To fix Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) at its root, you need to address the underlying hormonal imbalance issues. Yoga asanas for PCOS work if complemented with changes to diet and lifestyle. Yoga helps in strengthening the organs and body systems affected by PCOS and also reduces the stress that can aggravate the condition.
Research has proved the effectiveness of yoga asanas for PCOS. A holistic 12-week yoga program for 90 adolescent girls with PCOS was found to significantly reduce hormonal imbalance (AMH, LH and testosterone). It also reduced hirsutism (hair growth on face, back, chest, arms, and legs) and improved menstrual frequency. Another study found that yoga was significantly better than regular exercise in reducing anxiety symptoms in adolescent girls with PCOS.
Let’s look at some effective yoga asanas for PCOS.
This particular yoga asana exercises every organ of the body and not just the pelvis. Doing 10-20 sets of this yoga asana benefits any condition, including PCOS. When it comes to yoga asanas for PCOS, the specific poses within surya namaskar that work include uttansana (earth touch), ashtanga namaskara, and bhujangasana (cobra pose.)
In uttanasana, you bend your body forward till your hands touch the ground. You have to keep your head as close to your legs as possible while touching the ground. In ashtanga namaskara, your toes, knees, chest, and forehead should touch the ground. Your butts should be raised slightly. The palms of your hand should lie on the ground on either side of your chest. In bhujangasana, or the cobra pose, you lie on the ground face down. And with palms firmly planted on either side of your chest raise the upper part of your body to curve as much as possible. Your pelvis should be touching the ground and you should feel pressure on it due to the stretching. If done right, your body should resemble a cobra raising its hood.
This yoga asana is slightly difficult to perform, but is highly beneficial in exercising the pelvic region. In this yoga asana, you lay down on your abdomen. Place your hands stretched in front and join the palms. Stretch your feet outside. Now slowly raise your legs and the upper part of your body while keeping the pelvis on the ground. Do this while inhaling. Hold this position for a few seconds and get back to your earlier position by slowly exhaling.
This yoga pose is also referred to as Baddhakonasana or Gorakshasana. In a verse in a renowned treatise on yoga, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, this asana is said to be the “destroyer of all diseases.” To attain this pose, sit on the floor with legs outstretched. Slowly fold both the legs and bring the soles together and join them. Make the heels touch the pelvis, while keeping the spine straight. You can maintain this pose for as long as you feel comfortable.
This yoga asana works for PCOS as it stretches the muscles and ligaments of the pelvic floor. It also exercises the genito-urinary system. This asana also stimulates blood flow to the pelvis, the back and the abdomen. When done along with Sarvangasana and Shalabhasana (coming up next,) it helps in PCOS by restoring the functioning of the ovaries to normal.
While this yoga asana benefits the entire body, it is particularly beneficial for the ovaries. It also acts on the endocrine glands (like pineal, pituitary, thyroid and parathyroid glands) and helps them in balancing hormones. All of these benefits make sarvangasana a very good yoga asana for PCOS.
To attain this pose, you have to lie on your back. Slowly, raise your legs and bring them at a right angle with your upper body. Now with the help of your hands, raise your buttocks until only the shoulder is touching the ground and your lower body is raised. When the pose is complete, your hands should support your raised body at the middle of your back.
This can be considered an inverted Naukasana. Where in Naukasana you lie down on your back, in Shalabhasana, you lie down on your stomach and raise your thighs and your upper body. Only your pelvis and abdomen should be touching the ground. Your hands lie close to your sides. Along with strengthening the muscles of the back, the neck and shoulders, this yoga pose also helps in burning belly fat. This makes to the list of yoga asanas for PCOS as it exercises the organs in the pelvis by stretching them.
This gracious pose twists the abdomen and the organs of the pelvis, thereby stimulating them. This yoga asana is the most beneficial for women and more so for women with PCOS. It is also a great stressbuster and also improves digestion. This asana helps in strengthening the lower back.
For this pose, you have to sit on the floor with your legs stretched. Gently shift onto your right buttock, bend your knees, and bring your legs to the left. With your left leg lying outside the left hip, gently lift your right leg and rest the inverted foot on the left thigh. Then gently twist your torso such that your left hand touches the right knee (inverted palm) while your right hand goes behind your back to hold the toes of your left foot. Point your face towards the right.
When it comes to yoga asanas for PCOS, this is one of the best poses. It stretches your pelvic region and also aids in correcting hormonal imbalances. It eases menstrual discomfort, controls blood pressure and is a great stress buster. Padmasana is the preferred pose for yogic meditation and provides both physical and mental benefits. For this pose, you need to sit on the floor with a straight spine. Bend your right knee and place your foot on the left thigh. Bend your left knee and place the foot on the right thigh. The soles of your feet should point upwards and should be as close to the abdomen as possible. Place your hands on your knees with palms facing upwards. Breathe gently and deeply while maintaining this pose.
This is a movement and not a pose. Women in India should be aware of this exercise as they must have either seen or heard of their grandmothers grind flour in the household mill. For this exercise, sit on the floor with a straight spine. Spread your legs at an angle of approximately 45 degrees. Raise your arms at shoulder level and bring them together. Clasp your palms together and make imaginary circles parallel to the ground by moving your clasped palms and your upper body. Bend your abdomen while doing this. Inhale while going forward and exhale while going backwards. This exercise massages your reproductive organs and stimulates your endocrine system. It also exercises other organs in the abdomen including the pancreas, liver and the kidneys.