Yoga During your moon cycle
This is one of the more controversial topics in yoga because it boils down to a conflict between ancient Vedic texts and the modern world. As a woman who experiences her own moon cycles, I decided to compile together the two comparisons based on my hundreds of hours of training, modern times, and personal experience. This way, you can take what you want and make a decision that's best for you!
What Do The Vedas Say?
In the Vedic texts, it talks about how women who are in their moon cycle should not practice asana or many pranayama practices. The reason behind their mindset is because during that time, our nervous system is in extreme focus to prepare us for our journey. It is working harder than normal to allow our bodies to move through the course they're supposed to move through — downward. So while our nervous system is working harder than normal, and while we are moving through this beautiful period, according to the texts, we should be “taking it easy” and allowing our bodies to rest. They suggest this by avoiding inversions, intense breathing exercises, and big movements. We should be letting our nervous system work uninterrupted without any excess stress.
Seems logical, right? Well, the only downfall I noticed is that with time, things did not change. While in one of my yoga therapy 300-hr trainings in India, it was still very discouraged to practice on your moon cycles. I actually couldn’t participate in some of the Kriyas that we did because my teacher felt I shouldn’t do that to my nervous system while my body was working to move me through my period. Whereas in Kriya Yoga, the Himalayan Tantric Kundalini style of Sattva Yoga, kriyas are available to all people, of any age, body type, or time of the month. Certain kriyas work on the second chakra, which may be more powerful during this time or not, but it is all up to personal experience.
What Do Modern Times Say?
Whatever you want! These days, it is all about speaking out and being a feminist, which I support fully! I do believe there are points in the Vedic texts that you can’t argue with, like the fact our nervous system is working harder than normal, however that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t honor your body and how you feel personally. A lot of the argument you will see is the fact that the Vedas are “ancient and uneducated” texts. However, especially in these times, there are so many other types of yoga, like restorative and yin where you are barely moving and just relaxing. Even with these new types of yoga, the Vedas still remain where they have stood.
What My Personal Experience Says
Just listen to your body. My period makes me so sleepy and sometimes going into a handstand or any inversion is just what I need! It doesn’t take much for me to fall into a slump of not wanting to do anything, so I decide to move my body how I want to. Of course I take extra care of myself and if my cramps are too bad, I will totally take it easy. But sometimes when I don’t want to go on my mat is when I need to get on it the most! Everyone’s period is different than the next so don’t let outside sources define how you feel and how you practice.