First off, can I just say...how beautiful is the term moontime? I know, I know, there is nothing wrong with saying period. BUT, with the fact that the moon energy is feminine, and many of our cycles actually synchronise with the phases of the moon...it's a pretty beautiful name for it, don't you think?
Anyway, moontime yoga is quite a debated topic within the yoga-sphere so I thought I would share my thoughts on it.
Personally? I believe it all DEPENDS.
- It depends on how you feel
- It depends on how you experience your moontime
- It depends entirely on you as a person
Why? Because we are all so different, and because of this we all experience our moontime differently, flow differently and feel differently, so it becomes, in my opinion, impossible to provide a clear cut no or yes with regards to whether you should practice yoga during this time.
For me personally, I have always experienced heavy moontime, with a generous amount of cramps and so for me, my moontime is a time to be slow, gentle and soft. I practice yoga during this time but will naturally long for more restorative, gentle, slow flow or yin style yoga. This is the style of yoga that I crave during this time. Our time of bleed for women is associated with the season of winter, a time for reflection and inner work, and this strongly correlates with how I personally feel during this time, so I always opt for a nourishing practice to accomodate this time.
You might be entirely different, you might feel energised and rearing to go to your favourite vinyasa class, all I would advise is something that I try to always share which is to always listen to your body, and if you want to go to an energising class - go ahead, but do remember that your body is going through an incredible process, so if you don't get that tricky posture you have been managing to find for the last few weeks, don't be hard on yourself - ok!?
Leading on from this, something to consider:
A few postures you may want to avoid during your moontime are inversions. An inversion is any pose where your head is below your heart, but more specifically in this case, any poses with your feet above your heart are postures to be aware of and perhaps avoid.
Inversions are incredible poses to invigorate us, leave us feeling energised, awakened and alert - they do this by reversing the flow of energy within the body. Usually we have a downward flow of energy - apana, but with inversion postures, this energy flow is reversed which can be incredible for energy, but a little counterproductive during your moontime, as naturally your period works with this natural apana of energy, as it releases downwards, throwing ourselves upside down is working against this natural flow. As well as the flow of energy, it can also cause heavier bleeding, as the uterus is moved slightly with the inversions, and this can cause more pressure and more of a bleed. Also as I mentioned above, be aware that your body is going through this process, and so with knowing that, be aware that super intense twists, or backbends are quite demanding on the body, so with your practice stay mindful as always with how your body feels.
Often you will find that a few days of your moontime you may feel the need to rest, and on others you feel energised to create some movement and maybe even a little heat, but remember that yoga is never about force or simply feeling the burn or sweating it out, but it is about feeling good, and that can come in all forms, both dynamic and restorative, gentle and floaty and strengthening and ALL are valid.
To conclude, there is no reason to avoid yoga during your moontime, but there is space to be more mindful during this time for yourself, perhaps be gentler and enjoy some time to find a softer edge to your practice, and avoid inversions to support this time for your body, but overall LISTEN TO YOUR BODIES INTELLIGENCE - it will tell you all that you need to know.