Can Yoga Cause a Delay in Your Period?

Woman in white panties having stomachache and massaging her abdomen.
Many factors can cause an interruption in your menstrual cycle. (Image: Lighthaunter/iStock/Getty Images)

An irregular period can often indicate something is wrong, especially if you've been consistent in the past. Consider natural causes, such as pregnancy, as a possible reason. If you know that's out of the question, you might examine your lifestyle for answers.

Intense exercise may cause delayed or erratic periods. Female athletes who exercise a lot will sometimes skip or delay their menstrual cycle, especially if they also participate in disordered eating in an attempt to achieve a lower weight. As a result, women can fall victim to this female athlete triad, which also means low bone mass.

Yoga isn't generally considered a competitive sport that inspires the type of intensity that delays your period. However, if you practice zealously and seriously restrict your eating habits, you might point to yoga as a potential cause.

What Causes a Period Delay?

Rule out delays in your period due to natural causes, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause. Certain genetic disorders involving your ovaries or problems with your hypothalamus or pituitary glands should also be considered as potential causes, so it's a good idea to be evaluated by a physician.

Extreme stress, emotional or physical, can also be a reason you experience a delay. Exercise is one type of stress that contributes to a delay in your period, especially when accompanied by too little nutrition. Even if the exercise isn't horribly vigorous, if you're not eating enough, it could be enough to affect your menstrual cycle.

Is Yoga Enough to Cause a Delay?

Even a rigorous 90-minute practice daily isn't alone likely to cause a delay in your period. So, ask yourself if you're adding other exercise to the mix. Do you train for a sport or feel compelled to run on the treadmill for hours at a time in addition to your yoga practice?

Young woman practising Yoga
Even a daily practice alone is unlikely to be the cause of a period delay. (Image: Top Photo Corporation/Top Photo Group/Getty Images)

Also, examine your eating habits. Secretive eating, being obsessed with nutrition information -- specifically calories, fatigue, yellowing of the skin and frequent infection can indicate disordered eating. When you don't take in enough calories to fuel your day, including your yoga practice, it can put your body in distress so that you skip a period.

But, certain yoga poses aren't going to stimulate your energy in ways that alter menstruation. So, if you have a regular practice, whether it's rigorous Ashtanga, heated Bikram or moderate Hatha, know that other factors are likely the real reason for your erratic cycle.

Young pregnant women doing yoga exercise in gym
Be sure you aren't pregnant before you blame yoga. (Image: shironosov/iStock/Getty Images)

What About Committed Yoginis?

It's not very common, but if you're a woman who practices for three or more hours per day to hone a practice, it might be enough to stress your body and mess with your cycle. Some dedicated yoginis, often working with a guru, might devote themselves to such a rigorous practice and their periods might be delayed as a result.

But, even a yogi who practices for hours will include a great deal of meditation and breath work, so it's not all physical stress on the body. However, if that intense dedication to practice includes fasting or restricted eating, it could be enough to delay your period.

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