Menstruation : Home Practice Sequences

A healthy menstrual cycle is very important for a womans health and general well being. Nature has provided women with a way to purify their bodies and minds each month. The female body is much more elastic than a mans body. This elasticity can cause a distortion in the skeletal and muscular structure of the female body causing women to experience bouts of pain and tenderness particularly at the time of menstruation.

Many women experience pre-menstrual tension/pain, stiffness in the limbs and lower back, mood swings, feelings of irritability, anger, aggression and depression. During menstruation many women experience discomfort/bloating/cramping/overheating/skin rashes/constipation, heaviness and lethargy and often feeling disconnected (not grounded). It is the time of the month when women should slow down, rest more and take life a little easier. There are so many demands on women from work and family that many women often ignore the need to rest and push through tiredness and pain.

It is important to use your yoga practice to honour this time of the month and do less, especially in the first few days, when the flow is heavy. Not only will you appreciate the benefits that will flow from using your yoga practice to restore balance but so will your friends and family!!

The following sequences come Geeta Iyengar who over the years has helped so many female Iyengar yoga practitioners find a way to restore balance to their bodies, mind and emotions. During menstruation the emphasis is on forward extensions, supine poses to open the chest and help release pressure in the abdomen, seated poses and supported setubandha Sarvangasana. Note Inversions should not be done at this time. If a woman has a “normal” menstruation, no health problems like cysts/fibroids/heavy bleeding she can also do some standing poses with the help of a wall, ledge or balcony rail. No jumping into and out of standing poses.

Pre Menstrual Tension

  • Baddha Konasana
  • Supta Buddha Konasana
  • Matysasana - or supta swastikasana
  • Forward Virasana
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Dwi Pada viparita dandasana- 7-10 mins -cross bolsters
  • Salamba Sirsasana & Salamba Sirsasana (Upavistha Konasana &Baddha Konasana if able to do)
  • Salamba Sarvangasana
  • Halasana
  • Upavistha Konasana-support
  • Setu bandha Sarvangasana 7-10 mins
  • Cross Legs Forward / head support
  • Pranayama- Ujjayi 1 & 2, Viloma 1 & 2

For the first 2/3 days of the period

  • Supta Buddha Konasana
  • Supta Matysasana - or supta swastikasana
  • Supta Virasana
  • Forward Virasana - trunk supported
  • Janu Sirsasana- Trunk supported
  • Triang mukhaikaipada paschimottanasana-trunk supported
  • Ardha baddha padma paschimottanasana-trunk supported
  • Baddha Konasana - seated supported
  • Upavistha Konasana - seated thenCentre L the R trunk supported
  • Dwi Pada viparita dandasana - supported or Cross bolsters
  • Setu bandha Sarvangasana - supported
  • Savasana

Towards the end of menstruation

  • Virasana/ Adho Mukha Virasana-along bolster
  • Swastikasana along bolster
  • Janu Sirsasana- head support 1min
  • Triang mukhaikaipada paschimottanasana- 1min
  • Ardha baddha padma paschimottanasana- 1min
  • Maricyasana 1 - 1 min
  • Bharadvajasana 2- 1 min
  • Paschimottanasana -1 min
  • Upavistha Konasana 1 min
  • Bharadvajasana 1 - 1 min
  • Baddha Konasana - back to wall - 5 mins
  • Padmasana 1 min ( if you can do)
  • Viparita Dandasana ( cross bolster 5 mins)
  • Setu Bandha sarvangasana / legs straight then in baddha konasana
  • Virasana (forward)
  • Savasana

If no fatigue the following standing poses could be put into a sequence

  • Supta Virasana _or Supta swstikasana -5 mins
  • Supta Baddha Konasana- 5 mins
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana- head support
  • Adho Muhka Svanasana - Head support / hands to wall
  • Tadasana
  • Urdhva Hastasana
  • Arm movements -l to open the chest like Urdhva Baddanguliyasana , Namaskarasana, Urdhva Namaskarasana, Gomukasana
  • Utthita Trikonasana(foot to wall / top hand to waist , bottom hand supported on a block)
  • Utthita Pasvakonasana (foot to wall / top hand to waist , bottom hand supported on a block )
  • Ardha Chandrasana - back to wall
  • Prasarita Padottanasana / support / concave back if back ache / abdominal pain rest 2 over stools
  • Uttanasana /toes turned in / feet wider than hip width apart / arms can be interlocked / head can rest on chair
  • Viparita Dandasana(cross bolsters)- 7-10 mins
  • Baddha Konasana- back supported - use chair
  • Upavistha Konasana - can have back support / chair & then rested Upavistha Konasana
  • Parsva Upavistha Konasana
  • Janu Sirsasana-head supported
  • Triang mukhaikaipada paschimottanasana-head supported
  • Maricyasana 1 -head supported
  • Paschimottanasana-head supported
  • Setu bandha Sarvangasana - supported 7- 10 mins
  • Swastikasana -forward head support
  • Savasana

Post Menstruation

  • Supta Baddha Konasana
  • Forward Virasana
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Uttanasana
  • Prasarita Padottanasana
  • Salamba Sirasana (Baddha Konasana in Sirasana, Upavistha Konasana in Sirasana)
  • Dwi pada Bipartia Dandasana-cross bolsters
  • Janu Sirasana
  • Baddha Konasana
  • Upavistha Konasana
  • Salamba Sarvangasana
  • Halasana
  • Janu Sirasana
  • Savasana
  • Pranayama- Ujjayi 1, 11, Viloma, 1, 11

References

See The following references for Guidelines on Menstruation by Geeta Iyengar:

  • Iyengar G, The practice during the whole month-UK Iyengar Association 2009
  • Iyengar G, About Menstruation YOG 2003
  • Iyengar G, Yoga practice during menstruation Yoga Rahasya Volume B 2002
  • Iyengar G Yoga ; A Gem for Women
  • Iyengar G & BKS Iyengar, Iyengar International Womens Intensive 1997

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