Monday, November 8, 2010


The goal for my 'Lady's Non-holiday' this month: Stick to a routine.

I often get lethargic and depressed during these few days, but I'm not sure my cycle is entirely to blame. It might have *something* to do with the fact that I'm usually oversleeping, eating unhealthy food (chocolate!) and doing very little yoga (or any kind of exercise).

I'm the first to admit that I'm a bit of a baby about this whole thing. Yeah, I get cramps, but I always feel better if I get up and move around. But it's such a good excuse to sit around and watch DVDs, which is fun but not necessarily healthy for me.

So here's a plan: For the next three days, I'm going to wake up when I usually do, replace my Astanga practice with a gentler form of yoga, and try to maintain normal activity levels (walk the dog, run my errands, etc.)

Day 1: I was feeling wretched this morning, but I woke at my usual time and did 90 minutes of restorative yoga. I took my practice from the Bobby Clennell book, the sequence for 'during your cycle'. It involves a few supported heart-openers over bolsters and loads of bolster-supported forward folds.

Verdict? I'm feeling SO much better! Tomorrow, I may opt for a more active yoga practice but still no inversions.

I've written about this topic before (in fact, 'Astanga during menstruation' is a trending keyword search for this blog). I'm still not convinced that taking a break from yoga is necessary or healthy during menstruation.

I find that I feel better when I practice and yoga seems to soften (or eliminate) pain and bloating, it lifts my spirits and restores my appetite.

I know Astanga practitioners who practice throughout their cycles with no ill effects. I know of others who abstain from all yoga for up to a week each month. Different senior teachers have varying (and strong) opinions about this.

I think this may be one of those things that should be left up to the individual practitioners. I'm still figuring this out for myself, but I'm leaning toward 'practice without inversions.'

This week, one of our 70s Yoga Ladies demonstrates 'The Kneeling Cobra':

Quick, yoga teachers! What would you adjust first? Her knee? Or her hair?

Oh yes, and this pose is supposed to 'reduce the hips'. Awesome!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


(0v0) said...

Great topic, great investigation, and great post!!!!

Sometimes, ashtanga blogging can be a kind of community service.


Loo said...

why do the 70s Ladies bodies look so ... different? Are they wearing foundation garments? I can't imagine a headstand is going to be happening with that hair, either.

Christine said...

A community service for sure! I'm so interested in others experience here. I practice right through Ladies "non-holiday" (love that!) each month, albeit a bit guiltily. I feel like crap if I don't. I do tone down the inversions for a day or 2. If I take a day or 2 off, it's usually a few days before Ladies hits. That's when I'm distracted, feel like lead weight, and get concerned about injury.

yoga and wellness said...

I tend to get lazy to do a full practice when I don't go to classes. Restorative and yin yoga helps me to keep up a constant practice and at the same time let me work on the tight spots in my body.

Btw, love the picture of the Kneeling Cobra...:)

Love & light,

Krishna said...

Restorative Yoga is a overlooked these days and mistaken as a form of yoga for lazy person but I believe that restorative yoga is very much in need in today's hectic life and it is an excellent complimentary yoga practice to whatever style of yoga you do . Last month I got the book on Restorative Yoga by Judith Lasater and following the same and it is very excellent .

Claudia said...

HA HA HA, I actually like her hair, so it will have to be something else, the knee is a good one!

kt said...

I find the whole discussion of Ladies Holiday within the Ashtanga community to be fascinating! There was a debate on another site recently where I said I thought the whole fact that it was a point of discussion was so antiquated (this coming, admittedly, from someone for whom the concept is new). I can understand a break if you're in physical misery and unable to engage the bandhas (fortunately this has never been the case for me). But, although I completely appreciate most of the traditions of this practice, I just don't see myself taking days off each month because it's traditional to do so. (Paradoxically, I love the Moon Day holidays. Maybe because they don't discriminate against women?) I'm always interested to hear the reasoning of others, and I think you're right, Kai, that it's something personal that should be left up to each practitioner.

And more importantly, I love the 70s yoga ladies! Everything about them: hair, outfits, foundation garments, facial expressions, poses... brilliant.