While some women are not particularly bothered by the onset of their monthly period, for many others premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can be debilitating. One woman describes:
“From about midway through my cycle until my period, I experience intense nervous tension, lethargy, constipation, and constant thirst and hunger that is difficult to satisfy. My breasts become painful and swollen, my body becomes bloated, and generally I feel as if I am coming down with some kind of illness. Emotionally I am a wreck. My moods and emotions swing like a pendulum. I often feel like I am on a very short fuse and the slightest provocation will set me off. Sometimes I get extremely upset and cry uncontrollably. My relationships suffer terribly during this time. I feel overwhelmed by small things and I find it hard to be productive and stay focused on my work.”
I’m sure many of you can relate to this woman’s experience, as most of us experience at least some of these symptoms. The good news is that living a yoga lifestyle can really help us get through these tough times of the month.
PMS is believed to be caused by hormonal imbalance and liver congestion and can be aggravated by:
- lack of physical exercise
- poor diet and nutrition
- over-exhaustion from working or exercising too much
- inadequate sleep
- chemicals and toxins
- strong emotions such as anger, excessive attachment, and fear
Although we can’t completely eliminate the hormonal changes responsible for menstruation, a balanced yoga lifestyle that includes getting enough rest, eating a healthy vegetarian diet, and regularly practicing yoga asanas, breathing, and Yoga Sound Meditation, can help reduce and relieve PMS symptoms.
Recent scientific studies have shown that reducing stress can lessen PMS symptoms. Prior to and sometimes during menstruation, women can be emotionally fragile. Small stressors often seem large, and large ones overwhelming. Since stress directly affects the liver’s functions and creates hormonal imbalances, it’s especially important to reduce stress around this time of the month.
Reducing stress also helps us avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, like eating junk food or avoiding exercise, both of which can make PMS worse. So taking some time every day to practice even 5 minutes of Yoga Sound Meditation will be very helpful in keeping stress to a minimum and help us cope with deeper anxiety and emotional distress.
Yoga Asanas Help Release Tension, Restore Energy, and Balance Hormones
Yoga asanas are one of the most therapeutic types of exercise for reducing PMS and menstrual difficulties as they help release tension and stress while restoring our 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.
Avoid extreme exercise or very rigorous asana practice during the week prior to your period. Excessive physical exercise disrupts the liver and spleen, and can cause skipped periods or excessive bleeding. Gentle asanas or light exercise like walking is ideal. So don’t turn to yoga techniques only when you’re experiencing PMS symptoms. The real solution is to live a yoga lifestyle all the time, which will bring about deep changes on many levels that will leave you feeling better—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.