Did you know that there are certain things you should avoid when you have your period when it comes to yoga? Maybe this sounds weird, because yoga should be so good for us? And it is of course! But there are certain things that are good to avoid when you have your period - and it´s not the end of the world. Continue reading what you should avoid and why.
We have come to think we are static and don´t need to think about that we really are women and are in a constant flow of a cycle. The hormones are shifting, our mood are shifting, so trying to just keep going in the same way 24/7 is not optional for us as women. It´s like we are afraid to adapt to what we really need, as if this is a weakness, instead of being connected with our true nature and proud of it! Anyway, as women we need to follow our cycle instead of fighting against it. You can read more about that in this blog post Using your feminine power.
Some women find it boring that for some days we can´t do everything in our yoga practice. I hear you! I used to think like this myself, being a disciplined yogi that wanted to do my daily yoga practice without a modification. I really wanted to do my 40 days yoga therapy without a break in some of the postures and it seemed unfair that the men didn´t have that issue. But things have changed and I have changed and now follow my cycle instead of fighting against it.
You don´t need to avoid these yoga poses your whole period though, but the three or four first days in your period is enough, depending how heavy your period is. If you bleed heavily you avoid the poses/exercises longer.
Listen to your body, what you need when you have your period. Do yoga, listen to your heart and give yourself what you need.
I also want to point out that there are different approaches when it comes to this topic. My approach is as below, what I´ve learned in my 2 year long yoga teacher training and also because I´m specialized in endometriosis and pelvic pain, some people may find me a little bit stricter when it comes to this.
So here we go, these are things you should avoid in yoga when you have your period.
Inversions are yoga poses basically where you put your head below your heart. And the poses that are good to avoid is when your legs are up in the inversions.
The reasons you should avoid these poses are several:
One is because of the increase of the risk of blood flowing out of the fallopian tubes. We all do that sometimes without doing inversions, but it´s good to avoid, since we don´t know if this can cause endometriosis adhesions in the pelvis.
Another factor is that often inversions can be challenging for your body and abdominal area, and when you have your period it can be good to slow down a bit. But this is of course up to you.
Also, in the yogic tradition the apana, energy that flows in the downward direction from the navel centre and down, is reversed when we do inversions, so it is said to interfer with natural flow of the menstruation.
I want to add here, that only because you do inversions, it doesn´t mean that you will get endometriosis, there are so many factors that are involved in this illness and many unsolved factors unfortunately.
Plow pose, shoulder stand, head stand, half wheel pose (picture above).
2. Yoga poses where you pull in the navel point
There are some yoga poses where you emphasize the abdomen and/or pull in the navel point. Why you should avoid these poses is because you can start to bleed heavily and that is good to avoid, especially if you already have problems with that. And if you have a lot of problems with cramps, it is better to relax in that area than to put pressure on it. Some of these poses can be great to do rest of the month, when you´re not having your period though.
Some yoga poses you should avoid:
Leg lifts (photo above), crunches, bow pose, stretch pose
3. Breath of Fire
Breath of fire is a rhythmical breathing technique that creates energy and helps to clean your blood (among other benefits). It´s a wonderful technique to use if you feel that you need some alertness and energy. In this breathing technique you pull in your navel as you exhale, so that´s why you should avoid it when you have your period, because it can make you bleed heavily and also let your abdominal muscles relax instead of contracting them, as written above.
4. Root lock
Root Lock stimulates and circulates the energies of the lower chakras and helps transform sexual energy into creativity and physical regeneration. You contract the anal sphincter, the muscles around the sex organs, as if you were trying to stop the flow of urine, and the muscles around the navel point, pull them backward toward the spine.
Also here you pull in the navel, so that´s why you avoid root locks when you have your period. I know many teachers that don´t avoid root locks in their teaching, they simply avoid pulling in the navel. That´s fine if you are a yogi that are used to this, but in my classes I totally avoid them and also in my own yoga practice. My approach is to rest in this area when we have our period.
It is good to do yoga though, when you have your period so don´t skip it! It can help you to calm down and make your period easier. So continue your yoga practice and listen to what your body needs! I recommend my online course Breathe and Open up when you have your period, it´s great for your pain and hormones!
I´ve had problems with headaches most of my life. I started having bad migraine at the age of 18, and since then I´ve suffered from different kind of headaches. For many years I´ve tried to figure out why I have them. They´ve been all from pretty mild to terrible migraine when nothing helps. When I talked to my mother about this she told me I actually suffered from bad headaches from the age of 10. I can´t remember this, for me these headaches have become like a normal state in my life.
Today I don´t suffer from headaches anymore. Sure, they show up sometimes but I have them under control. For me the reason of my pain has been more than one cause and that´s why it has been such a long journey to find the cures. It has been like a huge jigsaw-puzzle, where I´ve tried to find all the missing pieces and put them together. Now, after many years of suffering I have found all of the missing pieces and know what all of my different headaches are all about, and this I want to share with you today, just in case you have the same problem as I had.
