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Yoga For PCOS - Benefits and Specific Poses That Can Cure PCOS

Updated: Sep 25, 2021

Yoga as a way to manage PCOS symptoms? Yes, please!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 6 to 12 percent of women during their childbearing years.

Yoga For PCOS - Benefits and Specific Poses That Can Cure PCOS

This common female endocrine disorder causes your ovaries to produce an excess of male hormones, causing irregular periods, weight gain, and fertility and ovulation issues.

However, new research suggests that practicing yoga on a regular basis can help manage PCOS symptoms.

Note: All the asanas and pranayama should be performed under the guidance of your certified yoga teacher.

How yoga benefits symptoms of PCOS

Although yoga cannot cure PCOS, it can alleviate some of its symptoms.

Yoga may decrease testosterone levels

According to a recent study, practicing yoga may help women with PCOS reduce testosterone levels and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Participants who attended a one-hour yoga class three times a week for three months reduced testosterone levels by 29%.

In the study, 31 women with PCOS between the ages of 23 and 42 were randomly assigned to either a mindful yoga group or a control group. Classes were held three times a week for one hour each for three months. Endocrine, cardiometabolic, and psychological measurements were taken at the start of the study and again three months later.

Researchers discovered that women who completed the yoga intervention (13 in total) had lower free testosterone levels (5.96 vs. 4.24 pg/mL; P0.05) after the testing period. Free testosterone is a normal hormone that can be elevated above normal female levels in PCOS women.

Anxiety and depression symptoms improved for study participants as well.

Note: All the asanas and pranayama should be performed under the guidance of your certified yoga teacher.

Yoga is accessible for many fitness levels

Although any moderate aerobic exercise can result in positive changes in PCOS symptoms and anxiety levels, yoga is accessible to people of all fitness levels and ages. Other forms of exercise, such as swimming, cycling, walking, or running, are not always as beneficial. Yoga also includes a mindfulness component that promotes relaxation and mood balance.

According to Monisha Bhanote, MD, FASCP, FCAP, a triple board-certified physician and Yoga Medicine instructor, adding an integrative approach to women with PCOS can be beneficial because people with PCOS have a higher prevalence of depression and anxiety.

1. Garland Pose (Malasana)

Malasana helps to open the hips and strengthen the pelvic floor and abdominal core. According to Bhanote, this can help people with PCOS by increasing circulation and blood flow to the pelvic region, improving metabolism, and aiding digestion.

Garland Pose (Malasana) for PCOS

You can support your glutes with a block or two until your body becomes accustomed to this position.

  • Begin with your feet about a mat's width apart.

  • Squat by bending your knees and lowering your buttocks toward the floor.

  • Place your hands in a prayer position (anjali mudra). Allow your thumbs to touch your sternum to assist in keeping your chest lifted.

  • Keep your upper arms/triceps engaged and your spine straight by pressing your upper arms/triceps inside your knees (elbows press into knees to open the hips).

  • Extend the low back and draw the shoulder blades together.

  • Hold this position for up to 5 breaths.

  • Straighten your legs to get out of it.

  • Repeat the pose three times in total.

Precautions For Garland Pose (Malasana)

  • It is critical to perform this asana on an empty stomach.

  • Do not place all of your weight on your toes or heels.

  • Slowly and gradually ascend into Malasana.

  • In a single session, do not overuse this asana.

  • If you have persistent lower back or knee problems, you should avoid Garland Pose.

2. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)

Bridge Pose can help to calm the brain, reduce stress and anxiety, and relax the back muscles.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana) to cure PCOD or pCOS

  • Begin by lying on your back on the floor, knees folded and feet hip-distance apart.

  • Place your hands beside your body, palms down.

  • Inhale as you slowly raise your lower back, mid-back, and upper back off the floor (while the pelvis lifts up, lengthen from pelvis to sternum).

  • Roll the shoulders gently and bring the chest toward the chin.

  • Maintain parallel thighs to each other and the floor, with all four corners of the feet firmly pressed into the ground.

