The core of explanations around menstrual practices
Most practices arise from a common ground Ancient Indian Science, which includes Ayurveda, Yoga, Meditation, Mantra and Astrology. The science of Mudras, a part of Yoga, is also important in this understanding.
The ancient Vedic seers, recognized a principle of energy that gives movement, velocity, direction, animation and motivation. This energy of life is called Prana, meaning primal breath or life-force. Western allopathic medicine which is a few centuries old is based on external medication and intervention. Whereas Ayurveda which is at least 7000 years old, is a science of life and a natural healing system, with a deep understanding of the human body and its relation to nature. Ayurveda is based on the principles of three primary life-forces in the body, called the three doshas.Doshas are the bio-energies that make up every individual, and help in performing different physiological functions in the body. The three types of Doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha, which correspond to the elements of air, fire and water respectively. Each dosha has a primary function in the body. Vata (element, air) is the moving force responsible for communication, perception and cognition; Pitta (element, fire) is the force of assimilation and is responsible for metabolism; and Kapha (element, water) is the force of stability.
According to Ayurveda, menstruation is closely linked to the functions of the doshas. Menstruation is regarded in Ayurveda as a special opportunity enjoyed by women for monthly cleansing of excess doshas; it is this monthly cleansing that accounts for female longevity. There is a buildup of energy in the days leading to menstruation as the body prepares for pregnancy. If pregnancy does not take place and menstruation starts, this built up energy gets dissipated from the body during menstruation. During menstruation, Vata is the predominant dosha. Apana vayu, one of the elemental air functions of the Vata Dosha, is responsible for the downward flow of menstruation. Therefore, any activity that interferes with this necessary downward flow of energy during menstruation should be avoided. During menstruation, women are more likely to absorb other energies in their environment. This forms the basis of most of the cultural practices around menstruation in India.
With this in mind, the following cultural practices followed around menstruation:
1. Not attending religious functions, visiting the temple and not touching menstruating women
2. Avoiding cooking and eating with others during menstruation
3. Avoiding sex during menstruation
4. Avoid swimming or washing the hair during menstruation
5. Avoid eating certain types of food during menstruation
6. Believing that menstrual blood is impure
7. Taking time off during menstruation
8. Restricting menstruating women to seclusion huts
Please see the following link for complete research paper on this topic:
Unearthing menstrual wisdom Why we dont go to the temple, and other practices

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