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 tells World Lifestyle, “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.
A version of this article was originally published in January 2016.