Bikram is the original form of hot yoga, a physically and emotionally intensive form of yoga. Depending upon the severity of your menstrual symptoms, practicing this form of yoga during your period could be beneficial or detrimental. Weigh the pros and cons before attending a session of Bikram yoga while on your period.
Why You Should
Bikram yoga can reduce feelings of stress, and the heated room may help relieve menstrual cramps and body aches. When it comes to practicing any form of yoga while menstruating, the topic of inversions usually arises. There is no evidence, however, that inversions are harmful while you are on your period, though some practitioners disagree. Bikram, however, does not involve inversions, so it's a non-issue where hot yoga is concerned. BikramYoga.com also says that this form of yoga is beneficial to the reproductive system and can help regulate your menstrual cycle.
Why You Should Not
Being on your period can make your body more sensitive to changes in temperature. The hot, humid room in which Bikram yoga is practiced -- typically 105 degrees F and 40 percent humidity -- may make common menstrual symptoms such as headaches and nausea worse. Hormonal changes during your period often cause balance issues. This symptom can be magnified in a Bikram yoga session as the heat combined with movement can cause lightheadedness. While many forms of yoga are gentle and contemplative in nature, Bikram is a physically and mentally intensive workout that may be a bit aggressive when you are feeling emotionally vulnerable during your period.
Most Bikram classes discourage the use of props, so if you need to modify certain poses to accommodate your body while you are on your period, let your teacher know before class begins. Your energy level may be muted while you are menstruating, so focus on alignment and breathing and don't push yourself too hard. Don't allow negative energy in the form of menstrual moodiness and irritability to cloud your Bikram session. Instead, tap into yoga's restorative and rejuvenating powers.
The Bottom Line
There are legitimate reasons to avoid and to engage in Bikram when you are on your period. Because yoga is a fitness regimen that deeply focuses on the inner you, use your instincts to guide you when you are menstruating. Dialing down the pace and skipping yoga on your heaviest day may be smart compromises. Don't be afraid to test the waters of a Bikram session while you are on your period, and if you experience discomfort, don't hesitate to give your body a well-deserved rest.