Since PMS is such a regular monthly occurrence, we need to start thinking about how we can move through that time without falling into bad habits. While it's tempting and easy to just pop a few ibuprofens and chow down on everything in sight, we know this isn't a healthy option.
Many women are finding PMS relief through yoga, a holistic practice focusing on flexibility, breathing and decreasing stress.
YogaYoga is more than those poses we see which make us wonder how anyone could be so flexible. You may not be able to do backbends or put your feet behind your head, but you can learn to coordinate your breathing with various movements to relax and clear your mind.
Essentially, yoga emphasizes the connection between the mind and the body; while you work your way through a series of poses, you also work to clear your mind and breathe deeply, reducing stress and bringing your mind into a connection with your body.
Why Yoga?Even if you don't buy into the mind/body connection, yoga will still definitely increase your flexibility, balance and muscle strength and probably reduce stress. It's hard to stay stressed when you're in a warm, darkened room listening to soft music and stretching. Study after study has shown that yoga can help lower blood pressure, improve lung capacity and reduce cortisol levels (the stress hormone). So, even if you're not sold on the spiritual aspects of yoga, give it a try for the physical. You may find you enjoy it more than you thought you would.
Yoga For PMSWhile physical activity may be the last thing you want to do while you are bloated, cramping and cranky, yoga is a smart choice. Lifting weights or doing serious cardiovascular exercise may trigger more cramping for many women, but the gentle movements of yoga in addition to deep breathing has been shown to relieve PMS symptoms.
Yoga reinforces relaxation, stretching and breathing, which will help you through those PMS days and can relieve moodiness and irritability. Many yoga schools offer a class dedicated to PMS movements, which involve gentle stretching of the areas most affected by menstruation: the lower back and abdomen.
You may find relief through poses that gently stretch your abdomen, relieving the pressure that frequently builds up during menstruation. Bending forward and curving your back stretches out those lower back muscles and eases the aching.
Tips For Yoga With PMSIf you are experiences PMS symptoms or are menstruating, here are some tips to get you started on a yoga routine:
- Choose a class for beginners
- Avoid doing any headstands while menstruating
- Know your limits; yoga is not about competition or pushing yourself too hard
- Focus and clear your mind
- Breathe through any cramping; just as short quick breaths help women through labor, long deep breaths can help you through cramping
- Listen to your body; if something is too difficult, you can modify the pose to your ability.
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