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PCOS is a condition in which a woman’s hormones are not stabilized. In normal women, the ovaries produce hormones in quantities that are adequate for their health and well-being. However, the ovaries of women with PCOS produce hormones in more than desired quantities, and this imbalance is harmful. Yoga is an effective way of dealing with PCOS. Let’s find out how yoga can help patients of PCOS.
One of the keys to curing PCOS is regulating metabolism (everything your body does to convert food into energy.) Insulin plays a major role in metabolism. In PCOS, your body becomes insulin resistant, which in turn plays havoc with the hormonal system. High insulin levels increase the production of male hormones, called androgens. And high androgen levels lead to symptoms such as excess body hair, acne, irregular periods and weight gain. Because the weight gain is triggered by male hormones, it is typically in the abdomen. This is unlike the typical weight gain in women, where the extra weight shows up around the hips. Yoga can be effective in correcting hormonal imbalances.
Also, stress and sitting for long hours are two main factors behind PCOS. In fact, sitting for long leads to muscle tissue loss, which is a major reason for insulin upheavals. This leads to weight gain and further complications pile up. This is another reason why yoga works for PCOS because it can help in dealing with both the physical and emotional aspects of PCOS.
“Our bodies and emotions are interlinked. With yoga, you slowly get the ability to be indifferent,” says Rajvi Mehta, a Yoga expert. Rajvi is an Iyengar yoga teacher with a doctorate in reproductive physiology. Yoga asanas, though physical in nature, work hugely on the mind. And they help restore the balance in body and mind. Asanas improve blood circulation, and more importantly, restore hormonal balance.
When the body is under stress, the lower abdomen area of the body hardens as does the chest and pelvis. Yoga helps in relaxing these areas. However, it is very important to study each patient’s body and structure throughout a yoga session. When it comes to PCOS yoga, there’s no one-size-fit approach for all. How each asana/pranayama works against PCOS is of primary concern, rather than recommending a general set of asanas for the condition.
Generally, in PCOS, the lower abdomen is dull and heavy. Also, the pubic bone needs to be raised to adjust the reproductive organs. The right alignment, precision, and adjustments are needed to provide relief from pain. Unless done under expert supervision, these adjustments may cause more damage than relief. Specific asanas are recommended for an individual after assessing and observing the structure of their body.
When done correctly, specific yoga asanas for PCOS can improve hormonal activity. They can activate either adrenal and pituitary glands, which can help if periods are absent. Restorative asanas can help in revitalizing the body if the periods are too heavy. There are also asanas for regulating insulin production and for proper blood circulation and weight management.
In short, yoga is a proven way to deal with PCOS. All you need is the patience and diligence to practice the recommended asanas regularly.
With additional inputs from Meera Mehta from the Iyengar School of Yoga