Yoga, Ayurveda and acro yoga in Budapest - classes, philosophy also in English

2011. január 11., kedd

Asana focus No. 6: Menstruation and asana

Oh, those unforgettable days. Oh yes, we women must struggle with this natural yet so uncomfortable experience eac h and every month. A couple of days ago, I received a letter from one of my readers, who asked me to talk about exercises to help prevent and treat menstrual pain. Therefore, thanks to her, I would like to share with everyone my knowledge on the topic.

By the way, it is interesting that yoga, a science developed and practiced by men throughout the centuries, can offer solutions for female problems. Here, I want to draw your attention to Geeta Iyengar’s book called ’Yoga, a gem for women’. This is a must and all yoginis should have it on their shelves.

Yoga transforms the whole body including the internal organs. Thus regular and systematic practice (covering standing poses, forward and backward bends, inversions and twists) will definitely help to strengthen the body and its hormone system , not to mention how well this prepares us to encounter the most difficult times.
Outside the days of your period, standing postures are a perfect way to exercise your internal organs and the female reproductive organs. Especially, Utthita Trikonasana and Utthita Parsvakonasana. In addition, Dhanurasana, the bow pose, gives a wonderful massage to the abdominal organs and your digestive system. Besides developing the abdominal muscles, the leg raising exercise stretches and tonifies the uterus; but be careful, do these leg lifts with your lower back firmly pressed to the ground in order to avoid lumbar pain. As regards inversions, sarvangasana, finished by matsyasana, the fish pose, is an excellent practice for prevention.

During your menstruation, usually it is recommended to suspend your practice, at least in the first three days. However, to be honest, when I have pain it is most difficult for me to just rest peacefully. With the cramps, I feel better if I move around and take some deep breaths. Even in India, I never stopped doing yoga during my periods (although I skipped inversions like shirshasana, headstand and sarvangasana), and since then I just noticed that when I continue my practice even on those days, the flow stops more quickly. Of course, I have to emphasize here that such a practice must be much easier and gentle. Forget about sudden chalanas, transitions from one pose to the other, and leave out strenous poses. Inversions are absolutely excluded, and allow yourself only light stretches when twisting. It is better to avoid backbends and asanas that put more pressure on the lower back (utthita hasta padangusthasana, supta padangustha, urdhva mukha paschima, jathara parivartana), and on the belly muscles (leg raises, navasana, purvottanasana). Since during menstruation there is more blood in the womb and the genitals, they are softer and prone to injury, therefore you should be careful with stressing this area.

But what can we practice to get relief from cramps and pain on those days?

In general, forward bends, started from seated position are very beneficial (pachimottanasana and its versions). A solution can be the following sequence: baddhakonasana, supta baddhakonasana, upavistha konasana, malasana, kurmasana, supta virasana, bharadvajasana, janu shirshasana, paschimottanasana, and the „happy baby” pose. In India, my master Bharath Shetty always sent the „big girls” to the wall instead of sarvangasana, and we could rest our weary legs on the wall. But you do not necessarily need a wall, you may just pull up your legs into happy baby which is also such a calming and soothing pose. Especially, if with every exhale you pull your soles closer to the ground and then on the inhale you let them lift back a bit, the breathing will rock you gently into stillness and your focus will slowly shift away from the pain you feel.
Oh, and one more hint at last which worked a wonder for me. It is very useful to start sipping Yarrow tea (Achillea millefolium) 8 days prior to your menses. Since I do this, I had no major cramps.
I hope you find this article useful, in case of questions feel free to contact me.

Some pictures on the most beneficial poses:
Janu shirshasana


Upavistha Konasana

Supta virasana


Happy baby


Nincsenek megjegyzések:

Megjegyzés küldése