On the days leading up to menstruation, many women experience mood swings, fatigue, and a variety of other warning signals. You may suffer from headaches, outbreaks of acne, bloating, or breast tenderness, and experience cravings for unhealthy sugar-laden dishes or overly salty food. But regular yoga practice can help.
The list of symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is long, but physicians agree that the cause is usually an imbalance of hormones and a sluggish liver. The regular practice of yoga can alleviate PMS in several ways.
Physically, it will help balance your endocrine system and purify your liver. Many of the yoga poses or asanas mentioned in this article are designed to stimulate your pituitary, thyroid, and hypothalamus, all of which control your hormones and any problem that may occur during this period.
Psychologically, practicing yoga poses often relieves the stress, allowing you to relax and sleep well during your menstrual period, leaving you better able to cope even if your hormones are acting and playing up.
(Also Read: Breathing Exercises: A Practical Guide for Beginners)
Yoga Poses and PMS
Pose #1: Goddess pose
To start with the Goddess Yoga Pose, or also known as the Utkata Konasana, is a wide-legged squat that will help strengthen your hips and thighs.
- This pose opens one’s hips & groin
- It also strengthens the thighs
- It also increases the overall body strength
- Start by standing in the Mountain Pose. And accordingly, bring your legs wide apart, and then turn your toes out as far as you are comfortable. Then slowly inhale and raise both of your arms to shoulder height, both palms facing down.
- Then accordingly, exhale and then lower yourself into a squat position. Bend both your arms to about 90 degrees, again both of the palms facing forward.
- Keep your knees pulled back, to prevent any injury.
- Your hips will open as you start to lengthen your spine. If you need to rest your arms, bring both of your palms together in prayer posture. And the accordingly hold the position for about 20–30 seconds.
Note: If you have had any knee or hip surgery this yoga pose should only be attempted if your medical advisor approves it. It is usually advised to skip if in any doubt.
Pose #2: Warrior I
The second pose we are going to discuss is Warrior I, or also known as the Virabhadrasana, which is a standing forward lunge. It helps in forming and strengthening your legs and it also opens your chest and heart.
- This pose often helps in strengthening the legs, especially one’s thighs
- It also strengthens the spine
- The Warrior I pose also stabilizes the hips, knees & ankles
- It also helps in increasing one’s lung capacity
- Start by standing in the Mountain Pose, both arms by your sides.
- Then slowly exhale, and take a big step forwards with your left foot. Accordingly, rotate your right foot about 45 degrees outwards. Also, place both of your hands on your hips.
- Inhale and accordingly bend your left knee so that it is directly over your left ankle. Then slowly raise both of your arms overhead, bringing your palms together.
- Then accordingly, keep the heel of your right foot on the ground. Also, tip your head backward and then look at your hands overhead.
- Hold this pose for about five breaths. And then exhale as you return to the Mountain Pose.
- Repeat the same process accordingly on the other side as well.
Note: If you have any shoulder injury or pain, high blood pressure, or maybe heart concerns, keep both of your arms parallel to the ground. Then accordingly, skip this yoga pose if you have any knee pain or injury until it gets better.
Pose #3: intense side stretch
This Intense Side Stretch yoga pose, also known as the Parshvottanasana, develops the overall balance and strength. Ideally, your hands should be in the Anjali Mudra, or the prayer pose, behind your back.
- It helps in improving one’s balance
- Also, it relieves the stiffness in the shoulders, neck & wrists
- Opens one’s chest
- Massages the digestive organs
- Strengthens one’s legs
- To start with this pose, start by standing in the Mountain Pose, slowly exhale, and then step your feet wide apart from each other. Then accordingly, raise both of your arms to shoulder level.
- Then start by pressing your hands together behind your back, all the fingers facing upwards. (If this “prayer pose” is too difficult refer to the Modification part).
- Turn to your right, with your right foot and leg out to the side at about 90 degrees. Then look up, creating an arch in the back.
