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Yoga for PCOS: Benefits & Yoga Asanas to Practice

Published on 26 Jul 2021

Yoga for PCOS: Benefits & Yoga Asanas to Practice

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)  affects 6 to 12 percent of women during their childbearing years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA). The current studies have tied up the causes to a combination of hereditary as well as environmental factors. 

Yoga has proved to be an effective tool in combating PCOS as pointed out by recent research. Even though Yoga can not cure PCOS but regular yoga practice could help in alleviating certain PCOS symptoms and foster body positivity.

4 Benefits of Practicing Yoga for PCOS

Practicing yoga may reduce testosterone levels

A study conducted on 31 women diagnosed with PCOS ranging from 23 to 42 years of age concluded that women who practiced yoga for an hour three times a week showed a reduction of 29% in their testosterone levels and alleviation in anxiety and depressive symptoms.

Yoga is open for all age groups and fitness levels unlike other aerobic exercises

Yoga is a form of exercise open to several modifications and variations which makes it a sustainable tool for all ages of women with PCOS. Unlike, HIIT, cardio, swimming, and other intensity workouts, Yoga gives way to Elderly Yoga, Kids Yoga, Relaxing Yoga, Advanced Yoga, and an array of other styles. 

Yoga shows effective results in improving lipid, glucose, and insulin resistance values.

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a research in which it observed that adolescent girls with PCOS when took up the practice of one hour of yoga daily for 12 weeks,  resulted out to be more effective than conventional physical exercises in improving glucose, lipid, and insulin resistance values.

Yoga would lead to acceptance and appreciation of your body

It might prove to be a powerful tool in tackling body image issues. Since women with PCOS often undergo changes in their hormone levels resulting in varying weight coupled with other mentally discomforting symptoms, Yoga might help in attaining acceptance and peace in the long term.  

Suggested Read: Yoga for Kids Benefits 

Specific Yoga Asanas for PCOS

“In seeking relief from the pain and other symptoms of PCOS, I recommend the more gentle yoga poses, especially those focusing on stretching and relaxation,” quoted by Lisa Burnett, certified Pranakriya prenatal yoga instructor.

Although Yoga has numerous variations suitable for all needs, Yoga poses for PCOS should be focused on bringing in mindfulness and spreading relaxation throughout the practice. You should incorporate yoga asanas that promote blood flow to the pelvic region. As some styles are a better fit for Yoga for PCOS. 

We have curated a list of 7 yoga asanas for PCOS to ease your search-

1. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

Women with PCOS often struggle with controlling their body weight. Paschimottanasana works perfectly as one of the yoga poses for PCOS practice to maintain a healthy lifestyle

Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

Benefits of Paschimottansana

  • Stretches your Spine and lower back
  • Unlocks your Hamstrings
  • Alleviates menstrual discomfort
  • Enhances digestion
  • Strengthens your Liver

Step-by-step instructions on practicing Paschimottansana

  1. Sit with your back straight and legs spread out.
  2. Raise your arms over your head. (reach for the ceiling!)
  3. Inhale and lengthen your spine.
  4. Exhale while bending forward to reach your knees. (Try to rest your belly on your thighs)
  5. Hold your ankles, or stay in that position as long as you find it comforting.
  6. Inhale back up.
  7. Repeat this yoga pose for 10-15 breaths.

Modification

Make use of a folded blanket to elevate your hips and gain length comfortably while stretching forward.

Suggested Read: Surya Namaskar for Weight Loss

2. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) 

Bhujangasana targets the swadishthan chakra (located in sacrum) and ignites the Kundalini. Hereby, keeping a check on the symptoms of PCOS.

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Benefits of Cobra Pose

  • Strengthens the spine
  • Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
  • Tones the buttocks
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Helps relieve stress and fatigue
  • Opens the heart and lungs
  • Soothes sciatica
  • Therapeutic for asthma.

Step-by-step instructions on practicing Bhujangasana

  1. Begin by lying down face-front on your Yoga mat.
  2. Start sliding your chest forward.
  3. Place your hands near your ribs, make use of all four corners of your palm to hold Cobra Pose.
  4. Raise your gaze towards the ceiling; bring your pelvis to the floor and open up your chest.

Modification

If you feel that you arms are giving out then come to Baby Cobra Pose for a few breaths.

Suggested Read: 5 Night Yoga Poses

3. Bow Pose (Dhanurasan)

Bow Pose stimulates the functioning of reproductive organs and works wonders for people struggling with constipation.

