It is that awaited time of the month right before our period starts when many women may cry at the drop of a hat, scream at the slightest disturbance, crave the saltiest potato chips and want to sleep until noon. Our mood changes, our behaviors are tweaked and our emotions run wild; and we are not only the ones affected. Those around us tend to want to run for cover as well.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, premenstrual tension, a.k.a. PMS (premenstrual syndrome), affects 75% of women during childbearing years. While symptoms vary slightly from woman to woman and even month-to-month, they are not often what you would describe as pleasant.
The following is an easy to remember guide to Yoga for PMS, as it shares the same acronym (PMS) and can be beneficial in addition to your other favorite remedies. These simple yogic practices help lift your mood, reduce your cravings and balance your emotional states so you can lighten your monthly burden for yourself and for those around you.
P is for Pranayama
There are several ways to practice pranayama, which is the Sanskrit word for yogic breathing. The purpose of pranayama is to enhance prana, the body’s life force energy. The more of this life energy we have, the better we feel.
A very centering and balancing type of pranayama called alternate nostril breathing is helpful in reducing fatigue and increasing energy when we’re feeling heavy or run down by our menstrual cycle.
To perform, close off your right nostril with the thumb of your right hand and exhale completely through your left nostril. Inhale through your left nostril and then close off your left nostril with the fourth finger of your right hand. Next, exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril then exhale through your left nostril. Continue to breathe slowly and consistently through alternate nostrils for up to 10 minutes.
M is for Meditation
Taking just a few minutes a day to reflect on the sensations in your body will prove to be more helpful than fussing about them. When you fully embrace your feelings or cravings due to PMS and try not to resist or change them, they tend to lose their power and begin to fade. Notice how your body feels, whether it is bloated, anxiously hungry or like you have a vice grip on your uterus, and meditate on it. What you resist will persist, so with all of your focus and concentration, you must feel it to heal it.
S is for Supta Baddha Konasana (Goddess Pose)
This pose not only helps to relieve nasty PMS symptoms, it offers benefits for the reproductive system and refreshes a stale libido.
Lie on your back with both knees bent. Bring the bottoms of your feet together and let your knees fall out to the side. Place supports such as pillows or rolled up blankets under both knees if needed. Take several deep breaths in this pose and allow your belly to feel full of feminine, life giving energy. Trust in your internal wisdom and appreciate the miracles of your body. Hold this pose for up to 5 minutes.