  • Breathe easily and hold this pose for 1–2 minutes.

  • Rep up to 5 times more.

Precautions For Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)

  • This asana should be avoided if you have pain in your neck or knees.

  • People who have a neck, back, or shoulder ailment should avoid this asana.

  • This asana is safe for pregnant women to do, but only under the supervision of qualified instructors.

Note: All the asanas and pranayama should be performed under the guidance of your certified yoga teacher.

3. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

According to Bhanote, Dhanurasana may help relieve menstrual discomfort, stimulate reproductive organs, and regulate menstrual flow. “It increases circulation to the pelvic region, relieves tension in the abdominal organs, and stretches the muscles in the neck, shoulders, and legs,” she explains. Overall, it may reduce anxiety and stress.

  • Begin by lying on your stomach with your arms by your sides.

  • Fold your knees and reach your hands out to grab your ankles.

  • Breathe in and lift your chest off the ground, pulling your legs up with you.

  • Hold the pose for 15 seconds, remembering to breathe.

  • Bring your chest and legs back toward the ground, let go of your ankles, and relax, face down.

  • Repeat this process three times more.

If you can't reach both ankles at the same time, do one leg at a time or use a yoga strap for help.

Precautions For Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

  • If you have a neck or lower back injury, avoid this asana.

  • If you've just had abdominal surgery, you shouldn't do this asana.

  • If you have high blood pressure, ulcers, migraines, headaches, or a hernia, you should avoid this asana.

4. Cat - Cow Pose (Chakravakasana or Marjanasana)

Burnett also recommends the Cat-Cow Pose for PCOS sufferers.

Cat - Cow Pose (Chakravakasana)

  • Place your palms down, wrists and elbows under shoulders, knees under hips, and ankles straight back from the knees in tabletop position. As the flow moves you, curl the toes under or the tops of the feet down.

  • Inhale, bend the elbows, lower the belly, and simultaneously lift the chin and tail bone, moving each vertebrae of the spinal column in a wave.

  • On the exhale, reverse the movement by tucking the tailbone and chin, doming the back, and drawing the navel toward the spine as the chin tips toward the chest.

  • Repeat as many times as desired.

Precautions For Cat - Cow Pose (Chakravakasana or Marjanasana)

  • Don't Strain Your Neck.

  • Keep the Movement in the Spine.

  • This position should be pain-free at all times. If you experience any discomfort, gently exit the pose.

  • If you have a history of back pain, see your doctor before beginning this workout to ensure that the motions are safe for you.

  • Keep your head in line with your torso and don't tilt your head forward or back if you have a neck injury.

5. Head-to-Knee Pose (Janusirsana)

According to Burnett, this is a great "all-inclusive" pose.

Head-to-Knee Pose (Janusirsana) for pCSOS

  • Place your feet on a yoga mat.

  • Extend your left leg to the corner of your mat, foot flexed, heel back, toes to the sky. The right knee is bent, and the foot is tucked as close to the groine as possible.

  • Extend your arms over your legs, inhale deeply, and exhale, gently moving your upper body toward your left foot while bringing your right arm in an arc over your head. A strap is useful for adding resistance and allowing you to go deeper into this stretch of the rib cage facing the sky (the right on this side).

  • Feel the twist of the torso, the shoulder/hip opener, the gentle massage of the sacroiliac joint, and the movement of kidneys, ovaries, and each internal organ with each deep breath.

  • Do 7–12 on each side.

Precautions For Head-to-Knee Pose (Janusirsana)

  • Use the muscles of the pelvic area first, then the spine, to propel the trunk forward. It will be difficult at first for persons with rigid bodies, but with repetition, it may be learnt.

  • Extend the arms from the shoulder as you lean forward to reach for the foot.

  • If you have sciatica, a slipped disc, an injured knee, or a hernia, you should avoid practicing Janu Sirsasana.

Note: All the asanas and pranayama should be performed under the guidance of your certified yoga teacher.

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