Does the Yoga Handstand Raise a Menopausal Red Flag?

yoga shoulder stand illustration paula mangin

I’ll never forget the first time I kicked into a handstand after months and months of flailing legs and futile attempts. My future husband, Randy, was on the mat next to me when it happened. I was so fucking happy.

This joyous occasion took place in an Iyengar Yoga class, my practice of choice, and involves what are known as “inversion” poses, where your head is lower than your heart: things like handstands, headstands, shoulder stands. I love doing them, as there is something magical about feeling that rush of blood drain from your feet to hair. I’ve also heard that inversion poses improve circulation, build immunity, boost energy and confidence, and increase core strength. To me, they are simply exhilarating and fun as hell. Unless I’m tired. Then, not so much.

All yoga instructors announce, prior to guiding us to our inversion pose, “if you are on your cycle or menstruating, please don’t invert” and gives those young ladies a host of options, all involving some form of lying down. Not only do I go upside down, I also kind of go sideways at the stark reminder that I will never have the “menstruation” excuse to avoid a forearm stand (the bane of my yoga existence.)

And yet, the child in me laughs, either to myself or not, every time this announcement is made. I used to tease Randy, “you better not invert today” which to me, never got old, but to him, was eye-roll-worthy.

If you have never tried Iyengar Yoga, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It truly has changed my life: not only did I meet my husband in an Iyengar class, the practice itself has made me calmer and happier and more healthy than ever, and given me a sense of community. I’m blessed to have two wonderful Iyengar studios close to me on the west side of San Francisco: Bija, on 9th and Irving, and The Abode of Iyengar Yoga, on Monterey and Ridgewood.

I suppose the next time I’m too tired to kick into a handstand, I’ll dress in the color of that time of the month no longer on my calendar and lie down during handstands. Namaste, suckers. xoxo.

stylish yoga outfit red


  1. Title Nine Tank, Titlenine. 2. Brooklyn Cropped Hoodie, Topshop. 3. Nike Heritage Gymsack, Footlocker. 4. YogaAccessories Extra Thick Deluxe Yoga Mat, Amazon. 5. Y-3 Leggings, Farfetch. 6. Adidas Adelitte Slides, Urban Outfitters. 7. Prana Raya Shorts, Shoebuy.


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