Why We Don’t Practice Inversions During Menstruation?

Here at the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre we practise inversions… lots of inversions. Many of us are pretty addicted  to them and so missing out on shoulder stand, Halasana and of course - everybody’s favourite – hanging Sirshasana –  for four to six days when you have your period can feel very inconvenient. Most of us who love our daily hanging have been in the situation of thinking ‘oh, it’s not so heavy this month’ or ‘I think it’s almost finished’ so that we can get our inversion fix and we hang anyway. Some women, sadly, are even embarrassed to be seen to be missing out on the inversions – particularly ones done in class like shoulder stand – and some of us just resent and are resistant to the idea that we are somehow less capable for a few days each month. And yet, there are some good reasons that we at the HIYC do NOT recommend any inversions during menstruation.

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The Law of Cause and Effect

The law of cause and effect is a universal law, just like gravity. It stands for a definite as it brings a definite effect. In our yoga practice, we also understand this law with the Sanskrit word Hatha: the balance between "Ha" which is the action, and "Tha" the reflection of that action.

The law of cause and effect is a fundamental concept that we learn right from the beginning of our practice at the Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre. We observe in Tadasana for example, how stretching the toes brings power into our front thighs. Stretching the toes is the cause, the action, and feeling our thighs becoming firm is the effect.

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Yoga Therapy for Women

According to the „Hatha Yoga Pradipika”, the female energy in yoga is represented as Ida the lunar pole opposite of the male energy Pingala. Ida represents the emotional, nurturing, intuitive wholistic and introverted aspects of humanity, it is these lunar energies which keep the world in a more harmonious state. It is said that it is the female who is the transporter of energy and it is she who iniates a spiritual journey into higher consciousness. However this is not such the case in todays society, rather quite the opposite. Women and her beautiful energetic strengths are opressed, manipulated and humilated. What happened to the spiritual iniater described in these ancient yogic texts? A male dominated ego driven society.

Yogic practice can bring women back in touch with this feminine power which once upon a time shone so brightly. Through the practice of yoga women can attune to their natural energetic rythym which has been opressed through centuries of manipulation and dillusion. A woman is faced with many challenges and obstacles through her course of life physical and emotional such as the challenges faced by a patriarchal society, menstruation, child birth, menopause and mental health. All of which can be aided through yoga therepy and a consistent yoga practice. Yoga therapy can be an effective practice in both preventing, improving and even eradicating some of these obstacles.

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Yoga and Mental Attitude

The content of our thoughts not only effect the way in which we relate to ourselves, however also those around us. In society, especially the west we spend far too much time, money and energy on looking after the physical body opposed to wellbeing of our mental health. A positive mental attitude and a mind of less distructive emotions can be an answer to a more peaceful society with less suffering . Our thoughts and emotions are in constant fluctuations as so is the entire universe. A healthy mental attitude not only gives fruit to a happier life of less suffering however leads us on the path to a more compassionate way of being, to ourself and the world at large.

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Strength in Our Yoga Practice

Many people search for strength from their yoga practice but the pursuit of strength is one sided and cannot lead to a wholesome yoga practice. In fact it is not yoga at all.

In Chinese philosophy yin and yang is a symbol that shows how two apparently opposite forces are in fact interconnected. The black and the white of yin-yang are endlessly entwined and each is inhabited by the other in the form of a dot of the opposite colour. Therefore, it shows how the existence of any one reality or concept automatically implies its opposite and indeed necessitates it as they are interdependent and complementary parts of a whole. So we cannot speak of something without implying its opposite, and depending on it to create wholesomeness.

'Strength' is a good example of this; it is generally considered a positive attribute whereas on the other side we perceive the negative one of weakness. Where we are not strong we imagine we are weak and in yoga practice this encourages people who fear weakness to overwork and overstrain their bodies from the desire to be strong. Instead of weakness we should think of softness, receptiveness and ability to let go. In fact we will see that in order to create a wholesome practice we must embrace these qualities and that without so doing, focus on strength will only ever bring more imbalance.

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Top Blogs

Sharat Arora
03 August 2016
16.10.14 When we do a practice like we do in our Iyengar Yoga centres, we gain understanding, so we increase our awareness about ourselves and about the world. We go inside and the mind slowly stops i...