PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a common reproductive disease that affects at least 1 out of every 5 women in their lifetime. It has a Global prevalence rate of 25% and 70% of women remain undiagnosed and unaware of its prevalence.
Usually, when a female is having problems related to the menstrual cycle and its irregularity or excessive facial hair growth, unnatural weight gain, hair loss, and acne; should test herself for PCOS.
Research suggests that Hirsutism or male pattern baldness/excessive hair growth affects the quality of lifestyle of many women. The peak in hormonal issues draws attention to poor lifestyle habits; doctors say 80% of patients are obese. Diet is an important factor but one cause of PCOS is a sedentary lifestyle or physical inactivity. According to research, 50% of overweight women have PCOS. This is of great concern and thus exercise of some form is highly essential for improving your reproductive health.
Yoga for PCOS is something that many nutritionists and doctors highly recommend, as it is slow yet sure progress in preventing the growth of cysts and improving reproductive health.
Some Yogic techniques you can practice are:
Bhadrasana (Supta and Sitting)
Bhadrasana or butterfly pose can be performed sitting or supine. This posture works on the reproductive regions, massaging the ovaries and uterus. This posture also helps with excretion-related issues.
To perform this asana:
Sit on your mat with your leg extended
Place your right leg sole on your left thigh.
Now fold your left leg and place both the soles of your feet together, facing each other.
Place your hands on your thighs are relax.
Bhadrasana has no limitations except for knee injury/arthritis. It can also be performed during pregnancy and actually eases the childbirth procedure for the mother.
Vajrasana is derived from Vajra, a weapon of Lord Indra in Hinduism which symbolically represents firmness and power. This asana also aims for the same. The power here is the strengthening of the core muscles which help strengthen the spine.
Vajrasana is one of the only practices that can be performed post-meal.
Some limitations that you should consider:
Severe Abdominal/Pelvic issues.
To perform this asana:
Come to a kneeling position on your mat
Create space by making sure your toes touch each other and your heels are apart
Situate yourself in such a way that your buttocks are in this space.
Place your hands on your thighs.
Stay in this position for at least 3-5 minutes before slowly letting go of this position the same way.
The biggest benefit is it normalises blood pressure, and breath and helps increase concentration. It is also a great posture for digestion and digestion-related problems. It is also a great posture for digestion, absorption and Reproductive problems.
Ushtrasana or the camel posture has great value both physiologically and psychologically. It has great benefits to your thighs, hips, thoracic and even facial muscles, However, what is often not seen is its immense benefit on the psychological level.
This asana develops self-confidence, relieves stress and calms down the mind.
From vajrasana, lean backwards and rest your palms on the floor as shown in the image above.
Point your face up and while inhaling try to arch your back.
Exhaling return to starting position.
You can perform this asana by taking gaps of 5-10 breaths or until comfortable.
Ushtrasana also relaxes the back muscles, abdominal muscles and eases of the stress of weight gain, regularising your monthly cycles which is very important for PCOS.
Ardha Matsyendrasana and Mandukasana are great poses to relax your back and activate your liver/pancreas and other systems responsible for problems like diabetes, liver cirrhosis, or fatty liver. The major benefit however is that when you sit for long hours, the back is so cramped that any form of movement becomes a strain. This is common for women suffering from PCOS and is therefore important that they include this asana in their daily routine.
The limitations are pregnancy (2-3 trimesters), any recent abdominal or spinal surgery or injury and arthritis.
Sit comfortably with your legs extended on your mat.
Make sure your spine is erect, your hands are beside your body and your neck is relaxed.
Fold your right knee and place your right foot on the left side of your left thigh.
Bring your left feet close to the right hips.
With your left hand pass the outer edge of the right knee and if possible hold the right ankle.
Look behind through the right side, relaxing your neck and making sure the back is erect. You can use your right hand to support your back.
Repeat the same for the left side.
Ardha Matsyendrasana is an excellent posture for PCOS. Performing this asana at least twice on each side every day is recommended.
Pawanmuktasana is a classic posture that releases tension from your lower back, activates your digestive, reproductive and excretory systems and improves your blood circulation - improving mood.
This powerful technique can be done on an empty stomach by bringing your knee to your chest and holding it for a few counts. Remember to exhale while you bring your knee to your chest and inhale while you release this posture.
The limitations are if you have arthritis of the knee, have undergone surgery very recently, or you have heavy menstrual blood flow.
Viparit Karni is one important posture to stimulate and maintain optimal brain activity. The words “Viparitakarni” literally means “legs up the wall". This posture increases blood flow to the uterus, ovaries, helping you heal PCOS.
To get into this posture:
Lie supine on your mat with your feet together and hands at your sides.
Exhaling, bend both your knees and bring your feet close to your hips.
From here take support of your hands to lift your hips up. Make sure your toes are in line with your neck.
Balance the body you can maintain this pose for a few seconds but try not to exceed two minutes and make sure your neck is not cramped up.
If you are new to yoga, you can do the same against the wall.
ViparitKarni helps stimulate endocrine glands, which are primarily responsible for PCOS. Therefore, you should keep their legs against the wall for at least 10 minutes. (only if using back support)
Women suffering from PCOD also have lots of mood swings which might make, not just you but others around you feel overwhelmed. It is important that you develop a bhava or feeling of letting go. Whenever you feel low or dull, take a deep breath and recenter yourself.
It is essential that you keep a practice of Shavasana and Meditation every day. Writing whatever you feel on a piece of paper can also help.
It is no surprise that being overweight can have serious consequences on your overall health. But it's not only obesity that has negative implications. We have even seen cases of women suffering from PCOS - where the ovaries produce more androgenic hormones than they should - who are extremely thin. Yoga can help to regulate glucose levels, weight, and cardiovascular risk factors in obese women with PCOS. It has been acknowledged as a stress-busting and depression-relieving exercise. It improves your overall health condition by providing more oxygen to cells, thus allowing them to function at their optimum level.