PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome is an extremely common problem among women and almost 85% of women suffer from it. PMS is associated with a collection of emotional and physical symptoms that is experienced during the time of ovulation or Luteal phase of the Menstruation cycle. Although this is a problem that is kept in darkness and women rarely open up about it but in many cases the suffering can be unbearable and agonizing thereby leaving the person drained and exhausted. Most of us take over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs, low-estrogen birth control pills and estrogen-progesterone birth control pills to get quick relief from the problems hardly realizing that these might have severe harmful effect on health in the long run.
The benefits of yoga in relieving the symptoms of PMS are countless and difficult to list. Yoga is like a magical wand that touches our lives to bless us with a fit, flexible and healthy body, flawless, glowing skin, peaceful mind and great overall health. The benefits of yoga are not only limited to the physical level, it transcends the body to bring harmony between the body and the soul and fill the mind with happiness.
Symptoms of PMS
The symptoms of PMS vary from one woman to another, and they are so varied that it can’t even be properly explained or categorized and the symptoms that women experience may vary from cycle to cycle. There are a few common symptoms that are experienced by most women during the 10 days before the commencement of menstruation.
- Abdominal Cramps
- Tenderness and Swelling of Breast
- Muscle Pain and aches
- Insomnia/Sleep Disorder
- Mood Swings
10 Easy Yoga Poses to Reduce PMS
Yoga is not only a physical practice; it connects the spirit to the body and had been developed in ancient India by wise yogis and sages to unite the soul with the universe. There is no other medicine like yoga for getting rid of physical ailments. Here are 10 simple yoga poses that can be practiced by anyone in order to reduce the symptoms of PMS.
Child’s Pose (Balasana):
Get on all fours, put your knees under your hips, and now slowly lower your head towards the floor while exhaling normally through your nose. Let your forehead touch the mat. Count till 20 normal breaths and come back to the former position. Repeat this pose 5 times. The Child’s pose is mainly focused on the thighs, but it also helps in relieving strain in other regions like back, shoulder, neck and hip.
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana):
Sit with your back straight, cross your left leg over right and let the left foot rest by the right knee. Tuck the right heel near the left hip and rest the left hand on the floor. Wrap the right hand around the left knee and twist the torso towards the left. Now inhale and hold the position for 20 long breaths. Now change sides and repeat this on the other side. Repeat the entire set 2-3 times. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose helps in relieving strained back muscles by stretching them. It increases flexibility of the spines and relaxes abdominal organs.
Cat Pose (Bidalasana):
Get on all fours, hands under shoulder and knees in the same line with the hips. Bring your chin towards your chest while inhaling and tilt your pelvis towards the ground. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then rise your head while exhaling and arch your body in the opposite direction. Repeat this pose 5-6 times. The Cat Pose relaxes the spine, back muscles and abdominal muscles. It relieves tension in shoulder, neck and improves digestion.
Modified Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana):
Lie face down with elbows bent near the chest and palms down. Now lift your face and right leg while inhaling, maintain a gap of 12 inches between your foot and the mat. Hold this position for 20 seconds and come back to resting position. Now repeat this with the left leg. Repeat the whole set 2-3 times. It helps in relieving the neck, back and abdominal muscles. It also helps in lessening depression, stress and anxiety.
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Crocodile Pose (Makarasana):
Lie face down on the mat with arms folded in the front, palms stacked and the head resting on the palms. Relax your legs, open them wide apart, the heels should point in and both the legs should be in contact with the floor. Now tighten your buttocks together and press into the floor. Hold this position for 20 seconds and then relax. Repeat this pose 5-6 times. The Crocodile Pose helps in releasing stress from various body parts like back, legs, arms and buttocks. It also helps in getting rid of indigestion and constipation.
Standing Forward Bend (Padahastasana):
Stand on the mat with your back straight, now raise your arms overhead so that it touches your ears, and exhale and bend your body forward from the hips keeping your legs straight. Rest your hands on the floor or hold the big toes of the foot. You can even hold the back of your legs if your hands do not reach the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds and come back to the standing position while inhaling slowly. Repeat this pose 4-5 times. The Standing Forward Bend helps in stretching and relaxing overall body parts right from head to heels. It also removes depression, stress and anxiety.
Fish Pose (Matsyasana):
Lie on your back and put your arms under your body. The palms should be underneath the thighs and face the floor. Now inhale and push your upper body off the floor with the help of the elbows to form an arch. In the ideal position, the head should lightly rest on the floor; the neck should be relaxed, and the entire strain should be on the back muscles. Legs should be relaxed but together. Hold this position for 10 seconds accompanied by deep breathing. Now come back to the normal position by inhaling and lifting the head to straighten the body. Repeat this posture 3-4 times interspersed by Savasana or the Corpse Pose. It massages the abdominal organs and muscles, stretches the hip muscles and relieves the tension in neck, shoulder and throat.
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandasana):
Lie face up on the mat with knees bent and feet wide apart, resting flat on the floor. Now, slowly push up the torso to form a line from the shoulders to knees. Clasp your hands together beneath the torso for better support. Hold this position for 20 seconds accompanied by deep breathing. Now release the hands and gently lower the torso on the mat. Repeat this pose 4-5 times. It helps relieve stress, depression and headache. It relaxes the central nervous system, improves blood circulation and revives tired leg muscles.
Sit in the kneeling posture with your buttocks resting on your heels and your hands resting on your thighs. Keep the shoulders down and back straight. Breathe normally, relax and hold the posture for 30 seconds. Repeat this pose 5-6 times. The Thunderbolt is a simple asana that can be practiced by anybody and has numerous health benefits. It boosts blood circulation, reduces stress and anxiety, cures constipation, indigestion and acidity and helps relax the thigh muscles.
Corpse Pose (Savasana):
This is a relaxation pose that is vital while practicing yoga. In the Corpse Pose, the body is in a neutral position, and it is very important to end each yoga session with Savasana in order to bring back the body to a state of rest and relaxation from the stress of high intensity yoga. It is a state that lets the body surrender to peace and tranquility. It helps in improving sleep, concentration, and increases the general level of productivity.
Try out these simple yoga positions and get relief from the excruciating pain and agony of Premenstrual Syndrome. But do keep in mind that it is best to practice yoga at least 3-4 hours after meals. Choosing a proper, comfortable yoga mat is the basic requirement to get started with your yoga regime.