1. Drink enough water.
Maybe this sound obvious, but at least I forget to drink the amount of water I need to drink every day. Do you know that you need to drink around 30 ml/kg you weigh (that is almost 2 liter per day). Being dehydrated can give you headache. Drinking water is also good to help to cleanse toxins out of your body (that also can give you headache) so drinking enough water is a good idea.
2. Do yoga and meditation
Many yoga poses, relaxation and meditations have helped me with headaches. Stress is a well known factor to cause tension headaches and migraine. When your sympathetic nervous system is activated (the fight and flight response) the muscles are contracting and headache can show up. When you are stressed you often breathe very shallow and that can also give you headache. When you breathe shallow your blood is not oxygenated enough and if your oxygen levels are low you can get headaches and migraine. So simply by breathing long and deeply you can get rid of your headache.
There are also great yoga poses for headache, you can check out these three yoga poses for headache.
I also want to mention anxiety as a cause for headaches. Having a background of anxiety issue myself, I know that you can be very tense in an anxiety situation. You get a stress response and your muscles are tightening and the breathing becomes shallow. My personal belief is that many people are anxious without knowing and are suffering from different pain issues that they can´t get rid of because they are not aware of their anxiety. One great meditation if you suffer from anxiety is to try this Meditation if you are stressed like crazy.
If you have bad problems with anxiety, like Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Social Anxiety I recommend that you go to a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Acceptance Commitment Therapy. Often you need to work on your negative thought patterns together with a skilled therapist. But you can also do yoga parallel to your therapy.
3. Remove sensitivity food
Over the years I´ve found out that some food give me headaches (and also IBS, maybe there´s a connection between the two?) This can be a little bit tricky to find out, depending on quantity of the food and combinations. Sometimes I can eat some chocolate, but if I eat the day after it doesn´t work, or in combination with other foods. My theory here is that these kind of foods release histamine and that my body can take some histamine release, but when it´s too much, it gives me headache. I see it as I have a certain amount of histamine that is totally ok, but when I exceed that limit I get a headache or IBS. Some foods that are known to be sensitivity food are: Chocolate (sigh, my only addiction…), nuts, soy, gluten, dairy. It can take some time to figure out what you can be sensitive to, so the best way is to try to remove one thing at a time and journal how you feel. I also want to say that adding the good stuff is important too, so you don´t remove all your food only! ☺
If you want to look more into this with histamine and food I recommend the Low Histamine Chef that is a great source. And don´t forget my recipes to get some inspiration!
But before you remove food I would actually go to the next step first!
This was my last peace that was missing in the big jigsaw puzzle to figure out my sources for my headaches. I have written about it in this blog post: Whatever you do detox first! I have detoxed before and it has helped a bit, but not as clearly as last time. What I needed was some supplement to help the detox to go deeper and make the detox smoother, supporting the liver. (It contained pectasol, chlorella, beetroot and choline among other ingredients. It´s a Swedish brand so maybe you can find a similar where you live) It worked wonders!
So what the detox does is to get rid of the toxins in your body (obviously).We all get toxins in many ways, unfortunately, through food, water, air, things around us. If the liver doesn´t function in an optimal way, it doesn´t neutralize the toxins and other substances that needs to flush out of our system like hormones. It continues to circulate in our system and that can give you headache. In some traditions, it is claimed that migraine is caused by toxins. Well, I don´t know about that, but I do believe it can be one cause for many migraine sufferers out there. But, why not try a detox, you have nothing to lose really.
Tip: A mini detox I do myself everyday is to start the day with some warm water. Drink a glass of this warm water the first thing you do. It helps to flush out the toxins and also is good to help your elimination that also is important to help get rid of toxins.
5. Balance your hormones
It is well known that imbalanced hormones can cause headaches. It is common to get headache before your period or during your period. You can also have headaches from estrogen dominance. So to balance your hormones is a great way to decrease your hormonal headaches. My number one way to balance hormones is to lower the stress. To do yoga that helps you to relax in the pelvic region. My Online course Breathe and open up is focusing on this, to balance the hormones and reduce pain so check it out and read more about this there.
If I would choose 4 things to do balance the hormones it would be to
1. Start a yoga practice
2. Eat a good plant based diet
When I write this article I´m sitting on the boat landing at the cottage. The sun is shining, it´s hot and a mild breeze touches my skin. I can´t believe my headaches are gone! It feels unreal! I´m so happy the tears are coming.
Do you have problems with headaches? What has helped you? Please share with us in the comments below!
Are you breathing the Long Deep Breathing technique? This is so helpful for your health and helps you to be calm and also to make your mind clear and centered. What I hear a lot from some of my yoga students, especially in the beginning, is that they find it difficult to come into the flow of the long deep breath. That´s what I love with this meditation I´m going to share with you today, that it really helps you to connect with the long deep breath. Not only that, it´s very helpful to increase your calmness and a sense of peace. So try this meditation to come in that state of peace! ☮
Sit comfortable in easy pose or on a chair. You can also lie down if you want to. If you sit, sit with your spine erect. Relax your shoulder and close your eyes. focus in your third eye ponit (inbetween your eye brows).
If you find it difficult in the beginning you can try to start with 6-10 seconds each segment.
Breathe in this pattern for 3-11 minutes (or longer).
