Updated: Feb 26, 2019
The beauty for me about Iyengar Yoga is that it is adaptable to ever-changing circumstances so that your practice can be adjusted accordingly. As a woman, this is amazing as hormones fluctuate from day to day and we go through the phases of our cycle every month. As we practice Yoga and go on the path of exploration, exploring the self, we become more & more in tune with our tendencies, habits and our own peculiar being. We then realise that each one of us is different with different needs. What may work for one woman may be the opposite for another.
I realised this again the other day in a workshop with my colleagues, all dedicated Yogis, where a few of us were having our periods. Now, normally the Iyengar system can be quiet restricted in relation to how to practice during these times, no inversions, twists, backbends and preferably a light practice. This indeed works the best for me as I usually just feel like going to bed with a warm water bottle and only getting out of it when the battle is over :-) So during the workshop I went for all the restorative poses doing my own thing, but some of my colleagues were still able to join most of the class only leaving out the above-mentioned poses or adjusting them accordingly.
Which gave me the confirmation again that it's wonderful to follow guidelines of a teacher or system, but that that is exactly what they are: guidelines. We need to become fully aware & sensitive of ourselves, realising that the most important guide & teacher is ourselves. This is what Yoga get's you into contact with so that you can Really start listening to yourself and your needs.
However, the guidelines are such an important part of getting there. Never stop being a student. As you are a fluctuating being so are your needs. These following books are my guidelines for myself but also when preparing specific women's Yoga classes or the women's retreat. I fall back on them time & time again always finding new gem's that resonate at the moment I need them.
1. Yoga: A Gem for Women by Geeta Iyengar.
In this book, Geeta Iyengar integrates yogic theory, practice and personal experience into an accomplished and inclusive guide to the discipline of Hatha Yoga. It is a great guide for the student who wants to go deeper with her practice of Hatha Yoga.
2. The woman's Yoga book by Bobby Clennell.