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Benefits of performing Dhanurasana 

  • Strengthens the thighs, chest and back
  • Massages abdominal organs
  • Boosts digestion
  • Stretches the whole body
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Tones arms and legs

How to perform Bow Pose

  1. Lie flat on your stomach with your chin on the yoga mat.
  2. Lay your hands on your side with your palms facing up.
  3. Take a deep breath in.
  4. Start bending your knees as you exhale.
  5. Maintain a hip-width apart distance between your knees,
  6. Try to bring your heels near your buttocks.
  7. Now raise your arms and grab your ankles. Let your fingers wrap around your ankle and keep your toes pointed.
  8. Inhale and start lifting your heels away from your buttocks.
  9. Bring your head, chest, and thighs away from the yoga mat simultaneously.By this point, your core would be touching the yoga mat while the rest of your body points towards the ceiling.
  10. Hold the pose for 10-15 seconds and maintain a consistent breathing pattern.
  11. Gently bring your head, chest, thighs, and legs back on the mat as you release the bow pose.

Suggested Read: Yoga doing the Full Splits 

4. Childs Pose (Balasana)

Balasana is a yoga asana for PCOS to rest your heartbeat and a perfect pose to end your yoga practice with.

Balasana (Childs Pose)
Balasana (Childs Pose)

Benefits of Balasana

  • Eases neck and back pain
  • Lessens anxiety and stress
  • Brings peace
  • Straightens out your thighs, knees and ankles
  • Meritorious for your lymphatic and nervous system

Step-by-step instructions on practicing Balasana

  1. Begin by kneeling down on your yoga mat.
  2. Sit on your heels and start bending forward.
  3. Keep bending till your chest is flush against your thighs.
  4. You can either bring your arms forward or let them rest on your side.
  5. Breathe deep and hold the pose as long as you want.

Suggested Read: Healthy Alternatives for your Daily Meals

5. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

A Yoga asana for PCOS, the Bridge Pose helps in reducing stress and alleviating tension from the back muscles.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Benefits of performing Bridge Pose

  • Battles thyroid
  • Tones glutes
  • Improves digestion process
  • Regulates hormone levels
  • Strengthens back muscles
  • Alleviates back pain

How to perform Sethu Bandha Sarvangasana

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and hip-width apart.
  2. Your knees should be directly below your heels and close to your buttocks.
  3. Take a deep breath in.
  4. Exhale. And lift your tailbone and buttocks off the yoga mat by pressing down on your inner feet and arms.
  5. While you lift, be mindful of keeping your knees parallel to your heels.
  6. Now clasp your hands below your pelvis to add more balance to the bridge pose. This will help you in staying on top of your shoulders.
  7. Keep on lifting your buttocks till your thighs are directly below the yoga mat.
  8. Hold the pose for 10-15 seconds.
  9. Exhale and come back down slowly, rolling your spine.

Suggested Read: Things to do during a Pandemic

6. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Camel Pose is a yoga pose for PCOS which works towards controlling hormones and cure respiratory ailments. 

Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
Ustrasana (Camel Pose)

Benefits of performing Camel Pose

  • Targets thigh fat
  • Respiratory ailment
  • Opens up chest and lungs
  • Prevents and controls thyroid disorders
  • Stretches the Spine
  • Improves Posture

How to perform Ustrasana

  1. Start by kneeling on your yoga mat. Your body upright and hips stacked over your knees.
  2. Place your hand on the hips with your thumbs at the sacrum (a large, flat triangular-shaped bone nested between the hip bones).
  3. Open your heart by moving your shoulder blades towards your spine.
  4. Inhale and arch your chest upwards to the ceiling as the crown of your head goes back. Don't let your head hang heavy rather, tone your neck to support your head at shoulder level.
  5. Also, tuck your chin in or point it towards the ceiling, whichever you feel comfortable in.
  6. Now, reach your hands back (one at a time) to your heels. If you can not touch your heels, use yoga blocks on either side of your knees
  7. .Draw your shoulder blades in towards your spine to feel the whole-body connection. Your pelvis must be right above your knees. For that, engage your buttocks to press forward your thighs.
  8. Hold for 5-8 breaths before gently releasing the pose.

Suggested Read: 10 Healthy Meals

7. Boat Pose (Navasana)

Boat Pose or Navasana is known to regulate thyroid levels which is one of the common symptoms in women with PCOS. 

Navasana (Boat Pose)
Navasana (Boat Pose)

Benefits of Boat Pose

  • Tones and strengthens your abdominal muscles
  • Improves balance and digestion
  • Stretches your hamstrings
  • Strengthens your spine and hip flexors
  • Stimulates the kidneys, thyroid and prostate glands, and intestines
  • Aids in stress relief

Step-by-Step Guide to perform Navasana

  1. Sit with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor or bed.
  2. Steadily lift your shins parallel to the ground (half-boat pose)
  3. Keep your torso contracted and spine straight.
  4. Slowly, bring your legs up to a 45-degree angle without losing your balance.
  5. Raise your arms parallel to the ground.
  6. Do not let your spine crouch or round.
  7. Hold the pose as long as your body allows.
  8. Do not forget to inhale and exhale. Keep your breathing pattern intact.

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