Do you ever catch yourself feeling drained, emotional, or irritated only to realize it’s that time of the month? A reliable cycle is important because it allows us to answer why – and sometimes even predict when – we may be experiencing certain feelings. Bobby Clennell, author of The Women’s Yoga Book, notes,
“Healthy menstruation is an indication of a healthy state of mind and a healthy body.”
There is a peace of mind in being able to anticipate when and why you may be feeling off your game. If stress or excess body fat is contributing to fluctuations in your monthly rhythm, yoga can help get you back on track.
First and foremost, it is absolutely normal for a women’s cycle to fluctuate. In fact, most women don’t have the 28 day cycle we all were taught about in junior high health class. What is important is to be able to identify when your normal changes.
How can you tell if your cycle is irregular? The first step is to know your normal. If you haven’t already, try tracking your cycle using a calendar. Mark the first day of your period and the last day. You may also want to note your emotional states, flow, and other details. Take the average from the past 8 months to get an accurate and clear idea of your cycle.
Two common causes of fluctuating hormone levels are stress and excess body fat. The good news is yoga can help with both!
Stress is a culprit of many health problems. Yoga can help manage stress levels through exercise, meditation, and spiritual balance.
When we feel stressed, our bodies respond by producing cortisol. This hormone causes sugar and carbs to turn into fat instead of being used as fuel. Excess body fat is one of many factors which can increase estrogen production. As a result of too much estrogen, some women experience fatigue, decreased libido, and headaches.
Regular active yoga sessions will not only help you slim down, it can also restore energy levels and relieve headaches. Certified Hatha Yoga Teacher and Kinesiologist, Kreg Weiss explains,
“The majority of headaches originate from muscle stiffness and imbalances emanating from the neck and upper back. When headaches set in, using a series of restorative yoga exercises can greatly relieve both the cause and symptoms.”
Before your period begins, incorporate supported standing yoga poses into your session can bring relief to the pelvic area. Supported standing poses can include the triangle pose or the half-moon.
During your cycle, the body can feel drained of energy. To relax the abdomen and restore energy try the Supta Baddha Konasana pose (also known as the reclining bound-ankle pose). Read step-by-step instructions for this pose at Yogajournal.com.
Throughout the month, practice seated posture poses. These positions will tone reproductive organs and relieve abdominal tension. Inversions, such as standing forward bend and supported head or shoulder stands, can also stabilize hormone output and regulate flow.
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