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Yoga for PMS
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December 16, 2010 - 10:17 pm
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PMS, or pre-menstrual syndrome, usually means a (literal) headache for many women because of the discomfort it can cause. Bloating, mood swings, cramps, headaches and insomnia are some of the many symptoms of PMS. These are caused by the swiftly fluctuating hormones that surge through a woman's body as it is preparing for menstruation.

While it's not possible to eradicate all these symptoms, they can be assuaged with yoga. Yoga provides peace of mind with gentle breathing and meditation exercises, and the gentle, low-impact physical poses help to improve circulation and breathing, eases muscle tension and stiffness as well as provide an overall feeling of wellbeing on the practitioner.

PMS can be categorized into four types. Type A (anxiety); Type C (cravings); Type D (depression) and Type H (H20 retention). These four yoga poses tackle specific PMS types and help to ease the discomfort of the symptoms.

TYPE A (anxiety)

Child's Pose

Kneel with your buttocks resting on your heels. Slowly bend at the hips and let your torso rest on your thighs as your forehead touches the floor. Keep your arms relaxed and at your side with palms up, fingers facing your feet. If you have trouble folding your body over your thighs, place a pillow on your lap or spread your knees apart so your torso can relax on your thighs. Hold this pose for about two minutes while breathing steadily.

The Child's Pose is very relaxing and helps to calm and relax overactive cells in the nervous system, and decreases the overproduction of chemicals such as serotonin and adrenalin, lessening feelings of anxiety, physical stress and irritability.

TYPE D (depression)

Upward Facing Dog

Start by laying belly and forehead on the floor. Bend your arms at the elbows beside your chest, elbows pointing inward, fingers forward. As you inhale, rise upward from the forehead, nose and chin, stretching from your neck, upper torso and lower torso until your pelvic region is pointing upward. Shift the weight to your arms and gradually straighten them, tightening your buttocks and curving your spine. The tops of your feet and hands must support your weight. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to a minute.

The Upward Facing Dog exercises your back muscles, which stimulates the lumbar and pelvic region of the body. It is said to help relieve depression.

TYPE C (cravings)

Bridge Pose

Lying flat on your back, bend your knees and bring them upward, feet hip-width apart. Align your ankles beneath your knees, and your arms at your side. Elevate your pelvis from the floor keeping in line with your knees. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to a minute.

This pose stimulates blood flow to the abdomen and pelvic areas, and helps the body metabolize sugar. This pose helps to relax abdominal and uterus muscles, and alleviate PMS-related cramps.

TYPE H (H20 retention)

Modified Wide Angle Pose

Lying flat on your back with your pelvis against a wall, extend your legs up to the wall. Keep your arms at your side. Open your legs into a V against the wall. Breathe as usual. Hold this position for one minute before slowly bringing your legs together and hold that pose for another minute.

This pose opens up the pelvic region and reduces swelling. It reduces the effects of bloating and water retention in the legs and feet.

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