Yoga And Menstruation
Yoga, an ancient system of healing, exerts a positive influence on health and well being, by changing the way we think, feel and respond to life situations. Yoga is also an alternative therapy for relieving pain and fatigue.
Menstruation, also called the uterine cycle, is a natural phenomenon in a woman’s life which occurs every month from puberty to menopause. It is characterized by monthly vaginal discharge of blood and cells from the uterine linings. The menstrual cycle normally lasts from two to seven days.
Women undergo hormonal changes during menstruation, and tend to become anxious during this phase. A regular practice of yoga ensures relief from pain, and steers the body and mind towards the pink of health.
An insight into Hatha Yoga, which comprises yogic postures, deep breathing, and meditation, extols its threefold blessing: health, well- being and long life. It is wise to draw from the power of yoga, especially for women during the phases of menstruation, menopause, pregnancy and pre-menstrual syndrome. In effect, yoga helps cope with the pain and discomfort associated during the sensitive phases in a woman’s life. It is aptly said, “Peace in the body gives poise in the mind”.
Exploring the Connection: Yoga and Menstruation
Ayurveda texts speak of the presence of 5 pranas or life currents that are responsible for the body's functioning.
Of relevance to this topic, is the life current or prana in the Apana form, directed downwards and responsible for excretion, urination and menstruation. During the menstrual cycle, the direction of energy (apana), is downwards, and therefore is directed out of the body. It is important to ensure the natural flow of this current without obstruction.
Women experience PMS or premenstrual syndrome before the commencement of their menstrual cycle. It usually begins a week or two before the commencement of menstruation and lasts till the onset of menstruation. PMS is characterized by- discomfort, insomnia, headache, irritability, depression, or sometimes even violent behaviour and suicidal tendencies.
The phase of PMS can be alleviated by yoga. In fact, regular practice of yoga can offset the symptoms of PMS, while also reducing the pain and discomfort associated with the menstrual period.
Therefore, menstrual period should not be viewed as a low energy phase; it is rather an opportune time to turn inward and remain free from physical exertion.