Eve Grzybowski

Yoga Suits Her

I’ve been teaching yoga since 1980.  A lot of my identity is tied up with being a yoga teacher.  What does that mean?  What should that mean? On this site I explore my personal journey and provide commentary on the state of yoga in the twenty-first century. I invite you to have a look and see what may be here for you.

Photo by: Julie Slavin Photography, Old Bar

Current Post

Practice Appropriate Women’s Yoga

Ana Davis, yoga teacher and author, has written a guest post for this week’s Yoga Suits Her blog. We are promoting her March workshops at The Yoga Shed.

This post especially emphasises the need to practice yoga appropriate to a women’s monthly cycle.

A woman sitting at her desk, stressed out, head in hands, eyes closed.

Women and stress 

Studies show that women can be more susceptible to the ill effects of stress. Women in highly stressed jobs have a nearly 40% increased risk of heart disease and heart attacks, and a 60% greater risk for type 2 diabetes. In recent years, there has been an increase in unexplained infertility, and menstrual disorders, like endometriosis, which can have stress-related causes.

Women also succumb in greater numbers to autoimmune diseases, and these can be connected to stress. In the USA, 75% of people with autoimmune diseases are women. Another autoimmune condition, Hashimoto’s, is 90% more common in women.

It’s not surprising, then, that women are flocking to the calming benefits of yoga. Go to any yoga class and you’ll notice that the students (as well as the teachers) are mostly women. As a 2012 ‘Yoga in Australia’ survey confirmed, 85% of yoga practitioners are women.

A young woman carrying her yoga mat and opening the door to a yoga studio.

Can yoga be harmful to women?

However, the irony is that the kind of yoga many women are doing could be making their symptoms worse. These might present as stress-related conditions or hormonal imbalances, including menopausal symptoms. That’s because yoga is a 5000-year-old tradition that was created by men for men. It is a practice that was originally made for men’s bodies and not necessarily for women’s cyclical bodies.

It’s well known that during pregnancy a woman should do an adapted prenatal practice, but it’s lesser known that there are many other times in a woman’s life in which a yoga practice should be modified. This is where my ‘moving with the moon’ approach comes in. You adapt your yoga practice according to the hormonal fluctuations of the menstrual cycle and during menopause. This offers a more sensitive, individualised solution for women.

Women should avoid a ‘one size fits all’ approach in yoga practice. During the delicate menstruation, premenstrual phases and perimenopause, women shouldn’t risk exacerbating their stress-related symptoms. Instead, I highly recommend that you adapt the movements and practices you are doing so that you are working with, rather than against, your energy at any juncture of your cycle and life.

For example, during your monthly-bleed your physical and emotional energy is at a natural, low-ebb in your cycle. That’s why you often feel tired and wiped out when you have your period. Your uterus is working hard to release the endometrial lining (menstrual blood). Ideally, we want to support this process by resting a bit more than normal. As well, there’s plenty of evidence that stress can cause imbalances in our hormonal cycle. Up to 90% of women can experience menstrual cramping pain. It’s been found that women reporting high stress levels were two to four times more likely to report pain and discomfort during their period.

Safe, effective women’s yoga

By making sure you practice a gentle, restorative yoga practice when you bleed, rather than a more dynamic practice, you’re supporting the healthy balance of your whole menstrual cycle. And by taking some quiet, rest time during menstruation, you’re putting ‘money’ into your ‘energy bank’ for later in your cycle, This will boost your overall health, energy and vitality.

It you’d like to learn more about how yoga can support women when adapted to their unique hormonal needs, join Ana and Eve for a series of Feminine Yoga Workshops at the Shed, 16 & 17 March. More info here.

Ana Davis has been teaching yoga for over 20 years and specializes in yoga for women’s health. She has recently released her book, ‘Moving with the Moon: Yoga, Movement, and Meditation for Every Phase of your Menstrual Cycle and Beyond’.

It’s been out of print for 15 or more years but now it’s back.  It’s available as a paperback as well as a range of digital formats for different devices.  The design of this edition is modelled as closely as possible on the original release from 1997.

Electronic versions:

Paperback version:

Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Teach Yourself Yoga.  Just ask and quote ISBN: 978-0-6487945-0-9.

Please send me feedback about the book.  I’d love to hear about any errors or problems with eBooks on various devices.  And please review the book wherever you get it.  Reviews will help more people discover the book.

The Previous 3 Posts

The Beauty of Yoga Practice: Do It Now

The Beauty of Yoga Practice: Do It Now

You can start Yoga at any stage in your life. More importantly though, for your quality of life to improve and discipline become more natural, you can increase your commitment to this most beautiful practice anytime – especially today!

read more
What Are the Principles and Foundations of Yoga?

What Are the Principles and Foundations of Yoga?

 
Why bother with principles and foundations?
This week, I’m teaching a module on principles and foundations of yoga to trainee teachers. It sounds like a big topic, so where to start?

Of course, The Internet! I googled the above terms to see what was out there. Not so much, it would seem. Then, I wondered about the definitions of the terms.

Finally, I thought, why are we bothering anyway with these subjects in a teacher training? Thirty-seven years ago, it wasn’t part of my training.

Well, it should have been. […]

read more
Extreme Weather: Can We Do Yoga?

Extreme Weather: Can We Do Yoga?

Days of extreme weather might be the way of the future. Who knows? Most scientists say this is the way we are heading.
If so, we need to include reflective practices as part of our yoga routine. We need the tools that create mental and emotional space to deal with difficult situations. It’s not enough to keep up with a strong physical practice. Meditation, savasana, yoga nidra, and pranayama are necessary to weather all conditions. Not only extreme climactic fluctuations.

read more

Classes and Workshops

I’m currently teaching two weekly classes on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales where I live. I also lead workshops here and in other parts of Australia.

Visit the Vault!

I’ve been regularly contributing to this blog since 2009.  There are now over 1250 posts about a very wide range of topics. Click here to explore.

Yoga Resources

Books, videos, teachers, websites, places to buy really hot yoga clothes (kidding), and generally anything I find that I think others might find useful.

A Bit About Eve

I’ve been teaching since I was 35. I’m now 73. In that time there have been a few changes. Click here if you want to find out a bit about my life.

Media

I know, I know.  Yoga teachers all want to teach remotely.  I’ve been no exception.  Here are some video and audio productions that I’ve made. Not many – it’s something that I alway mean to get around to.

Shop

No, I’m not selling yoga mats or clothing.  I don’t even have a t-shirt… yet.  But from time to time I find myself with something that someone may want.  Have a look, I’m never sure what you’ll find.