Inner Balance… Yoga & Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
By Dr. Rita Khanna
What Is Premenstrual Syndrome
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is defined as a series of physical, emotional, psychological, and mood disturbance symptoms in women, which arises a few days before start of menstruation. About 80 percent of the ladies, when they reach the age of 30, experience sudden changes in their nature a few days before starting of menstruation.
Symptoms that occur around the time of menstruation are many. Some women are mildly affected, experiencing few symptoms, whilst for others PMS may seriously affect their lives every month. Different conditions and different problems arise in different individuals.
These include anxiety, irritability, depression, crying, oversensitivity, mood swings with alternating sadness, anger, headache, migraine, cramps, backache, weight gain, fatigue, bloating, breast tenderness, insomnia, acne, inability to concentrate, confusion, appetite changes with food cravings and lack of interest in usual activities. All these conditions obtain in premenstrual syndrome.
Causes Of PMS
Its cause is unknown, but PMS is probably related to changes in the levels of hormones, especially estrogens and progesterone (estrogens excess or progesterone deficiency), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), vitamin B6 deficiency, abnormal metabolism of prostaglandin (hormone-like substances), excessive fluid retention, and endorphin (a substance in the brain that provides pain relief) withdrawal activities.
Diet & PMS
Reducing stress, increasing exercise, and making dietary changes around the time of menstruation can prevent PMS symptoms from worsening. Women should be encouraged to eat regular, well-balanced meals.
A diet low in salt and sugar, adequate in protein, moderate in fat, and high in complex carbohydrates (fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, good quality protein, nuts and seeds) will all help rebalance and maintain your hormones. Specifics dietary patterns like the following can be incorporated:
First thing in the morning
Lemon water (lukewarm) with one-teaspoon honey
A glass of cabbage juice / carrot juice + spinach (add some honey into it)
Have Munacca (10-15 Nos.) and Figs (2-4 Nos), soaked in water overnight in a glass container. Chew it well and do not throw away the water, drink it. Also dates & fresh fruit
Wheat flour chapatti with Soya flour + seasonal vegetables + curd / buttermilk of skimmed milk & salad
1 glass of coconut water / watermelon / cucumber / barley water / fresh coriander (dhania) water / buttermilk
Mixed veg. soup, salad & steamed vegetables
Before going to bed
Lemon water (lukewarm) with one-teaspoon honey
Sweets, sugar, cold drinks, fried, fatty, spicy, starchy and sugar containing food, tea, coffee cocoa, tinned fruit, white flour, refined cereals.
- Drink tons of water (of normal temperature)
- Eat small meals to maintain stable energy levels; this will also significantly reduce food cravings.
- Cut down on salt and salty foods to help reduce fluid retention.
- Wear a well fitting cotton bra if you suffer tense, painful breasts.
- Talk to your family about your PMS so they can have some understanding of the problem. Help them develop attitude to be supportive during this time.
- Make an effort to avoid extra stresses (mark your premenstrual time on the calendar so that you can avoid major activities).
- Adequate rest, relaxation & sleep is essential. A yoga class is ideal.
- Try to develop positive thinking & avoid excessive worry, anger, tension, jealousy and hurrying.
- Thorough overhauling of the whole system under expert guidance is very helpful.
Yoga And PMS
The practice of regular Yogasanas, Pranayama, Mediation, Shavasana along with introspection and self-examination have their effects on physical, mental and emotional life. Yoga is beneficial in improving general health and helps relieve nervous tension, anxiety, blood circulation, maintaining muscle tone, weight control or reduction and flexibility, and increasing the levels of mood-regulating chemicals in the brain, decrease in fluid retention and increase in self-esteem.
While you are experiencing PMS, Shashankasana & a simple breathing exercise called Anulome Vilome can be performed at any time of the day to relax the muscles and nerves, which are under constant stress, strain and irritation. Both are helpful in regulating your hormones and balancing your system & state of mind.
- This Asana is performed while sitting in Vajrasana. Keep back, neck and head in a straight line.
- Sit with your legs folded behind in a manner similar to position occupied by Muslim friends while they sit for ‘Namaz’.
- Take a deep breath and raise both the hands in one line with head up.
- Now releasing breath and keeping the head steady in between the shoulders come down right up to the ground so that both the palms of the hands, the elbow and the forehead touch the ground.
- Be sure that while bending down in this manner both the buttocks remain set between both the heels. They should not be raised.
- As you go on bending forward, go on releasing the breath.
- Breathe normally, when the head touches the ground.
- Remain a witness of inhaling as well as exhaling of breath.
