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Why you shouldn't practice inversions on your period

I've been teaching yoga for 11 years and in each class I always recommend that women do not invert if on their period. But why is that?

When we are menstruating we naturally have a downward flow of energy known in yoga as apana vayu. Apana vayu contributes to things like elimination, digestion and reproduction. It channels energy down and out of the body. Whereas prana vayu is about drawing energy inward and upward.

There are times in the female cycle when we want to experience a rise in energy and connect to that prana vayu flow, for example throughout the follicular phase. This first half of the cycle can be likened to the waxing moon. We are drawing energy in, filling ourselves up until we reach the peak at ovulation. This time in the cycle is a great time to practice inversions. These asanas allow us to retain the prana/energy within our bodies and make good use of it.

As we drop into our luteal phase however, during the second half of the cycle we connect to the waning moon phase and our energy levels start to drop. The focus in this part of the cycle starts to turn to elimination, particularly as we reach the pole of menstruation. Our bodies are shedding the old to create space for the new and we can't fill a cup that is mid way through pouring something out.

Inversions flip the head below the heart which also flips the direction of energy. It can therefore disrupt this apana vayu and downward flowing movement of energy if we turn ourselves upside down.

There is a reason that we go through different phases of a female cycle. We require the full spectrum of experience and need times to be receiving just as much as giving, inward focus to balance the outward, light to balance the dark, upward versus downward etc.

Your yoga practice and the asanas you choose can support your cycle phases and help to balance the ebb and flow of upward/downward energy. During your period it's great to focus on grounding movements that strengthen the flow of apana vayu such as gentle forward folds and cleansing breaths that feel releasing and encourage the movement out and down through the pelvis and pelvic floor. It's also great during the second half of the cycle specifically to work with shakti bandhas (a gentler way of accessing mula bandha) that build strength in the pelvic outlet but also allow for relaxation in this area as we don't want to create hypertension which again can disrupt elimination and apana vayu.

The main thing to focus on is how you truly feel in these various asanas and practices. Your body has wisdom and insight and you are the expert of yourself. The more you practice in a way the prioritises your inner experience rather than how your practice looks, the more you learn to trust your own authority and realise that your body is always communicating to you. A yoga practice is an opportunity to slow down and listen to that inner communication.

If you'd like to practice with me in a way that supports the different feminine phases then sign up for a 7 day free trial today to get access to a library of classes immediately.


If you'd like more 1-2-1 support on this journey or have any questions then do get in touch.

My work encourages you to utilise the healing and transformational powers of the menstrual cycle and reclaim your cyclical nature in a cultural system that feels limiting or linear. Your cycle is your super power!

If you want to learn more about working with your cycle you can :

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