What Yoga Postures Should Be Avoided During Menstruation?


Swamiji in his Art and Science of Raja yoga, says that women during menstrual cycle should avoid stomach poses. What are the other poses to be avoided? What about Mahamudra and Kriya? Has Master talked about these things?

—Isa, India


Hello Isa,

The reason for this caution is to avoid putting excessive pressure on the lower abdominal region during menstruation. For some women it might make no difference, but for others there can be discomfort. So poses such as Dhanurasana (Bow), Salabhasana (easy version of Locust), and Mayurasana (Peacock) should be avoided. Uddiyana Bandha (stomach lock) should be done gently, if at all.

Yogis also often say to avoid significant inversion of the body during menstruation (e.g., Sarvangasana and Sirshasana, the Shoulderstand and Headstand). Some women experience discomfort or excessive or prolonged flow if they invert significantly during that time. Also, inversion counters the natural direction of energy movement in the body at that time – that’s a subtler reason, but no less real.

Maha Mudra and Kriya are fine during menstruation.

I am not aware of Paramhansa Yogananda having said anything on the subject of asanas to do or not do during menstruation, perhaps in part because he didn’t emphasize Hatha Yoga for his female disciples.