- Slowly exhale and accordingly stretch forwards from the tailbone, chin slightly extended. Keep both of your legs straight to maintain your balance.
- Then slightly lower your chest towards the floor but continue to gaze right ahead. Stay still in this yoga posture for a count of five.
- Then accordingly, drop your forehead towards your left knee, until your nose is slightly pressed against the kneecap, or as close as is comfortable for you to do. Stay still in this pose for a count of five, while still breathing in the same position.
- Accordingly, continue to exhale and return to an upright position.
- Then accordingly, repeat the entire steps on the other side as well.
Note: This yoga pose position should not be practiced if you have health problems like high blood pressure or glaucoma, as they should not place their heads below their hearts. So it is advised to skip this pose.
Modification: If one can’t comfortably press both their palms together behind their back in the prayer pose, then clasp both of your elbows or wrists behind your back instead.
Pose #4: half lotus
The Half Lotus yoga pose, or also known as the Ardha Padma Sana, is a classic seated yoga pose that works best to open the hips and stretches both of the knees and ankles.
- This pose also builds flexibility in hips, knees & ankles
- It also strengthens one’s spine & abs
- This pose improves one’s posture
- It also increases one’s overall energy
- To start with this yoga pose, start by sitting in Staff Yoga Pose, also lengthening both of your spines from the tailbone through to the top of your head.
- Slowly bend your right knee, clasp the foot with both of your hands, and then accordingly place your foot on top of your still outstretched left leg as far up your thigh as possible (remember your key goal is to place it in the hip crease).
- Then accordingly bend your left knee, and pull the leg in and tuck the heel under your right leg with the heel up against your groin. Then accordingly place both of your hands on both of your knees, with all the folded fingers in the chin mudra.
Note: Skip this yoga pose, or consult your yoga instructor or maybe a medical advisor before attempting it. If you have an acute knee injury or if you have had a knee or hip replacement, then it is advised to skip this pose.
Modifications: Initially during this pose, beginners figure out that the Half Lotus pose is not easy and requires continuous practice to master. In this scenario, release from the Staff Yoga Pose to a simpler, maybe a cross-legged yoga pose with both of your hands on both of the knees, and the fingers in the chin mudra.
If your knees are higher than your hips, or if you feel any discomfort in your knees or your hips, sit on a folded blanket for some support. Then accordingly strengthen your spine, then accordingly relax your shoulders and focus on your breathing.
Pose #5: Seated forward bend
This pose provides a deep stretch for the entire backside of the body, from the heels to the neck. Today in this article, we will build on the previous article’s poses, so start with gently intensifying the stretches a little.
- Strengthens spine
- Improves digestion
- The seated forward bend yoga pose can help with infertility, high blood pressure, and common problems like insomnia.
- Relieves menstrual discomfort & menopause symptom.
- To start with this pose, start by sitting on the floor, in the Staff Pose, both of the feet together, legs extended in front, and both the hands on the floor beside your hips.
- Inhale as you gracefully raise your arms above your head. Raise your gaze to gradually arch your body back, and hold for 2–3 breaths.
- Start with an exhale as you slowly lower both of your arms, and then lean forwards to grasp both of your knees.
- Then accordingly, bend both of your elbows out as you fold your trunk towards both of your knees. Hold for a count of fifteen.
- If you can, bend a little further according to your comfort zone, and then slowly forward a bit further today than you did yesterday, but don’t strain. Afterward, slowly straighten up and return to initial yoga posture.
After going through all the above-mentioned yoga poses, it is advised for everyone to repeat and practice the poses in a flowing dance-like sequence continuously to get the desired results.
- GODDESS POSE: Repeat 3 times
- WARRIOR I: Repeat three times
- INTENSE SIDE STRETCH: Repeat 3 times
- HALF LOTUS: Repeat 3 times
- SEATED FORWARD BEND: Repeat three times
(Related: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS))