Need a break during your cycle? Try this gentle sequence for menstruation.
Most contemporary yoga teachers advise a fairly conservative approach toward asana practice during menstruation. These menstrual sequences generally consist of prop-supported poses—mostly forward bends. This makes perfect sense for women who feel sluggish during their cycle. However, many other women don't feel the need to change anything about their practice during menstruation, except maybe to limit strenuous inverted poses. Each student should decide for herself what kind of asana sequence is most appropriate for her body during menstruation.
Minimum time: 45 minutes
Maximum time: 60 minutes
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
Support the torso on a bolster.
(Total time: 5 minutes)
Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Big Toe Pose)
Use a strap to hold the raised leg in place. Hold each side for 2 minutes.
(Total time: 4 minutes)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
(Total time: 2 minutes)
Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Pose)
Support the head either on a bolster laid across your extended leg, or if you're less flexible on the front edge of a padded chair seat. Hold each side for 3 to 5 minutes.
(Total time: 6 to 10 minutes)
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
With your torso and head supported on a bolster laid along your legs.
(Total time: 3 to 5 minutes)
Upavistha Konasana (Seated Wide-Angle Pose)
Rest the torso on a bolster positioned between your legs with its long axis parallel to your torso.
(Total time 3 to 5 minutes).
Then come up and twist to each side for 30 seconds to 1 minute, holding the shin or the inside of the foot.
(Total time: 1 to 2 minutes)
Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward-Facing Bow)
Supported on a chair. Pad the chair seat with either a sticky mat or a folded blanket. Then slide your legs through the space between the chair back and seat, and sit on the back edge of the seat facing the chair back. Grip the chair legs just below the chair back and, with an exhalation, lean into a backbend. The front edge of the seat should cross your back torso just under your shoulder blades. Keep your knees bent and feet on the floor. Support the back of your head, either on a bolster or a block. You can continue to hold the chair legs, stretch your arms overhead, or slip your arms underneath the seat between the chair legs and grip the back rung. Be sure to breathe smoothly. To come up, grip the chair legs just below the chair back, and pull yourself up with an exhalation. Try to lead to movement of your torso with your chest, not your head.
(Total time: 3 to 5 minutes)
Still sitting reversed through the chair, twist to the right with an exhalation, hold for 30 seconds, then twist to the left for 30 seconds. Repeat three times to each side, each time holding for 30 seconds.
(Total time: 3 minutes)
Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose)
Support the pelvis on a bolster or rolled blanket. Be sure to slide off the support before your turn to your side.
(Total time: 5 to 10 minutes)
(Total time: 8 to 10 minutes)