I´d love to hear from you so comment below and tell me how it works for you or if you have any questions!
I hear all the time the struggles you have on a daily basis. With endometriosis, PCOS and other pelvic pain. Not only are you struggling with this, you also try to have a normal life with jobs, family, children and friends. Some of you have long working hours, hard jobs, giving all you can to your job and family. What is then left for you, I sometimes think.
I got an email from a lady that asked me if I could record a video for this. That will help to cope for a hard day´s work, giving to others, maybe at work but also at home. So I put together a video for all of you women that needs some energy before starting your day, but also connect to your heart, so you do what´s best for you and give some self love to yourself.
A Yoga sequence that gives you energy and helps to connect to your heart.
This is a yoga sequence that will take around 15- 20 minutes. It´s good for you that has little time. The best is to do it in the morning before anything else.
This yoga sequence will give you:
The yoga sequence:
Start to sit in easy pose. Just feel that you are relaxed, dropping your shoulders, relaxing your jaw and close your eyes. Your hands on your knees with the tip of the index finger touching the tip of the thumb, the palms of the hands facing up. Try to have your eyes closed as much as possible. Just take a couple of deep breaths all the way down to your lower belly.
1. Breathing through right nostril.
Now place your left hand to the left of your face and block the left nostril with the thumb the other fingers pointing straight up. Or you can use your index finger to block if that´s easier for you. The right hand is on your knee in gyan mudra. Relax your shoulders and breathe long and deeply through the right nostril. Just focus on the breath and also keep your focus in the third eye point. This breathing technique helps to energize your body. It activates the sympathetic nervous system that gives you energy. Better than taking a cup of coffee! ☺ 2 minutes
To end, inhale deeply and hold the breath, bring down your hand. And slowly exhale. Rest for a minute and noticing how it feels in your body right now.
Benefits: Activates the sympathetic nervous system that will help you to get more energy, more alert and clear in your mind.
2. Butterfly stretch
Sit in easy pose
Bring the soles of your feet together. Hold on to your feet, and bend forward at your waist, bringing your head toward your feet. Hold this position and breathe long and deeply. All the way down to your belly.
If you find this pose too difficult I have some modifications for you, as I always have in my online courses:
Sit in this position for 1-3 min. And as you end you inhale deeply and slowly come up again and rest for a couple of minutes.
Benefits: Helps to increase the blood circulation in the pelvic region and the pelvic muscles to relax.
3. Spinal flex
Grasp your ankles with your hands. Inhale as you flex your spine forward and lift your chest up, arching your back forward. Exhale as you flex your spine backward and tilt your pelvis back.Keep your head and chin level, keeping your neck relatively still. Continue in this rythm for 1-3 minutes.
To stop inhale deeply and relax. Take a few deep breaths.
Benefits: Good for the back, opens up the ribcage and is also good for the breathing.
4. Shoulder rolls
The last yogapose before we end with a short mediation is shoulder roles. Bring up your shoulders close to your ears, and as you inhale start rolling your shoulders back and down. As you come down exhale, rolling forward and up. If you have problems with your shoulders, you can make smaller circles. Continue this movement connected to your breath. Remember to breathe long and deeply. Relax your jaw and just let your shoulders roll in big circles. To end: Inhale deeply and pull up your shoulders as high as you can, almost so they touch your ears. Hold your breath. And slowly exhale. Sit and relax with deep breaths.
Benefits: Helps your muscles in the shoulders to relax.
5. Calm heart meditation
We are going to finish with a meditation that is called Calm Heart. It´s a meditation that is really good to do if you need to calm down or have high anxiety. It adds clear perception to your relationships with yourself and others and makes you come close to your own heart.
This is how you do it:
Sit in easy pose or on a chair with your spine straight. Place your left hand on the center of your chest at heartlevel. The palm of the hand is flat on your chest and your fingers are horizontal and pointing to the right. Raise your hand to your right side as giving a pledge, the palm faces forward. The tip of the right index finger touches the tip of the thumb and rest of the fingers are straight. Keep your elbows relaxed and your shoulders relaxed.
Now focus on the flow on your breath. Breathe long and deeply, down to your belly. As you have inhaled hold your breath in slightly, as long as it feels comfortable for you. Then exhale slowly and gently, and as you have exhaled hold the breath out. And continue breathing in the pattern. 3-5 min
To end: inhale deeply, hold the breath and take down your hands, place them on your knees, and exhale. And sit for a few moments and relax.
Benefits: This meditation makes you calm, decreases anxiety and helps to connect to your heart. A great meditation before you need to take important decisions.
I hope you like this poses and try to do them at home the first thing you do in the morning. I´d love to hear how these poses work for you so please comment below or if you have any questions.
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Helen Kåselöv is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist and the founder of Healing from within with yoga & food (former Yoga for Endometriosis & Pelvic pain). Helen has a history of severe endometriosis and is today helping women with endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids and other pelvic pain online, with yoga, nutrition and other lifestyle changes. Using yoga both as a tool in different kinds of healing programs, pain management, yoga has become the foundation in her work. “Yoga can help you in so many ways: Physically, mentally, spiritually and as a personal development tool.”