PMS refers to a range of physical and emotional symptoms that occur in the days or weeks leading up to menstruation, such as bloating, mood swings, fatigue, and cramps. As per research, up to 90% of women of reproductive age experience several premenstrual symptoms varying from mild to severe. Many of them choose the easy way out and reach out for over–the–counter painkillers or low-estrogen birth control pills. While PMS can be challenging to manage, incorporating yoga into your routine can provide significant relief and support your overall well-being.
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Yoga, the ancient practice that combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and mindfulness, offers a holistic approach to managing PMS symptoms. By engaging in specific yoga poses and mindful practices, you can find balance, reduce discomfort, and enhance your emotional and physical well-being during this time of the month.
Yoga practice also helps release endorphins, the mood-elevating compounds of the body that encourages deep relaxation.
Try these 8 simple yoga poses and work towards putting irritability and mood swings behind you:
1. Child’s Pose
Also known as Balasana
This pose helps relieve strain on the thighs, back, shoulder, neck and hip and helps to relax the body.
Kneel on the yoga mat and sit on the heels, keeping your knees separated about hip-width apart.
Now, bring your head down in front to touch the floor and lay your torso down between your thighs.
Place your hands on the floor at the side of the torso and relax the shoulders towards the floor.
Rest in this posture for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then go back to starting position.
2. Crocodile Pose
Also known as Makarasana
This pose is effective in getting rid of indigestion and constipation, a common problem of PMS. It also helps relieve stress from the back, legs, arms, and buttocks.
Lie flat on your stomach.
Raise your head along with your shoulders.
Fold your arms by placing the right arm above the left arm while keeping the elbow pointed.
Keep the left palm on the ground and place your right palm on it. The fingers should touch the inside of the elbow.
Place your head at the centre point where you’ve placed the right wrist above the left wrist.
Close your eyes and relax your body and mind.
After some time you can slowly open your eyes and release the posture.
3. Half Lord of the Fish Pose
Also known as Ardha Matsyendrasana
This pose relaxes the abdominal organs, which may relieve muscle cramps. It also stretches the back muscles and provides relief in the spinal area.
Sit down with your legs straight and relax the entire body.
Bend the left leg and put the left heel near the right buttock.
Put the sole of the right foot flat on the ground outside of the left knee.
Both buttocks should remain on the mat. You can use a blank or a foam block. The back should be relaxed and upright.
Now, put the left arm outside the right knee and hold the right ankle. Beginners can go slow; it is alright if you are unable to hold your ankle.
Turn the upper body to the right as far as comfortable. While putting the right arm across the back, look over the right shoulder.
Stay in this position for a few minutes while breathing normally and relaxing the entire body.
Gently return to the starting position.
Now, do the exercise on the other side.
4. Cat Pose
Also known as Bidalasana
The cat pose, which helps increase flexibility in your spine, is also known to relieve tension in the shoulders, and neck and improves digestion.
Kneel on the floor and lean forward putting both your palms on the floor pointing forward.
Place your legs slightly apart and palms at shoulder length.
Let your trunk be parallel to the ground, the thighs should be vertical and straight. The lower leg and feet should be on the floor.
Now exhale completely and pull your belly inward. At the same time move your head inwards between your shoulders. While doing this your head will bend forwards and the spine will arch downwards.
Now inhale and arch your back in the opposite direction. Arch your head, neck and shoulders upwards and backwards; and look up.
Repeat this process, as many times as you are comfortable. Do this asana with slow and deep breathing and feel the stretch it gives to your back, neck and shoulders.
5. Standing Forward Bend
Also known as Padahastasana
This pose is good for the entire body and provides relaxation from head to heels. Repeat it 4-5 times and feel your body relaxing. The standing forward bend is also known to remove depression and anxiety.
Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and arms resting at your sides.
Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, engage your core and fold forward from the hips. Keep your spine long and extend your head towards the floor.
Bend your knees slightly if needed to maintain the length in your spine. Allow your torso to hang over your legs.
If possible, bring your hands down to touch the floor on either side of your feet. If your hands don’t reach the floor, you can place them on your shins or ankles.
Relax your head, neck, and shoulders. Let the weight of your upper body help deepen the stretch.
Stay in this pose for 5 to 10 breaths, or longer if it feels comfortable.
Bend your knees slightly to come out of the pose, engage your core, and slowly roll up to a standing position.
6. Fish Pose
Also known as Matsyasana
The fish pose is great for massaging the abdominal organs and muscles. The hip muscles are stretched while doing so, relieving tension in the body.
Lay flat on your back on a yoga mat.
Place your hands palms down underneath your hips, with your elbows tucked in close to your sides. Your forearms and elbows should be pressing into the mat.
Engage your core and press through your forearms and elbows to lift your upper body off the ground. Keep your chest lifted and open, creating a gentle arch in your back.
Tilt your head back and let the crown of your head rest on the mat, allowing your neck to gently stretch.
You can either keep your legs extended straight or bend your knees and place your feet on the ground, whichever is more comfortable for you.
Relax your shoulders away from your ears and feel a gentle opening in your chest and throat.
Hold the pose for 5 to 10 deep breaths, allowing your body to relax and sink into the stretch.
To come out of the pose, gently lower your upper body back down to the mat and release your hands from underneath your hips.