- Stay in this position, as long as you are comfortable.
- While you come up, breathe in.
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
Sit in a comfortable position steadily. Keep the palm of the right hand facing the face. Bend the first two fingers next to the thumb inside. Now put the right thumb on the right nostril and last two fingers of the same hand should be used to press the left nostril. Remember, for the practice of this Pranayama always start & finish the breathing from the left nostril.
- Breathe in through the left nostril slowly & deeply. Close the left nostril with the ring & little fingers and breathe out through the right nostril gently & deeply.
- Breathe in through the right nostril. Close the right nostril with the thumb & breathe out through the left nostril.
- This completes one round of Nadi Shodhana.
- It can be done five to fifteen minutes according to the capacity of the body.
The above advice about Premenstrual Syndrome diet and eating habits is offered for general educational purposes only. If you suffer from severe PMS, please consult your physician for specific personal medical & dietary advice.
In case of any queries, contact:
Dr, Rita Khanna
2nd floor, Plot#22, Suman Housing Colony, West Marredpally Secunderabad-500026
Mobile: 09849772485 Ph:-040-65173344
The Yoga Studio is open 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Dr. Rita Khanna
Dr. Rita Khanna is a well-known name in the field of Yoga and Naturopathy. She was initiated into his discipline over two decades ago by world famous Swami Adyatmananda of Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh.
She believes firmly that Yoga is a scientific process, which helps us to lead a healthy and disease-free life. She is also actively involved in practicing alternative medicines like Naturopathy. Over the years, she has been successfully practicing these therapies and providing succour to several chronic and terminally ill patients.
At present, Dr. Rita Khanna is teaching Yoga in Secunderabad. She has been treating and curing various diseases and disorders through Yoga, Diet and Naturopathy and has been achieving tremendous satisfaction in disseminating this virtue.
Teaching Hatha Yoga – Methods for Happiness
By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Let’s take a systematic approach toward happiness, by taking Yoga’s principles, and applying them to life. Here are a few more methods to help anyone find happiness at any time.
Just by visiting a local Yoga class, you will find yourself surrounded by positive energy. Yet, this same principle applies to going anywhere like-minded people exist. Always surround yourself with optimists and positive energy.
Look within, and you will find good qualities. Be aware of your strong points and stop worrying about your short comings. We are all human, so do not be the last one to forgive yourself for a mistake. One of the worst mistakes you can make is not forgiving yourself.
Stay away from sinking into a self-pity slump. The future is often what we anticipate. With that said, there is a real need to anticipate success. You have nothing to lose by maintaining a positive outlook on life.
Learn to laugh often, and learn to laugh at yourself – it is good for your health. This is why Laughter Yoga has become so popular. When you start to take life too seriously, observe it and smile.
Life is too short to worry all the time. In fact, worrying is a complete waste of time. Finding solutions is not worrying. If you focus on solutions, you may just solve those worries away.
Believe that you deserve success and happiness. To think otherwise, invites disaster. If we think we deserve failure, we begin to attract pessimists. The last thing any of us needs is to find ourselves in the company of critics.
Be thankful for your health, family, friends, home, and your good qualities. Focus on the good things in life, which you already have. Yoga practice starts when you roll up the mat and learn to apply Yogic methods to real life situations.
Students come to Yoga classes for a variety of reasons, but one of the reasons is because the steady practice makes them happy. Those that think Hatha Yoga is a physically demanding form of torture will not continue the practice.
For Yoga teachers, the objective is to show students the multiple benefits of Yoga over the course of their first month. Why a month? These days, most people are only willing to give 30 days to try something new, and Yoga is no different. Let’s look at ways to make new students aware of the many benefits of a continued Yoga practice.
What is the primary form of instant gratification? If you are thinking of chocolate, that’s close. The primary form of instant gratification is happiness. In fact, you do not have to pay to smile or laugh. Some people pay for entertainment, but this is not a requirement for laughing or smiling.
Yoga teachers want their students to appreciate life “in the now,” but an easy place to start is by teaching them to develop full awareness of their surroundings. For example: The smell of flowers, the feeling of sunshine, and the sound of a bird’s song, are small features on this journey we call “life,” and they can each bring about states of happiness.
Your classroom does not have to become a comedy club or circus, but you can create a joyful atmosphere. Just by getting students to appreciate the simple pleasures in life, they will begin to open their minds to new paths of happiness.
Look at how much you appreciate the benefits of Pranayama – it required your awareness to appreciate it, and developed happiness, before you continued the practice on your own.
© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications