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Yoga/Pilates (Bodily function issues...)

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Old 03-16-2008, 08:26 PM   #1
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Default Yoga/Pilates (Bodily function issues...)

Hello everyone!

I was just curious about what I should do about yoga and pilates while I'm on my period? It's coming up (ughhh), and in the past I have just stopped doing it, but that's where I get most of my exercise from and I don't want to stop for a week because of that.

The yoga video I have has some warning at the beginning saying women who are menstruating shouldn't do back bends, inverted poses, and some other kind of pose that I can't remember. The problem is, I don't know what pose is considered an "inverted" pose and what isn't. I've had friends that say that they do yoga even when they are on their period and it doesn't affect them at all, but since there was a warning, I'm not sure if I should take a chance or not.

I mean, really, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal. In fact, I really can see no reason why menstruating would get in the way of yoga, unless you just find it uncomfortable.

Anyways, I was just wondering if anyone had any info on this. I don't really feel like calling my doctor just to ask about yoga, haha, so I figured I'd try here first.

Thanks in advance!!!
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:50 PM   #2
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I just saw that warning too on one of my Yoga DVDs but I have never EVER stopped from working out during my periods... I don't have that curse anymore but when I did, I did ALL the poses with no problem at all...
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:01 PM   #3
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I have done yoga (including inverted poses) during my period. Like Ilene, it is not an issue any more

Inverted poses are those where your head is below your heart (downward dog for instance). For some women, this can affect their flow- causing it to be heavier. I think you know your body, and be aware of changes that indicate you should stop.
Here is an answer from a Prevention forum when this question was asked of a yoga instructor:
"I have a student ask me this question once a week, at least, and that's because it's a good one. The reason it's mixed is because the yoga masters, and the medical community, are looking at two different aspects of inverting during your period.

Docs give us the thumbs up: there is no medical evidence that women are at risk of anything by doing inversions while menstruating.

Yogis were thinking of something else: energy. During your period, you undergo a lot of "apanic", or downward-moving energy. You don't have to tell me: every month, I'm more likely to want a grounded, calming practice, and then a hot bath over my usual sun salutation-o-rama.

If a student practices long-held inversions [we're talking over 30 minutes or more, EACH), they can begin to reverse the energetic flow, and it can throw off our inner balance. This is why yogis call your period your "moon cycle," because it's said to be the time most energetically conducive to being the opposite of the sun: introspective, cooling, and quiet.

You will not damage yourself, or your energy if you go upside down for short, um...periods... during your regular yoga classes. You may, however, not feel like it."
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:44 PM   #4
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I have seen this as well and wondered about it too. Thanks for the clarification.

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Old 03-17-2008, 01:17 AM   #5
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Sweet, thanks for all of y'all's input!!
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:52 AM   #6
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I just wanted to comment on the "moon cycle" reference. The mensutral cycles are meant to follow along with the phases of the moon, the world's first calendar. This is why most menstrual cycles follow a 28 day pattern, rather than being "off" like our calendars-having 29, 30, or 31 days in a month.

It is a time where your energy IS different. In many religions it is a revered time for women-women who are having their moon cycle are often not allowed in the circle at a Native American pow-wow, or in the Pagan religions, it is deemed very powerful for a woman to be menstruating during a moon ritual, for instance.

For the most part, yogis are usually into more alternate spiritual paths, and these energies play a part. If you are doing yoga for just exercise, it won't harm you. However, if you are more into the spiritual practice of it as well, I would choose a dvd that didn't have so many of those poses.
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