For some people it can be a surprise when an Iyengar Yoga teacher asks before class starts if they are menstruating; but it’s a helpful question. During menstruation, body and mind are in a different state, and women who are menstruating are advised to practise a different sequence rather than join in with the general class. Following a menstruation sequence can also help to ease associated physical and emotional discomfort.
Geeta Iyengar says “from the day menstruation begins until the day it ends … one should stick to the practice of those asanas that do not obstruct the menstrual flow and help a woman keep herself healthy. Only the asanas have to be done which do not make her run out of energy or bring any hormonal disturbance.”
So some poses – such as inversions, abdominal asanas and „body knottings“ – should be avoided, and women who have abnormal menstruation should talk to their teacher, who can then prescribe a personalised practice sequence which aims to improve menstruation and reproductive health.
Shayna Ogden – who’s a Senior Teacher at Ballarat Iyengar Yoga in Australia – has written a useful article about menstruation and Iyengar Yoga, covering what’s helpful – and what isn’t – including lots of useful examples, and you can read it here.