Working with Health Concerns:: REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM

While yoga can be used very effectively as a therapeutic intervention for major health concerns, it is important to work in the scope of your practice. Unless you are specifically trained in a yoga therapy teacher, which requires over 1000 hours of training in the yoga therapy field, using the words therapy or therapeutics is strictly prohibited. That being said, it is highly probable that you will have some student come into your class with a major health concern. Being able to offer specific suggestions as they relate to particular ailments can offer a layer of safety to your classroom and to a student's practice. It is always appropriate and highly ethical, if a student's ailment is beyond your scope of practice, to respectfully decline to work with a particular person or to refer them to a more capable and trained professional in the yoga or wellness field. Before diving into all of this information, we must also put lifestyle into perspective. Almost all of these issues, while they may have genetic factors, are also incredibly lifestyle related. In particular, we live in a sedentary culture and live sedentary lives. Even if you exercise 1 hour a day, every day, you still live a sedentary lifestyle, only “exercising” 4% of your day. Most of these issues include the factor of sedentarism and are considered to be affluent illnesses referring to the cultural paradigm of relying on convenience for food, travel, and entertainment that preclude them



Dysmenorrhea or Endometriosis In general, depending on the intensity of a period, it is advised that a female bodied practitioner takes rest during the first 1-2 days of her cycle or during the heaviest bleeding times. Some say that inverted postures should never be performed as to emphasize the downward flow of blood but I personally suggest that each individual keep in tune with their body. Do understand the mechanism of bleeding as outlined below and factor that into the type and duration of movement that you engage in or that you tell your students to engage in. To begin to navigate around how we can use movement to soothe process of menstruation, first, we need to know what menstruation is. The uterus itself is composed of 5 layers. The 3 outermost layers are muscle, the 4th layer is called the endometrium, and the 5th layer is the stratum functionalism which is the part that sheds. Right before you get your period, blood vessels that go to the endometrium contract and shot of oxygen to the inner most lining. Essentially, your body withholds oxygen to the 5th layer, starves it, and kills it. This natural process is called ischemia, when things die from blood loss. In response to that death, the white blood cells are released to process and remove the now dying functional layer of the endometrium which is called desquamation. The white blood cells essentially chew this layer off, they secrete digestive enzymes that are breaking up the dead tissue. Naturally, there is overlap between functional blood vessels and the tissue wall so some of the digestive enzymes also get on the blood vessel that used to feed that layer, just beneath the dying lining and so you have blood vessels that lose a bit of their wall and are now freshly exposed resulting in blood & tissue loss. Dysmenorrhea is when your period doesn’t go so smoothly or when there is delayed repair. In a healthy body, the process where the body fixes the blood vessels lays down the new layer and initiates fresh growth is very fast. But when you have a lot of bleeding for a long period of time, then the repair process doesn't function the way it should. This process is determined by a  particular protein called Hypoxia Inducible Factor. The more that you produce, the faster you repaid and the less you bleed. One thing that’s interesting to note is that high blood sugar is interfering with the development and the function of HIF. 50% of women have a period that is functioning with the range of abnormal. The functional movement factor in this issue is not blood flow to this region just during the period, but blood flows all the time. Issues with menstruation aren't just a problem in itself, it is a symptom of poor blood flow through the pelvis. Because the uterus isn’t living in a vacuum. It lives in your body where everything is connected to everything else. So the whole body movements that encourage the appropriate movement of blood in the pelvic region, which could also be considered the movement of repair, involve the movement of the pelvis in general.

Top things to include in a period protocol, including homework:


-Pelvis list

-Calf stretch

-Pelvic tilt

-Hamstring & quad stretch and strengtheners

Notes on Sequencing

SEQUENCING YOGA EXPERIENCES In each classification of poses—warm-ups, standing poses, backbends, inversions, and so on— progress from simple, less strenuous poses to more complex, difficult and strenuous poses. A well sequenced session the practitioner is able to reach below the skin, the muscles, and the bones to the energetic and bliss body. The best way to learn to sequence, besides practicing the creation of well thought out yoga experiences, is to practice what you create and see if each pose contributes to the next posture.


In general, while you might see variations depending on stylization and tradition, the organization of a class or session begins with a meditation pose and warm ups and then progresses to poses that safely and effectively open up the shoulders and hips. The climax of the class is composed of poses that require the most strength, stamina, and flexibility. The latter part of the class contains cooling and quieting poses.


A good rule of thumb is to remember the concept of parinamavada and pratikryasana. When creating a class, consider the following: • Who are you sequencing for (age, lifestyle, illness)? • What is the weather like? • What is the season? • What is you students experience level? • How do you expect your students to feel emotionally, mentally, and physically? • How do YOU feel emotionally, mentally, and physically?



1. Move from simple to complex

2. Move into stillness

3. Cultivate energetic balance

4. Integrate the effects of actions

5. Cultivate sustainable self-transformation


GENERAL SEQUENCING TIPS • Standing poses are good preparation for forward bends and backbends • Downward dog is good prep for all poses and a good cool down after forward bends and backbends • Don’t alternate back and forth between forward bends and back bends • Don’t add heating poses after cooling poses • Remember that different categories of asana have a different effect on the body, the mind, and the emotions. The best way to learn these effects and sequence from them is to understand them in your own body

HERBAL ALLY :: Passionflower

HERBAL ALLY :: Passionflower

Passionflower is one of my go to herbs for day time anxiety and insomnia, as well as nervous tensions and habitual patterns that involve a coiling in of the shoulders and arms. I know many herbalists how keep this handy, next to their bed and take a few dropperfuls before sleep and again if they wake up in the evening.

Herbal Ally :: MUGWORT

Herbal Ally :: MUGWORT

When I first met mugwort, the experience was reminiscent of meeting an old summer camp friend in the grocery store. Someone who had lived in a completely different state, who you never thought you would see again. You lock eyes and run to one another with exclamations! Oh my god, MUGWORT! my heart swelled as I rounded up to a large patch of the weed growing a foot high. Oh my god, Kristen! I am certain this plant was just as excited to meet me as I was to meet her.