Five yoga poses to reduce the symptoms of PCOS
Studies show that one in five women of reproductive age in India has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The reason why it is difficult to pinpoint the number with any accuracy is that few girls realise they have this condition until they try — and sometimes fail — to get pregnant.
PCOS is characterised by a hormonal imbalance - this prevents the regular release of eggs by the ovaries. People with PCOS often have irregular periods, difficulty conceiving and they are more prone to health problems like severe acne, anxiety, depression and diabetes.
In addition to prescribed medication such as contraceptive pills which regulate the hormones, people living with PCOS are advised to lose weight and keep stress at bay. This is where yoga comes in.
If you have this condition, read on for five yoga asanas that might help. Before you begin, though, remember that it is always a good idea to do these poses with a trained instructor who can correct your posture. Remember also that yoga doesn’t work overnight; so keep at it for the best results.
The idea of this exercise is to take more oxygen in with every breath. Practitioners say that when you hold your breath during this exercise, the oxygen gets more time to infuse into every last cell of the body. This is said to improve metabolism and help you lose weight. The repetitive movement also helps to calm the mind. Anulom-Vilom is part of the pranayama family of yoga poses. According to research published in the International Journal of Yoga, the practice of pranayama can reduce anxiety in as little as 12 weeks. Here’s to do it:
- Sit cross-legged on a mat. Make yourself comfortable, but keep the spine as straight as possible.
- Now, fold the first two fingers of your right hand.
- Press down on your right nostril with the thumb of the right hand and breathe in through the left nostril. Try to breathe in for at least 10 counts.
- Now, use the ring finger and little finger of the right hand to close the left nostril. Try to hold your breath for at least five counts.
- Release the right nostril and breathe out slowly.
- Now breathe in through the right nostril and repeat.
You can do this exercise for a few minutes each morning or even while you are at the office, to regulate your breathing and become more relaxed.
Here’s another breathing technique you can try anywhere - in the car, at university, at the office, in a park, or at home: abdominal breathing. Make a conscious effort to expand your stomach when you breathe in. Hold your breath for a few seconds and then exhale - feel the tension and negativity flow out of your body!
2) Naukasana or boat pose
This pose helps to reduce belly fat, improve digestion and keep blood sugar levels in check. According to an article published in the International Journal on Arts, Management and Humanities, the boat pose "enhances the ovarian functions". The article, titled "Effect of Yoga on Level of Depression among Females suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)", also recommends asanas like the butterfly pose and bow pose that stretch the pelvic area for people living with PCOS.
Here's how to do the boat pose:
- Sit on a mat. Bend your knees and place your feet on the mat.
- Place your hands behind your hips and lean back slightly. Take care to keep your back straight.
- Now, lift your feet off the floor. You can keep your knees bent. Bring the shins parallel to the floor.
- When you can, tuck your tummy in and raise your arms in front of you - in line with your shoulder.
- When you can, straighten your legs and flex your feet. Hold for 5-30 seconds.
- To come back to the starting position, place your hands behind your hips. Now gently bend the knees and place your feet back on the mat.
3) Matsyasana or fish pose
The benefits of this pose include weight loss and relaxation. When you reduce stress, it also has a positive effect on the body’s chemical balance. Here's how to do this pose:
- Lie down on your back on a mat. Place your hands (palms down) under your hips for support.
- Now, lift your head and shoulders off the mat, tilt your head back as much as possible and very gently place the top of your head on the mat. Hold this position for a few seconds.
- Remember to breathe throughout the exercise and keep your face gentle - straining your facial muscles is not advised in any yoga asanas, of course.
- To return to the starting position, first lift the head off the mat (this is extremely important).
- Now, bring the head and shoulder back to the mat gently.
- Repeat two to three times before you take your hands out from underneath your hips.
4) Suptabadhakonasana or reclined bound angle
According to an article published in the International Journal of Innovative Research and Development, even a 7% weight reduction can have immense benefits for reducing the symptoms of PCOS. The article recommends poses like the butterfly pose and reclined bound angle for people living with PCOS. The reason: both poses open up the hips. Here's how to do reclined bound angle pose:
- Lie down on your back on a mat. If you like, place a soft blanket below your head and upper back to get a little bit of elevation.
- Now, bend your knees and place your feet on the mat. Make sure your feet are touching. Place your arms comfortably - at about a 30-degree angle from your sides.
- Now, drop your right knee to the right side and the left knee to the left.
- If you can't open up your knees to bring them close to the mat, slide your feet slightly forward till you can.
- Hold this pose for a few seconds.
End your yoga practice with savasana for deep relaxation - lie down for five minutes and try to relax every single muscle in your body, from the toes up to the forehead, from the tips of your fingers to your shoulders and back. Breathe.
Yoga practitioners believe that exercise is one way to get a healthy body. Another important aspect of health is healthy eating. For people living with PCOS, doctors recommend anti-inflammatory foods and foods that have a low glycaemic index (which don’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels). To cite just one example, it is a good idea to sip turmeric tea a couple of times during the day. To make this tea, simply brew a three-centimetre piece of raw turmeric in a cup of boiling water. If raw turmeric isn’t available, replace it with two generous pinches of turmeric powder.
For more information, read our article on Anulom Vilom Pranayam.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
Updated Date: Feb 06, 2020 17:16:57 IST
International Condom Day 2020: Everything you need to know about condoms
The complete arms workout for beginners part 1: 5 triceps exercises to reduce arm fat
The celery juice cleanse is creating quite a buzz, but does it actually work?
Short, shorter, shortest skincare routines to try for when you're in a hurry
Ab workout part 3: 10 exercises to build obliques and core muscles
Things to keep in mind while doing walking lunges for weight loss, stability
Best sex positions for men and women who suffer from back pain
Yoga to reduce belly fat Part 1: 4 asanas that will stretch and contract your core muscles
7 health tips for the first time you have sex
Ayurveda for weight loss: 3 tips to help you lose weight naturally
Yoga not a religion, a science; time we all now get back to Yoga: VP Venkaiah Naidu
Ill-fitted shoes lead to injuries, back pain and more: Here's how you can avoid it