7. Bridge Pose
Also known as Setu Bandasana
Headaches are a common ailment that women suffer when approaching their periods. The Bridge pose is ideal since it relaxes the central nervous system, improves blood circulation and revives tired leg muscles.
Start by lying flat on your back on a yoga mat or a comfortable surface.
Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the mat, hip-width apart. Keep your arms relaxed alongside your body, with your palms facing down.
Press your feet firmly into the mat, engaging your legs and buttocks. Take a deep breath in.
As you exhale, slowly lift your hips off the mat, rolling your spine off the floor one vertebra at a time. Keep pressing through your feet and shoulders, and avoid putting excessive strain on your neck.
Interlace your fingers underneath your body, if possible, or you can keep your palms flat on the mat for support.
Lift your chest towards your chin and try to keep your neck and head relaxed. Allow your shoulder blades to draw closer together, creating space and opening in your chest.
Hold the pose for 5 to 10 deep breaths, feeling the stretch in your hips and the lengthening of your spine.
To release the pose, slowly lower your upper body and hips back down to the mat, one vertebra at a time.
8. Corpse Pose
Also known as Shavasana
All yogic postures end with the Shavasana or the neutral position. The state helps you get into a tranquil state and the body surrenders to peace.
Lie down on your back on a yoga mat or a comfortable surface. Keep your legs extended straight and slightly apart, with your feet relaxed and falling outward.
Allow your arms to rest alongside your body, with your palms facing upward. Gently tuck your shoulder blades underneath you to create space in your chest.
Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. Take a few deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply. Allow your body to relax and sink into the mat.
Scan your body from head to toe and consciously release any tension or tightness. Soften your forehead, relax your jaw, and let go of any tension in your shoulders, arms, and legs.
Bring your awareness to each part of your body, starting from your toes and moving up to your head. As you breathe, imagine sending relaxation and a sense of heaviness to each body part, allowing it to become completely relaxed.
Stay in Shavasana for at least 5 to 10 minutes, or longer if desired. Surrender to the stillness and quietness of the pose, allowing your body and mind to experience deep relaxation.
To come out of the pose, begin by gently wiggling your fingers and toes. Slowly bring awareness back to your body and your surroundings. Roll over to one side and take a few moments in the fetal position before slowly sitting up.
Yoga is an amazing tool when it comes to your physical and mental health.
Specifically, at the time of PMS yoga poses like child’s pose, corpse pose, bridge pose, and fish pose really help you to relieve stress as well as reduce cramps. Gentle movements during this time help you to reduce physical discomfort and improves hormonal balance.
Mind-Body Connection: Yoga emphasizes the mind-body connection, encouraging awareness and acceptance of the body’s changing needs. This can help in developing a more compassionate and nurturing attitude towards oneself during the PMS phase.
Yoga offers a holistic and effective approach to managing the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). By incorporating yoga into your routine, you can experience relief from physical discomfort, mood swings, and stress associated with PMS. The gentle movements, stretching, deep breathing, and mindfulness practices in yoga promote relaxation, improve circulation, and enhance self-awareness. Scientific research supports the benefits of yoga in hormonal balance, inflammation reduction, and mood enhancement.
Remember that everyone’s experience with PMS is unique, and it’s essential to listen to your body and choose yoga practices that feel comfortable and beneficial to you. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi, there are modifications and variations available to suit your needs and abilities.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information please contact our certified nutritionists Here
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1: Can yoga help alleviate menstrual cramps?
A: Yes, certain yoga poses, such as Child’s Pose, Supine Twist, and Cat-Cow, can help relieve menstrual cramps by stretching and relaxing the pelvic area and lower back.
Q2: Can yoga help with mood swings and irritability during PMS?
A: Absolutely. Yoga promotes mindfulness and relaxation, which can help reduce stress, anxiety, and mood swings commonly experienced during PMS. Poses like Bridge Pose, Camel Pose, and Legs-Up-The-Wall can be particularly beneficial.
Q3: Can yoga help regulate the hormonal imbalance associated with PMS?
A: While yoga cannot directly regulate hormones, it can help balance the endocrine system and support overall hormonal health. Consistent yoga practice, along with stress reduction and lifestyle changes, can have a positive impact on hormonal balance.
Q4: How often should I practice yoga for PMS relief?
A: Aim for a regular yoga practice, ideally 2-3 times a week, or as needed during the PMS phase. Even a shorter daily practice can provide benefits. Listen to your body and adjust the frequency and intensity of your practice based on your energy levels and comfort.
Q5: Can yoga help with bloating and water retention during PMS?
A: Yes, certain yoga poses like Seated Forward Bend, Triangle Pose, and Corpse Pose can help stimulate digestion, improve circulation, and reduce bloating and water retention.
Q7: Can yoga help improve sleep quality during PMS?
A: Yes, a gentle yoga practice, particularly restorative poses and relaxation techniques like Yoga Nidra, can help calm the mind and promote better sleep during PMS.
About the Author
Shamlee seemed destined to take up a career in Yoga, having started practicing the discipline at the tender age of 3. She completed her Master's and her Bachelor's degrees in Yoga Therapy from the S-VYASA University. A specialist in Diabetes and Stress Management, Shamlee has conducted research on how Yoga aids individuals with common ailments at AIIMS, New Delhi. A former member of the Indian Yoga team, she is presently a Yoga Team Lead at HealthifyMe. Shamlee believes Yoga is the answer to any individual's health issues, whether they are physical or mental.
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