As featured on yogadigest.com
Some women aren’t particularly bothered by the onset of their monthly period but, for many others, Premenstrual Syndrome can be debilitating. PMS generally refers to the discomfort, pain, and emotional swings that can occur from the time of ovulation until bleeding starts about two weeks later. Unpleasant symptoms often continue through the menstrual period as well, especially during the first few days.
PMS is generally thought to be caused by hormonal imbalance and liver congestion. But our lifestyle also plays a part. Symptoms can be aggravated by:
- lack of physical exercise
- poor diet and nutrition
- exhaustion from too much work or excessive exercise
- inadequate sleep
- chemicals and toxins
- strong emotions such as anger, excessive attachment, and fear
Although it’s not possible to completely eliminate the hormonal changes responsible for menstruation, avoiding these other factors and living a balanced yoga lifestyle can be of tremendous help. This includes eating a healthy diet, getting proper sleep, and reducing stress through yoga relaxation, yoga breathing, and Yoga Sound Meditation. And of course, regularly practicing yoga asanas can be very helpful.
Yoga asanas are one of the most therapeutic types of exercise for reducing PMS and menstrual difficulties as they help release tension and restore energy. Practicing yoga asanas regularly, including standing and sitting postures, inverted poses (avoid inversions during menstruation) and backbends helps stimulate the glands responsible for the production of hormones.
For the asanas to have a positive effect on PMS, practice regularly before and after your period. Some of the inversions you can practice before your period are Summit Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) and Reverse Arrow. If you find it hard to get up into Reverse Arrow, Lying Waterfall (lying on your back with legs up the wall) is a good alternative and has the added benefit of being relaxing and restorative.
During your period, you may not feel much like doing some of the more vigorous poses, so listen to your body. Take the opportunity to do more restorative poses or perhaps focus on yoga relaxation, breathing, or Yoga Sound Meditation.