Is it safe to get your om on at that time of the month? Teens, learn what yoga can teach you about listening to your body and practicing self-care.
“It’s important for teens to begin to be responsible for their own health and wellbeing,” says Genny Kapuler, an intermediate junior III level Iyengar Yoga teacher. “When you’re menstruating and bleeding heavily, it is better for the menstrual flow to follow its natural order and flow down. You want to release the blood flow out.”
To that end, Iyengar Yoga advises women avoid poses that anatomically draw the uterus upward, compress the abdomen, or reverse the blood flow at that time of the month, Kapuler says. Think inversions, arm balances, and twists. “Only supported backbends are practiced during the menstrual cycle so that the low abdomen can be stretched and lengthened and widened,” she says, “not overstressed and overheated with a vigorous practice that would be appropriate at other times of the month.”
Kapuler advises modifying your lifestyle—in addition to your practice—at the beginning of your menstrual cycle. “Menstruation is very private for some,” she says. “You may want to stay home and lie quietly in bed. Taking a restorative yoga class may be nice. Once the bleeding is very light, you can resume a basic practice.”
Of course, growing up in our hyper fast-paced culture can make slowing down tough. But Kapuler stresses the importance of adopting positive self-care practices that can keep you healthy for the rest of your life. Craving an extra gentle practice? She recommends the following poses for the first few days of your period. They may even relieve some of the discomfort of PMS.