A transformative and holistic practice, yoga is a lifestyle that can change your health and well-being. Whether you're joining an online yoga class or in-person, the benefits are tremendous and multi-fold. According to a study, yoga and exercise is beneficial in minimizing the risk of PCOS. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome affects 6-12% of women in their childbearing years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A common Endocrine disorder amongst women, this condition causes the ovaries to produce an excess of male hormones, leading to irregular periods, weight gain, problems with fertility and ovulation. Studies have shown while yoga cannot cure PCOS, yoga for PCOS is an effective way to manage the condition.
What do studies say about yoga for PCOS?
A study found that yoga asanas practiced for six weeks (90 minutes per session) is effective in improving the clinical signs (hirsutism) as well as anthropometric parameters (abdomen and hip circumference) in infertile women. Based on the results, it was suggested that health care personnel, midwives, and gynecologists recommend yoga for PCOS treatment and management, along with others. It was also suggested that the use of different methods of yoga exercises is also recommended in order to control the symptoms of PCOS.
Free testosterone, a hormone in women, when elevated, leads to irregularities in the monthly cycle and various other symptoms of PCOS. A study found that yoga helps decrease testosterone levels and alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety, which is often the cause of PCOS. For one hour a day, thrice a week (for three months) participants did a yoga class which resulted in reduced testosterone levels by 29%.
It was also found that mindful yoga helps balance other hormone levels, and androgens such as DHEA also reduced. Anxiety and depression levels improved by 55% and 21% respectively, according to a study in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. The Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medical Research concluded that yoga may help balance hormones, reduce body weight and release stress and it may improve the physical function of the body, all factors that help manage PCOS effectively.
What yoga poses help with PCOS?
No matter what your symptoms and causes are, yoga for PCOS prevention and management includes yoga postures that are gentle, yet effective in improving blood circulation, organ health, release of toxins and strengthening of the muscles. Yoga postures for PCOS are those that focus on the pelvic region and abdomen are particularly helpful. When practicing yoga for women’s health, the key is to be aware and present, focus on the breath and listen to your body. Yoga poses for PCOS include the Garland Pose, Cobbler’s Pose, Cobra Pose, Bow Pose, Wind Relieving Pose, and Shoulder Stand Pose, among others. Corpse Pose, a wonderful relaxing posture will help you cool down after the end of a yoga session or even after a long day at work. Practicing a few rounds of Sun Salutations or Surya Namaskars is one of the best yoga for weight loss sequences.
The best way to go about this, is to join a yoga class with an experienced teacher. There are many online yoga classes, like Shvasa, that have special programs in PCOS management too. The best part is, you will be learning and practicing with certified yoga teachers.
How does Pranayama help with PCOS?
Breathwork, known as Pranayama and cleansing techniques (Shat Kriyas) are also helpful in managing PCOS. Practices like Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana) for PCOS relieves stress and anxiety, while balancing the mind and body. It helps release blockages as well as improve respiratory and cardiovascular health. When practiced regularly, Nadi Shodhana can improve sleep quality and hormone health.
Frontal Lobe Cleansing or Kapal Bhati is an impactful cleansing technique for PCOS. Kapal Bhati helps manage many symptoms such as weight gain, stress, sleeping difficulties and blockages in the body. It releases toxins, infuses the body with energy and improves focus and concentration.
Meditation and Yoga Nidra for PCOS
One of the most important yoga practices to manage PCOS is meditation and Yoga Nidra. PCOS is a lifestyle disorder often caused due to stress and an irregular routine. 20-minutes of meditation or Yoga Nidra relaxation can help you let go of stress, taking your mind away from endless to-do lists and demanding jobs. It will release stress stored deep in your subconscious mind. Very often, having PCOS and noticing its symptoms (weight gain, acne, etc.) itself is stressful. A practice like Yoga Nidra will also help you keep such stress at bay to avoid any further imbalances. Furthermore, meditation and Yoga Nidra will also help you navigate mood swings, and negative thoughts and emotions. Overtime, it will improve mindfulness, enabling you to make better diet and lifestyle choices.
While PCOS does not have a cure, there is sufficient evidence that shows incorporating a practice like yoga is helpful. Whether you turn to yoga for prevention of PCOS or yoga to manage PCOS, yoga is a holistic practice that helps improve your lifestyle, a big factor in PCOS. Integrating yoga postures gives your body the necessary physical movement, while Pranayama, meditation and Yoga Nidra provide a way to relax and stay stress-free. Take the time to correct your lifestyle by making healthier food choices, drinking more water, spending some time outdoors, and making time for your self-care. This will go a long way in helping you manage PCOS!
Finally, we always recommend joining a yoga class with a certified yoga teacher when trying to manage a condition or disorder. The benefit of joining the best online yoga classes will help you tremendously.