7 yoga poses to avoid during your period

by Nadine Avola
Jan 12, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. ET

Yoga is probably one of the best things you can do for your body when you're super crampy, bloated and hormonal, but not all poses are created equal when it comes to practicing on your period — and staying away from inversions might be in your best interest. 

While some yogis don't see a problem with inversion poses, others suggest to go with the flow and not against it. "It all comes down to a scientific theory called vascular congestion in the uterus, which results in excessive menstrual flow," Greg Justice, certified personal trainer and author of Mind Your Own Fitness, explains to Women's Health. When you practice an inverted pose during your period, gravity works against your body and pulls the blood back into the uterus — which some say can actually increase the amount of bleeding.

Since the debate still stands on whether or not these poses are OK, it is probably best to do what feels right for your body. Laura Conley, an experienced yoga teacher, performs inverted positions during her period, but is sure not to stay in the pose too long.

Conley says, "Ultimately, it goes back to why we practice yoga in the first place, which is to strengthen our intuition and our gut feeling and if you're tapped into that, I think your body will basically tell you whether or not it's okay to go upside down."

If you plan to play it safe, avoid these seven poses — or, at least, proceed with caution.

Originally published January 2016. Updated January 2017.

1/8 :Headstand

Headstands strengthen core muscles and improve circulation — and are even known to prevent gray hairs as well as give you a mini face lift. But, you may want to steer clear of this position during your period.

2 /8: Shoulder stand

2/8 :Shoulder stand

Shoulder stands lengthen spinal nerves and regulate hormone secretion for your thyroid. But, like headstands, they invert the orientation of your uterus and could temporarily halt the blood flow.

3 /8: Scorpion Pose

3/8 :Scorpion Pose

Scorpion Pose is an advanced position that not only puts you upside down, but also can put a lot of pressure on your back. During the first few days of your period, back pain can be present, which may give you all the more reason to avoid this pose.

4/8 :Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose will stretch your back and strengthen your glutes, but this position tips the uterus and may just add more fatigue to your lower back.

5/8 :Plow Pose

Plow Pose is often a go-to pose that is suggested for weight loss — and although you may be feeling extra bloated during your period, hold off a few days before attempting this pose.

6/8 :Bow Pose

Bow Pose opens the rib cage and can prevent constipation by lengthening your core. However, this can put extreme pressure on your back, and may be best to attempt when your period is over.

7/8 :Locust Pose

Although Locust Pose can help cure spinal problems, it may intensify your period's side effects since it adds pressure to the low back and slants the uterus upward.

8 /8: Yoga poses to skip

8/8 :Yoga poses to skip