Bloated, crampy, and in no mood to exercise?
Does even your beloved Hot Yoga feel like a chore when you are on your period?
I get it!
Sometimes you just don’t feel like getting yourself out of the house and doing anything during that time of the month.
Maybe you worry about making a mess or having an odor. It’s understandable.
Doing hot Yoga on while on your period is not only OK. It may help take your mind off the cramps, lift your mood, and the endorphins from exercise always feel great!
Here are three things that may help.
Be a Diva! Use a Menstrual Cup
If you already discovered menstrual cups, then I know I am preaching to the choir here.
If you have never tried a menstrual cup, like the Diva cup, you should.
I use a menstrual cup and highly recommend one.
I previously used tampons, which felt like they dried me out and sometimes I could feel them. Totally uncomfortable.
I also tried pads and if my flow was heavy, they felt messy. Sorry. TMI. But it’s true.
At first, the thought of a cup sounded weird to me, like it would leak, and not stay in. But after my first time using the one I was a believer.
It stayed in, held all my flow, and I only had to mess with it twice a day. Once in my morning shower and once in my evening shower.
Yes, I take two showers a day during my period, but it’s a small price to pay IMO. Using a cup is the closest thing to not having a period at all if you ask me.
Just keep one of these cups tucked in your yoga bag next to your hot yoga mat, and always be prepared.
So what else helps make hot Yoga more do-able if you are on your period?
I have a few more tips, so keep reading.
Go with the Flow and Avoid Inversions
It might be a good idea to avoid inversions or Viparita Sthitti movements and focus on movements that enhance your Apana energy while you are menstruating.
It has more to do with your energy flow than your menstrual flow and I will tell you why.
When you are menstruating, your body is more heavily influenced by Apana energy that governs elimination and downward and outward movement.
What poses should you avoid while on your period?
Inversion poses like handstands, downward facing tree, crow, shoulder stand, plow, scorpion and full wheel pose all create more prana energy, which is an upward energy flow.
So inversions literally go against the flow of your energy if you are on your period.
I am not saying that inversions are bad for you in a physical or medical sense. They won’t cause endometriosis, blood won’t “go the wrong way” or anything like that. In fact, I am not a doctor and have no grounds to give medical advice at all!
The only reason I say to avoid inversions is due to assisting the energy flow of Apana during your cycle.
What should you do, then?
Some poses that facilitate Apana energy and are great to practice during your period are forward bending poses like child’s pose or cow face pose.
Even twisting poses like seated twists or two knee twists and the supported backbend pose Setu Bandhasana are good poses to practice during your period.
Give yourself a break and listen to your body
Just because it’s perfectly acceptable to perform yoga while on your period does not mean you need to add it to your list of “should do’s”.
It is your body and you know what is best for it. No one can tell you with certainty that you should or should not do hot yoga while on your period.
If you feel pain or pressure, or just plain uncomfortable for whatever reason, be it physical or not, don’t force it!
Breathing, meditation, and other relaxing practices might be better options. Even making an appointment for a massage or facial are good self-care practices you can engage in.
What are my alternatives?
Practice Yin Yoga instead of Hot Yoga when you are on your period.
Yin yoga is less active, some say more relaxing and meditative yoga that focuses on improving circulation and flexibility. It uses passive floor poses that are held longer. You can also read about aerial yoga which is weightless and feels amazing.
The Apana energy, which is high during or period, is about releasing and cleansing, in a physical, spiritual mental and emotional sense.
Breathing is one way to facilitate the Apana flow of energy. Exhaling is a release in and of itself. Each exhale carries Apana out.
Focused breathing, while being mindful of negative emotion, and most importantly, discharging the negative emotion, can be a great release, and a great facilitator of the flow of Apana energy.
Take 1 or 2 days off
Energetically and physically, your period gives you a unique opportunity to cleanse yourself.
If your flow is heavy, your body is busy at work and may need a day or two off from exercise to rest. Resting is one way you assist your body and help it cleanse itself.
Am I saying it’s wrong to practice Hot Yoga on your cycle?
No. By all means, do what feels right for your body. If you are comfortable practicing hot yoga on your cycle, do not let the decisions of others be your decision by default.
No two people are alike and no one size fits all answer works. You are the master of your body and your inner knowledge will guide you if you sit with yourself and listen for the answer.
The bottom line?
At the end of the day, do what feels right for you. Your decision is yours to make and what is right for you may not be what others choose, and that is OK.