Having your period is an inevitable part of womanhood. Menstruation is considered the ‘dark moon’ phase of the month – during this time we turn inward, meditate and plan ahead. It is the most intuitive time of your cycle and can be experienced as inspirational, enlightening and pain free. However, the majority of women have a negative relationship with these days of bleeding due to symptoms of PMS.
Unfortunately a large percentage of women experience some form of Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS), also known as Dysmenorrhea. The discomfort can be experienced two weeks prior to menstruating, or during the period itself. The degrees could vary for each woman: pain in the abdomen or pelvic region, back ache, dizziness, migraine, nausea, swelling or pain in the breasts or reduced energy. Symptoms of PMS can also be emotional: anxiety, depression, irritability, anger or confusion.
Nutrition, correct physical exercises and a positive mindset can make your PMS symptoms disappear forever. It is not natural to experience discomfort during your period…
Yoga and your hormones
Yoga for hormone balancing is intended for releasing stress and bringing awareness to the relationship you have with your body. Women bodies are delicate but powerful instruments and keeping balance can be quite a challenge in stressful environment, poised between work and family life, and taking time for your self. By balancing hormones we can reduce painful periods, PMS, improve the regularity of ovulations and menstrual cycles. We create harmonious relationships with our bodies, and our sexuality and reproduction.
Hormones and the biology of your body
The endocrine system is the system of glands within your body that regulates your hormones. Not only does it decide how you feel during your menstruation or how high your libido is, it is also in charge of your appetite, how well you sleep at night or how much energy you have during the day. This complicated network of glands communicates to the other systems within the body to control literally everything. By focussing on harmonizing your endocrine system with the right nutrition and the right yoga practice, you will see that gradually you will start to harmonize your entire life.
The asana-practice shown on the next page is gentle, and soothing. These yoga poses help stimulate and activate certain glands and organs, which will help to maintain a hormone balance and a consistent production and distribution. This asana practice focuses on opening the hips, elongating the spine and concentrates on four important glands that are guardians of balance of the female hormonal system:
- Pituitary gland – this gland is located behind the eyebrow centre and is in charge of sexual development and reproductive functions. As the master gland it controls other glands.
- Thyroid gland – located in the throat behind the collar bone and is in charge of how your bodies uses energy, your metabolism and regulates the sensitivity of your body towards other hormones.
- Adrenal glands – are based above the kidneys and are in charge of producing sex hormones and the stress hormone cortisol.
- Ovaries – based in the pelvic region are responsible in producing female hormones.
For best results in balancing your hormones, your yoga practice should stimulate all the four glands mentioned on the previous page, to achieve synergy. Here are several yoga poses for balancing each gland.
1. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) and Vriksasana (Tree Pose) –
both balancing poses are great for stimulating pituitary gland.
2. Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose) – kneeling forward bend with crown of the
head on the floor stretches the spine and stimulates the thyroid gland.
3. Ustrasana (Camel Pose) – a back bend opens the heart and
stimulates thyroid gland.
4. Sukasana (Easy Pose) – opens the hips and stimulates the adrenal gland.
5. Badakonasana (Butterfly Pose) – holding feet and moving the knies up
and down like the wings of a butterfly. Great for releasing stress from the
hips and strengthening the pelvic floor and adrenals.
6. Janu sirshasana (sitting head to knee pose).
7. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose).
8. Marjariasana (Cat Pose) – the asanas 6, 7 and 8 are all great for balancing ovaries
as they open the area of lower spine and focus on the pelvic area.
9. Viparita Karani (legs up the wall pose) – is an mild inversion that
releases tension in the legs and stimulates ovaries.
Gentle postures are great to ease specific aches and make the monthly cycles easier. Simple (guided) meditations will also be of great help – this will allow your mind to relax from the PMS and subside any emotional turbulences.
You are free to include other asana’s in your practice, however, no rigorous exercise or postures should be performed during this period as that can obstruct menstrual flow. During menstruation it is very important to never do inversions and never do extreme twists. Respect the process that your body is going through and don’t put more pressure on your womb during this time.
It is all in your hands
It’s important to make life-supporting decisions that will help to sustain your body and mind and complement the fast moving lifestyle of today’s times. Being aware of your lifestyle and making conscious changes towards a healthy life is one such decision. Are you experiencing hormonal issues that require more attention? Then knock on my door. I can definitely help you with more insightful information.