Yoga + Menstruation

In analyzing how people arrive at my blog, I learned that the most popular key word search was about yoga and menstruation. So I thought I would take this post to share my experiences on taking a Bikram yoga class while having my period.

I’m not sure what questions people have about taking Bikram while on your period. So if you have one, leave it in the comment section. If I have a thought I’ll respond or just write more posts. From what I can tell based on the searches, most people want to know if they can come to class when they are having their period. I would say yes, you can, unless a doctor tells you not to. However, I’ve come to class before when a doctor told me not to (cracked ribs), and I don’t regret it. I tell you this so you know who you’re dealing with. 🙂

I have horrible, horrible periods. Taking yoga when I am having them is generally a pretty rotten experience. I get what I like to call the rolling black fog which is exactly what it sounds like. I get dizzy, I see blackness, and making it through class is very, very tough. I also tend to sweat about 1000 times more. So gross. Way more gross than normal.

But things have gotten better lately, and I’ll tell you why: acupuncture.  I asked my acupuncturist to help alleviate some awful physical symptoms I experience outside of the yoga room which include: (a) massive abdominal cramps, (b) extreme tiredness, (c) lower backaches, and (d) general grumpiness. The cramps have also shown up in class, and they are a whole lot of no fun. They have brought me to the floor and kept me there more than once. I am so afraid of getting cramps in class that I will take advil before I go to class even if I don’t have cramps. That’s how bad they are if they come on in class.

So my acupuncturist has been working on this for 4-6 months now. Every month I come back with a new report, and he does more work. This time, all the major issues except the grumpiness were non-existent. I had no cramps at all. At all. This is a big deal because I have always had major cramps every month of every year since I was 15. I had no idea that in six-ish months they could be reduced to nothing through acupuncture. This is amazing.

My yoga was also better this time around. I still sweated 1000 more than is normal, but the rolling black fog was not as dense, didn’t show up as often, and didn’t stay for very long. I was very tired one afternoon after class and took a 90-minute nap. That could have been due to my period and taking class or not. I don’t really know.  Class was still difficult to get through for the first two days, but not like it normally is. It was at least 60% better.

In summary, here’s my take on the whole yoga while menstruating thing:

– it is not fun (for me)

– class is usually more difficult

– I sweat more

– I am terrified to get cramps during class

– acupuncture is worth it

That being said, going to class is better than not going to class even if it means taking a break. If you’re like me, and find yourself having awful menstrual cycles, you might consider acupuncture. It has helped me tremendously both in and out of the hot room. I personally don’t see any reason not to go to yoga while having my period.

So that’s my two cents on the subject.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Simmm
    Dec 11, 2012 @ 10:21:54

    I’d like to add to your summary: forget about balancing on one leg! At least for me, the balancing postures look pretty comical when I’m on my period (and a few days before). I sway around, fall out of the postures, and just giggle at myself. It’s all good though 🙂 It’ll pass.
    My experience reg. cramps: my debilitating cramps let up when I’m in the hot room. However, they promptly return while I’m in the shower. It’s nice to get a break from them for 90 minutes though, because they can be so bad (outside of the hot room) that I get dizzy.

    Reply

  2. leighahall
    Dec 12, 2012 @ 20:00:09

    That’s crazy about the balancing! I highly recommend acupuncture. This last time I had no cramps at all which is just unheard of. It took me about 4-6 treatments to get here, but I was in such a bad place when I started. I’m sure the next time I go we’ll need to at least tweak something related to it.

    Reply

  3. Julie
    Jan 09, 2013 @ 21:37:41

    Thank you for this blog post. I too experience horrible menstrual symtoms. While they have improved a little, one thing that still lingers are the unbearable cramps. How long after appuncture did you notice improvements?

    Reply

    • leighahall
      Jan 10, 2013 @ 06:50:12

      Julie, I noticed almost immediately. It took about 4-6 sessions to really get all my symptoms under control. I think the first thing that went away was the extreme tiredness and backaches. I still get cramps, but they are so minimal now. I’d been dealing with this since I was 15 so to have it go down to almost nothing in 4-6 months was mind-blowing.

      Reply

  4. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Sep 06, 2014 @ 21:47:04

    Yoga + Menstruation http://t.co/X7juxjFreH #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag

    Reply

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