According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 6 to 12 percent of women are affected by PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) during their childbearing years. One in five women in India suffers from PCOS.
Women who have PCOS are at a higher risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health problems. Gynaecologists recommend weight loss to manage the symptoms. Yoga for PCOS is a natural and healthier way of shedding that extra fat.
But can yoga help manage PCOS symptoms? Yes it can. Research proves that yoga can be extremely helpful in managing the pain and symptoms of the syndrome.
Let's have a look at five common yoga poses that are helpful for the PCOS patients.
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1. Cat-Cow Pose
This yoga pose focuses on various muscle groups like erector spinae, rectus abdominis, triceps, serratus anterior, and gluteus maximus.
You can follow these steps:
Go on all fours.
Your wrists go underneath your shoulders, and your knees will be placed underneath your hips.
Make sure you balance your weight evenly on all fours.
Breathe in and look up, let your stomach drop down toward the mat.
Breathe out and tuck your chin into your chest, draw your navel toward your spine, and your spine should be arched towards the ceiling.
Maintain focus while you practise this pose.
Focus on releasing tension in your body.
Hold the pose for at least 1 minute.
2. Cobra Pose
This stretches your abdomen, chest, and shoulders. It strengthens your spine and may soothe sciatica. It helps the muscle groups: hamstrings, gluteus maximus, deltoids, triceps, and serratus anterior.
Follow the steps:
Lie on your stomach and place your hands under your shoulders and your fingers facing forward.
Draw your arms to your chest and your elbows should not go out to the side.
Press into your hands and slowly lift your head, chest, and shoulders.
Lift partway, halfway, or all the way up.
Slightly bend your elbows.
Let your head drop back to deepen the pose.
Release back down to your mat and breathe out.
Bring your arms by your side and rest your head.
Slowly move your hips from side to side to release tension from your lower back.
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3. Bow Pose
This is an easy and quite effective pose that strengthens the abdominal muscles. According to the Yoga Institute, it is an effective pose for people who experience gas and digestive problems as it puts pressure on the abdomen. PCOS patients may experience digestion-related problems as well. It is one of the advanced poses, so do not push your body too hard.
Lie flat on the stomach, use a soft surface or a yoga mat.
Bend your knees slowly.
Slowly extend your arms backward and try to clasp the ankles.
Now gently raise the chest off the floor, as far as you can go.
While using the tension between the arms and legs, lift the thighs and upper body off the floor.
Hold the pose for a few seconds, then release.
4. Boat Pose
The position of your neck during Boat Pose has a positive effect on the thyroid glands in the human body as well. It helps:
Tone the muscles of the abdomen
Strengthen the lower back
Opens the chest and engages the core muscles
Strengthens the hip flexors and adductor muscles
Stretches the hamstrings
Alleviates tightness in the hamstrings
To practice this pose, you will have to sit on the floor and extend your legs in front of you. Place your hands on the floor beside you, and let your upper body lean back slightly. Make sure your spine is straight and your chin is tucked in toward your chest.
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Slowly try to balance on your two sitting bones and tailbone. Bend your knees before you lift your legs in the air and straighten your legs.
Lift your arms parallel to the floor and hold the backs of your thighs or let your hands rest on the floor. Engage your core and keep your breathing deep and relaxed. Hold the pose for a minute and then slowly release the pose.
5. Bonus Breathing Technique or Kapalbhati
According to PubMed, this yoga pose is a simple rapid breathing exercise that helps manage a few symptoms related to PCOS such as weight management, blood sugar levels, and stress levels.
In this technique, you inhale normally but exhale with force engaging the abdominal muscles. It must be performed on an empty stomach. This breathing exercise is not recommended during pregnancy.
Sit in a chair or cross-legged on your yoga mat.
Close your eyes and try relaxing the entire body.
Inhale deeply through the nose such that your chest expands.
Exhale with forceful abdominal muscle contractions to relax.
Repeat 10 times up to 5 minutes.