“PCOS is growing like an epidemic due to faults in the lifestyle, especially, in young girls. It can be completely kept under control without any complications through yoga, right diet & healthy lifestyle. If not, it can give rise to a plethora of problems like irregular periods, difficulty in conceiving, miscarriage, diabetes, high cholesterol and even uterine cancer”, says Dr.Sudeshna Ray, Gynecologist attached to Jaslok, Saifee and Breach Candy Hospitals.
During a discussion on PCOS, one of the gynecologist revealed that just a few decades ago, when we used to have an annual presentation, only one paragraph used to be allotted to PCOS. Today, there are presentations on the singular topic of PCOS.
Welcome to reality. In the last few decades, our healthy lifestyle has gone on a roundabout, ‘gifting’ us with many concerns; PCOS being just one of them. Estimates suggest that Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) affects 5%-10% of females of reproductive age.
The signs and symptoms
- Hair fall
- Irregular menstruation
- Facial hair
- Weight gain
- Sugar imbalance etc.
Push the life not only out of normalcy but also leads to other risk factors (including heart attack, diabetes, strokes, anxiety disorder, depression, uterine cancer etc.) which accelerates healthy lifestyle on such a descend that life goes out of control. The most unfortunate part is that, the victim, a lot of time, is not even aware that she is suffering from this problem.
Every problem has an inherent solution. The good news!! Research shows that a regulated and disciplined life can reverse this problem.
YOGA – A wholesome approach
Yoga with its multidimensional presence works deeply on all aspects of our life – Physical, Mental, Emotional & Spiritual. It works in wholesome and not in isolation. Yoga is believed to be the most effective tools in case of psycho somatic problems and a large component of PCOS is based on those.
Weight gain turns out to be one of the primary factors caused due to PCOS. Hormonal imbalance leads to uncontrollable weight gain. Hence, managing weight becomes the most critical concern to get a grip on the problem. Once in control, it becomes easy to handle the rest of the issues associated with it.
Asanas has multiple roles
Yoga has postures which can be arranged to be performed dynamically to increase heart rate and provide cardio vascular workout. This accelerates weight loss and also improves the health of the heart. Hatha Yoga postures, when performed in its traditional ways i.e., holding the posture for a certain period of time, thereby, applying the principle of static contraction –‘ isometric type’, helps build up strength, increase the muscle mass and help combat insulin resistance – a known disorder associated with PCOS. Also, there are asanas meant to stimulate different organs and bring hormonal balance.
Suryanamaskar – Suryanamaskar is a series of twelve postures, which stretches and flexes the complete spine, works on the arms and the legs and particularly covers each and every part of the body, organs, muscles and glands.
Given our daily hectic schedule, a 20–30 minutes Suryanamaskar practice alone can bring tremendous benefits and help keep weight in check. Key is to do it right. You can check www.shammisyogalaya.com weight loss videos for thorough guidelines.
Pelvic Floor Asanas
In Yoga Therapy, it is important to focus on the postures which help direct oxygen rich blood to the reproductive organs. Hence, all the asanas which are meant to stretch and expand lower back and hips will fall into this category.
Prasarita Padotanasana (wide legged forward bend)– stand with your feet wide apart (4-5ft), bend forward to place your palms in between your legs, inhale raise your head up to get a concave back, bend your elbows, exhale and place your crown in between your palms and maintain the posture with normal breathing for a while. This stimulates your liver, kidneys, calves, hips, groin, knees, spine etc. It calms the brain and releases muscular stiffness in the body. Click here for detailed description.
Upavista Konasana – You sit with your legs stretched in front and spread apart as far as possible. Start bending forward as per your comfort with an exhalation. It stretches and strengthens your hips, lower spine, and muscles from the upper chest to the pelvis. Pelvic floor gets rich blood supply. Helps in case of sciatica, regularizes menstrual flow, stimulates ovaries, and stretches hamstrings. This is recommended during pregnancy as well.
Baddhakonasana – Sit with your feet in Namaste position for 1-2 minutes. Slowly relax onto your back and get into a comfortable position with the few stacks of pillow under your back. This posture helps direct blood flow to the reproductive organs thereby stimulating abdominal organs, ovaries, bladder and kidneys. It helps with sciatica, menstrual irregularity, blood pressure, asthma, infertility, depression & fatigue. Recommended for pregnant woman as well (be careful in forward bending if pregnant).
Apart from the above, asanas like Utthita Trikonasana, Utthita Parsavakonasana, Paschimottanasana, Adhomukha Svasana will also be of benefit. Click here for videos and asana descriptions on my website.
‘Stress’ is the source of many problems including PCOS. If stress is the problem, managing that stress is the solution. Activating Parasympathetic Nervous System with restorative postures, correct breathing and pranayama will do the miracle here. Some of the postures mentioned above are restorative in nature. Pranayamas promote deep relaxation and hormonal balance bringing adrenal and cortisol levels within control.
Ujjayi Pranayama – (victory breathing) – performed at the basic level, one needs to sit upright, contract the back of the throat slightly and inhale and exhale using the throat. It expands your lungs fully and puffs your chest so that you utilize your lung capacity to the optimum. You will hear ‘sa’ sound during inhalation and exhalation. It generates vital energy, tones & soothes nervous system, works on respiratory issues and balances high BP.
Nadi Shodhan Kriya – popularly known as Anulom Vilom – a process of alternate nostril breathing. You block your right nostril with right thumb, inhale from the left nostril, block left nostril with right ring & little finger, release right nostril & exhale, inhale from the right nostril, block right nostril again with right thumb, release left nostril and exhale from left nostril. This is one cycle. Few cycles where you are breathing mindfully will calm your brain cells, increase oxygen level in the body, relieve fatigue, strain, weakness, low blood pressure etc.
Mudra – Gyan Mudra = 15 minutes, Pran Mudra = 15 minutes, Yoni Mudra = 30 minutes followed by 5-10 minutes of Pran Mudra. Follow the whole series whenever convenient during the day.
Avoid – According to some schools of thought, it is best to avoid inversion postures.
Lifestyle management is the key to PCOS management. Hence, look at each aspect of your life, manage it positively and you will be relieved of this problem.
Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.