That time of the month can be a real drag in energy and often accompanied by pain. It doesn’t have to be so. The Iyengar method of yoga has a wonderful way to allow women to open the uterus and help lessen menstrual discomfort and PMS. As a 20 year practicioner of yoga I had no idea that yoga should be modified during menses until I found Iyengar Yoga. Makes sense that during this time we should support our bodies through the cleansing process instead of pushing ourselves into deeper exhaustion. I’d like to highlight my top 5 poses to practice during menses. Your guide can be B.K.S Iyengar’s book: “Iyengar Yoga the Path to holistic health.” You could also google the poses and practice via pics. I prefer the book because it gives you great instruction from The Godfather of yoga in the West! I’ll also highlight the poses strongly recommended to avoid. Do the sequence as it’s given. Each pose is in order for a particular reason. Happy Menses Practice!
Top 5 poses to practice:
1. Supta Bhadda Konasana/Reclined Bound Angle
This pose allows a gentle stretch of the front body and helps the uterus to soften and relax. It promotes bloods flow down and out, which is the direction we want it to go! Hold 5 minutes.
2. Utthita Trikonasana/ Extended Triange Pose
This is a standing pose that stretches and tones the side body and legs. Practice against a wall and with a block for that extra support. Explore what it’s like to practice a different way and what effect you feel from it. Remember it’s not about pushing but learning to support yourself more through certain times. Less is more here.
3. Upavistha Konasana/ Seated wide angle pose (with bolster or chair)
Forward folds help quite the mind and calm the nervous system. Use a bolster to extend the trunk onto to or you can rest the head on a chair. It’s important the head is resting so the restorative effects can take place. Hold 3-5 min.
4. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana/ Bridge Pose in Shoulderstand (variation with a bolster and block for support at the wall)
A gentle and safe inversion while on your menses that offers the same relaxing effects, brings fresh blood to the brain, helps with bringing clarity in decision making, as other inversions, but keeps the legs in line with the body. Taking your legs higher than the chest means you invert the flow of blood in a way that does not promote healthy downward flow. Practicing ahimsa, non violence in word, thoughts, and actions is paramount in a yogi’s practice. Begin your full inversion practice as soon as you stop bleeding.
5. Savasana/Corpse Pose (chest supported variation)
This pose is for integration and deep relaxation. Do not skip it!!! Use the bolster to support the back ribs, chest and head. Use a folded blanket as a pillow to support the neck. Stay 5-10 min. Focus on relaxing and allowing the body to soften and expand sideways away from the spine.
Poses to avoid:
Deep twists, abdominal poses, inversions with legs higher than the chest level.