"Remember; be kind and loving towards yourself through whatever stages you might go through not just during this period but also in life."
In the Indian and yogic tradition you are suppose to rest when you have your menstruation. Why? Because a woman’s body has the ability to cleanse itself through menstruation and when that process is active it´s important to let the body rest. It´s also a time when you move awareness to yourself and get more internally focused. In an Indian traditional family the women don´t have to take care of the house, make food and she has her own place to rest so she will not be disturbed in her process.
When the females have their menstruation the Shakti, their great power arises. That’s why we often feel strong and energetic when the period has started. But our body gets sensitive and it is easier to break. Now even western doctors say that women should take it easier when they have their menstruation because there is a higher risk of injuries. We become less focused and we have maybe to much power in our senses so we don’t feel when we should back off.
Another thing is when the body already contains a lot of heat, if you add physical exercise you create more heat and nerve channels get over powered. You can check your pulse when you have your menstruation and noticed that it will be slightly higher then normal. When the body get overheated you age faster according to the yogic tradition. Well it kind of makes sense if you think of your body containing the entire elements system of the nature if the fire is too strong you burn and then it´s only ashes left.
I know from experience and because we in the west like to simplify things a little and make it as we like it. We tend to go strong in our Yoga practice even during menstruation. Yes, we might avoid inversions but except from that we go for it. I´m not going to lecture you what is right or wrong. I’m only going to say that maybe there is a reason it is mentioned in the ancient texts..?
We can come to a middle way… A proposal is then if you can´t wait 7days which is suggested, let the body rest completely for 3days. You can still do breathing exercises not kabalaphati but softer ones and meditation. Day 4 to 7 you do gentle practice more internally focused but no big stretches or poses.
I go through 3 stages...
One week before the period starts I´m very sensitive. There is a sense of uneasiness in the body and mind. Old things I thought were processed can come back in small portions, my energy is low and I feel over all a little melancholic. No big dramas but still not really comfortable and I easily shed a tear. I also get hungry like you are preparing for a marathon…
My week… Now I´m very unfocused especially when it comes to using your head, like driving. It´s a disaster should really not drive during this time. In classes I say the entire wrong thing, like right leg and I mean left. Shoulder when I mean elbow.
I really try avoiding having classes during this period. But I must say I become very present in myself and towards others if I just don´t have to use the intellectual part of my body and my brain.
I usually have lots of energy in my mind and feel ambitious and I always feel an urge to practice something I have not completely mastered yet. But my body wants to be left alone; my hips are so tight and I easily store a lot of emotions in my body and especially in my hips.
Now 7 days has passed and my body has not yet come back to be soft but the emotions are now usually back in balance. It takes a couple of days with kind words to my body before it starts to open up again. There is no way I can press it to open, the more gentle I am the faster both mind and body can rest and be present.
What ever you choose to do it´s great. It’s your body, only yours! Let´s just keep in mind what beautiful creations women are and listen what feels right for us not what society says.
Remember; be kind and loving towards yourself through whatever stages you might go through not just during this period but also in life. Give yourself extra time to self reflect maybe ask your family to be extra aware and supportive.
Next week I will give you 5 postures to a happier ladies holiday