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Why are women not supposed to do downward-facing dog in Yoga during menstruation?

Posted by SparkyAA

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Hello Sparky,

You may, with this question, get some very mixed replies as inversions during menstruation is a hot-button topic yoga (asana). I'll give you the answer I can give you based on my lineage from my teacher, Aadil Palkhivala, and his teachers BKS Iyengar and Sri Aurobindo.

During menstruation a woman's energetic flow is a downward flow (from the heart down). This is a direction of cleansing. Inversions go against that directional flow (both energetically and physiologically) and therefore it is best when on your cycle to do an asana sequence which respects, honors, and "goes with" the energy already present in the body.

Adho Mukha Svanasana is one such inversion. Sirsasana (headstand), Sarvangasana (shoulderstand), Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand) and Pincha Mayurasana (feathered Peacock) are examples of others. 

I appreciate your answer.  =)  I must admit that, though I have done Yoga for years, it is only at a beginner level, only working w/DVD's since I can't afford classes.  So I will have to look into what you mentioned for postures and correct positioning.  Thanks again!

You are quite welcome.

I just want to clarify, the inversions I listed in the last paragraph of my previous post are NOT to be done during the menstrual cycle.

An appropriate asana sequence during (for) the menstrual cycle is very specific and should be learned from a qualified teacher. 

LOL, yeah, I re-read your response after I posted again & realized that - sorry!  But at least I eventually got it.  I found some info on about foreward bending poses to substitute instead...I wish I could take classes instead, but just not possible.  I am familiar w/a few of the mentioned foreward bends and am comfortable doing them, so as long as they are ok for said time, then I will do those instead...the website for the info I got is:

I've looked at your link. Frankly, any site that intermingles yoga and pilates makes my spidey sense tingle. You simply never know what you're getting and from where it's coming.

Furthermore, I advise caution in taking yoga (asana) advice from someone who is not a well trained teacher. Anecdotal information is lovely - what worked for her can be incredibly useful. However it is also misinterpreted by some as a one-size-fits-all solution. Additionally I don't know if that person is aware of safety concerns.

I surely would not have students doing Dhanurasana as part of a gentle, honoring sequence for the menstrual cycle. 

Well, she definitely had a couple of poses (the "bow" pose) that I wouldn't really be able to do - I'm not that flexible.  But if it helps, I used to take ballet when I was younger & learned early on to only do what I know is possible for my body as well as when to stop and how to hold myself to prevent injury.  So if I know something is outside of my scope of possibility, I try other things to build up to it over time.  Ever heard of Bikram Choudhury?  While I wish I could do that, I'd probably die in his class!  LOL

Good points you raise from your dance background. However, topically we are talking about what one does to support the menstrual cycle rather than what flexibilities one might gain gradually over time. 

During menses the asana sequence should be gentle and restorative without taxing the mind or body relative to flexibility and achievement.



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