or heavy bleeding a simple practice might include:

  1. Sit comfortably for 5 minutes:Pay attention to the breath

    Artist & Yogini extraordinaire, Sarah Elizabeth.

  2. Head neck and shoulder warm up: Turn head side to side, right ear to shoulder, left ear to shoulder, circles (like drawing a circle on a chalk board with your nose)
  3. Spinal Flexion: Forward and back, side to side then circles Right/Left
  4. Badakonasana: Bound angle
  5. Supata Badakonasana: Reclined bound angle
  6. Prasarita Padottanasana: Wide legged forward bend right/left/centre
  7. Jathara Parivartanasana: Spinal rotation right/left
  8. Svasana: Relaxation

 

Some things to avoid include shoulder stands, head stands, forearm and hand balances. Avoiding postures that increase blood flow or makes you feel uncomfortable is also important.

If you would like to read more about specific conditions of the menstrual cycle and yoga, one of the best books on the subject is, Geeta Iyengar’s book, Yoga: a gem for women.

For more information or a private consultation around yoga, menstruation and specific conditions of the menstrual cycle contact master yoga teacher, Denise Davis-Gains. info@atlasstudio.com

Denise Davis-Gains, MA (INP), CYT

Through a lifetime of spiritual pilgrimage, Denise has learned to move gracefully and appreciate music, she enjoys a good story and was blown wide open when spirit, movement and sacred music met on the yoga mat in 1993. A Kripalu/Ashtanga inspired teacher, Denise walks a path towards wholeness and integration as a healer, yoga teacher, mentor and leader. Denise shares her inspired life with others at Atlas Studio located in Cambridge, ON, Canada

24/7 Period Talk

If asked, most girls could recall one talk they had with a parent or relative about their “monthly visitor”, “Aunt Flo” or “you know… the thing”. And most often this “talk” is one that to this day they will always remember.

Like many topics related to puberty, talking about your period can be quite uncomfortable, especially if the person you are talking to has little knowledge of the menstrual cycle. In our 20 years of experience developing and promoting menstrual cups, we have learned that many women (even after 20 years of having their period) know very little about the menstrual cycle.

Although period care has come a long way (you no longer need to ask for your period care product at the back pharmacy!), the conversation surrounding menstruation is still riddled with tabooed myths, embarrassment and an attitude of secrecy.

Diva International believes in talking openly about period care because we know that when a young girl is empowered with positive period talk her self-esteem is strengthened.

Our commitment to drawing awareness to positive period talk is advanced by our website, through educational partnerships, our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages as well as by our ongoing support of Be Prepared Period and You ARE Loved.

We want to encourage everyone who is part of the Diva Community, whether a parent, teen, friend, career woman or grandmother, to engage in some positive Period Talk this month!

Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered.

On the second Friday of every month you can participate in an online conversation about periods! And lucky for you, this Friday is the second Friday of September which for many of us means Tweet Chat: Period Talk!!! 

Every month, the team at Diva International joins in conversation with women and young girls for Be Prepared Period and You Are Loved’s monthly Tweet Chat: Period Talk. These hour-long Tweet Chats cover topics like how to care for your period, foods to avoid during your cycle, and how to better respond to your emotions and menstrual health.

This month’s Tweet Chat is on Friday September 14th, 2012 at 11am PST/ 2pm ET and is featuring the topic Back to School: Periods 101. Special guests Samantha Kelly, Founder of Funky Goddess and Jennifer Leggett, Chief Executive Mama at Earthy Crunchy Mama will be sharing some insight, asking questions and guiding the discussion.

If you’re going to attend any Tweet Chat this month, we would highly recommend you attend this one!

If you can’t make the Tweet Chat, you can now engage in Period Talk every day because the Period Talk Tweet Chat is so well liked that the team at Be Prepared Period thought to design a full website committed to… Period Talk!

As its name suggests, the Period Talk website is a 24/7 online social forum where “talk” about period care, puberty and menstrual health can be explored, shared and discussed! Free to anyone interested in joining the conversation; all you need to do is create an account.

September is often celebrated for its change of season and the new beginnings it offers to students. In keeping with the spirit of new beginnings, why not make this September the month you start talking openly about your period? Join us for this week’s Period Talk Tweet Chat with the hashtag, #PeriodTalk or sign up for your free account at the Period Talk website.

We’d also love to hear some period talk stories from our Divas (especially some positive ones!) as well as what you wish someone would have told you when you first got your period. Share today, because you never know how much your period experiences can encourage a young woman with a little bit of period advice.