4 Yoga Poses to Help You Deal with Premenstrual Syndrome
How many women that you know (possibly yourself included?) bemoan ‘that time of the month,’ every month? If you are like most women in our society, you probably have not been taught to embrace and honor the natural cycles of the body. Our monthly cycle is looked on as more of a nuisance and something to ‘deal with’ than anything else. Instead, what if we were to not just accept but to begin to recognize the beautiful, exquisite rhythms of the female body?
If you are one of the many millions of women who experience PMS symptoms each month – discomfort ranging from mood swings to bloating, cramps, breast tenderness, food cravings, headaches, and more – rather than blaming the body, what if we were to look at our diets, as well as a specific sequence of yoga postures to alleviate those symptoms and to shift the way we experience this time of the month?
Research has shown that diet can play a huge part in keeping PMS symptoms at bay. Foods that help balance hormones, such as fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and whole grains should be consumed. The fiber in fruits and veggies also helps flush excess hormones from the body. Whole grains help to boost serotonin levels, elevating our moods. It has also been shown that magnesium and calcium play crucial roles in the prevention of PMS symptoms. Eat lots of dark leafy greens such as kale, and veggies such as spinach and broccoli to receive these nutrients. As much as we might crave it, stay far away from processed foods, sugary foods, and simple carbs. These will only exacerbate PMS symptoms, disrupting blood-sugar levels. Non-organic dairy and meat can contain hormones that can cause inflammation and worsen cramps and bloating.
As for a yoga practice, honoring your body at this time is key. Seated poses, forward bends, easy twists, and knees to chest postures will gently stimulate the abdominal organs and the uterus. Follow this easy sequence below and, combined with a proper diet, take note of any lessening of PMS symptoms. Remember, you are a divine being! The female body is a wondrous, amazing thing. Step into that feminine power and embrace it!
On your hands and knees, with the wrists under the shoulders and the knees under the hips, inhale and arch your spine, move your sitting bones back and apart, lengthen the belly, lift the face and look up. As you exhale, begin to scoop the tailbone, round the back, hollow the belly and draw the chin towards the chest. The inhalation is associated with expansion and the backbend and the exhalation is assocated with contraction and the forward bend. Repeat at least 5 times in both directions.
Lie on your back and hug both knees tightly into your chest. Inhale through the nose, and as you exhale, draw the knees in even more deeply, as the air is pressed out of the body, gently massaging and squeezing the internal organs, including the reproductive organs.
RECLINED DEEP TWIST
Still lying on your back, extend your left leg straight on the floor and extend the right leg straight up into the air, with a strap around the ball of the right foot. Hold both ends of the strap in the left hand and begin to guide the right leg straight across the body, keeping the left leg well grounded and the left leg in line with the spine. As per the picture, use your right hand to ROLL your right upper outer hip down out of your right waist, increasing the stretch to the iliotibial band and the right lower back. Then reach your right arm to the right and gaze either up at the ceiling or over towards your right hand. Breathe slowly and deeply through your nose. On an inhalation, return to center and then change legs.
SEATED FORWARD BEND (Pascimottanasana)
Sit up and stretch both legs straight out in front of you. If the backs of the legs are very tight, sit up on a folded blanket or bolster. Begin to fold forward at the hips, leading with the chest and releasing the groins (the upper inner thighs) back and apart. If you can reach your feet, hold the outside edges of the foot and fold a bit deeper. Hold and breathe for at least one minute.
End this sequence by sitting up in an easy cross-legged position with your eyes closed, allowing the breath to move smoothly in and out. Release yourself from thoughts and savor the stillness for a few minutes.
This blog was originally posted on Alignyo.com