This blog in intended to be one post a day. Even if I do not make it to yoga practice. This is an account of my days until I get to my yoga TT in Thailand.
So since today is the first day of “ladies holiday” I will leave you with this interesting interview made to Saraswati Rangaswamy, the daughter of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. In it she explains the main reasons why women should not practice during the first 3 days of their period.
“L: Why is it that women should not practice ashtanga yoga during the first three days of their period?
S: For some women it is very difficult to practice during these days, because of pain or that they bleed a lot. Most women work a lot and need to rest and to take it easy three days every month – it is very important! It is not good for the body to practice hard during the days when you bleed the most and during the period women should not do Salamba Sarvangasana or Sirsasana. Here, in India according to the Brahman tradition the woman rest these days, she does not cook and does not even go into the kitchen. Other women cook for her and she eats and sleeps a lot!
L: What is, according to you, the most important thing for women that practice ashtanga yoga to consider?
S: That is to let the body rest the three first days of the period so that the menstruation cycle is not disturbed. For some women, who do not rest from the practice those days, the period may disappear or becomes irregular and it can be difficult for them to become pregnant. The organs in the body are purified through the asanas and that is very good, but not during these days. It is also important to eat properly. Many women say that they do not want to eat dairy products, but women who practice yoga need milk and ghee twice a day. Especially ghee is important because it cools the body. In the yoga practice the body becomes very hot and you sweat a lot. It is not good to eat too much ghee, though, and the ghee should be pure and of good quality. One teaspoon in the morning and in the evening is enough. If you eat pure ghee you do not have to be worried about getting too much cholesterol. My father likes ghee a lot and he used to have maybe a little bit too much of it in his food – I had to tell him not to, ha ha ha! After giving birth, the woman should also eat ghee and drink milk to recover.”
Here you can find a link to the full interview: http://goo.gl/Si0LM
The interesting thing is that a lot of women struggle to take ladies holidays. They are so into their yoga practice that 3 days away seems like an eternity. I like to listen to my body and decide how I am feeling before I make the decision whether to rest or not.
During my 40 Hr TT with David Swenson he strongly encouraged us to try for ourselves and seek the advice of female yoga teachers regarding the subject. He said that in his opinion he thinks it could be more of a tradition based on culture and social norms. Traditionally in India women are excused from their daily duties while on “ladies holidays”, they are not allowed to cook or go near the kitchen. Now that would also lead me to believe the same that he suspects. However, Nancy Gilgoff, who was also a long time disciple of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois is a strong believer that women should not practice on these days. In a simplified explanation basically in yoga we are trying to move our energy up, towards our Crown Chakra or Sahasrara, which is located at the top of the head. But when women are menstruating the energy is going down and out, so you would be opposing the natural flow. This actually makes sense to me, again I encourage women to try for themselves.
The 7 Chakras, at the crown of the head is the Crown Chakra or Sahasrara