A menstruation sequence than can be a restorative practice for everyone.

Menstruation is a time when women can suffer from symptoms such as abdominal cramping, tiredness, irritability, and low blood pressure, It is a time when the body is working hard to expel unwanted matter and from a yogic perspective a more restorative practice is advised. The sequence shown in this post works well as a general menstruation sequence. It consists of a series of supine postures, supported forward bends, and alternatives to inversions. However this program is adaptable and not necessarily only for women going through menstruation. It can be useful as a practice to alleviate symptoms women go through as they enter perimenopause and menopause. It also can be helpful for men to counter, what BKS Iyengar terms as, their ‘intellectual arrogance’.

This sequence starts with supported supine postures. These poses lengthen and broaden the abdominal region which can often be prone to contraction and cramping during menstruation. They also are relaxing for the muscles and nerves, which is soothing for those who suffer from irritability during this time. These poses also lubricate, extend and flex the joints of the legs. When the legs are relieved and quietened, the brain becomes calm and receptive. Single sided poses can be held for 5 minutes, and double sided 3 minutes each.

Head supported forward bends follow the supine postures. It is important to make sure that the support is is enough so that the head does not drop below the height of the chest. It is also important to make sure that the abdomen is not contracted or hardened during these poses. The order presented in the photos below follows on well from the supine series, however it can be altered. For example the series can commence with more close legged poses such as ardha padma paschimottanasana and triang mukha eka pada paschimottanasana, and progress towards more open legged forward bends, such as baddha konasana and upavista konasana. It is always good to end the series with paschimottanasana. Again, single sided poses can be held for 5 minutes, and double sided 3 minutes each.

The importance of inversions cannot be over emphasised, and even during menstruation alternatives are given. According to Ayurveda the menstrual blood must be thrown out, and as inversions arrest the flow, they are contra indicated. However a supported version of dwi pada viparita dandasana, where the head is in a vertical orientation, as in sirsasana, is an appropriate alternative. A supported version of setu bandha sarvangasana, where the head is in a horizontal orientation, is the alternative to sarvangasana. These poses also offer a counter pose effect to the head supported forward bends. In the photos below three alternative versions of each of these poses is shown, and can be taken, according to whether the period is heavy or light, and also according to props available. For those not menstruating the full inversion could be taken. A minimum of 5 minutes for each of these poses.
 As always, savasana to finish for at least 5 minutes.