Does Yoga for PCOS Work? Here’s All You Need To Know
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Yoga is a discipline that originated in ancient India that focuses on bringing harmony between the mind and body. It is both an art and a science to healthy living. Yoga has been long preserved and promoted due to its manifold benefits for physical and mental wellness. In this article, we talk about PCOS and how yoga can be a game-changer for individuals suffering from PCOS.
What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) ?
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects women and causes enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges. In many cases, it can last for years. The ovaries are the female reproductive organs that release an egg for fertilisation every month and are involved in the menstrual cycle. The ovaries of PCOS are unable to produce mature eggs regularly.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of PCOS ?
PCOSinvolves many signs and symptoms that occur together, and those affected might have some or all of them present. A diagnosis of PCOS can be made by a doctor when at least 2 of these symptoms are present:
- Irregular periods or periods that last for more than 7 days.
- High levels of androgens lead to severe acne, male pattern baldness, and excessive hair growth on the face or back.
- Appearance of enlarged ovaries on an ultrasound, which contain many fluid-filled sacs or follicles.
What Are The Causes Of PCOS ?
PCOS is a syndrome, which means it differs from the word disease in that it is not paired with a specific cause. Most clinicians point to the following factors:
- Insulin resistance: Insulin is a hormone that helps cells uptake and use sugar. In PCOS, cells often become resistant to insulin action, which leads to high blood glucose. Dark velvety skin patches under the arms, breasts, and neck are also signs of this. Obesity is therefore a predisposing factor.
- excess production of androgens by the adrenal glands or the ovaries. High levels of cortisol caused by stress and high levels of insulin in the blood are involved in this.
- Having a family history of PCOS predisposes you to PCOS.
- Excess oxidative stress leads to chronic low-grade inflammation.
What Is Yoga For PCOS?
Yoga is a holistic approach towards health and wellness. It has been used in the Indian subcontinent for many years to fight against many diseases and their symptoms.
Practicing yoga can help balance and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression in women with PCOS. According to a recent study, participants who did a one-hour yoga class three times a week for three months reduced testosterone levels by 29 %.
Yoga Asanas for PCOS
Some asanas suggested for PCOS patients are
- Malasana (garlands pose)
- Baddha konasana (butterfly pose)
- Viparita Karani (Inverted Pose)
- Sarvangasana (shoulder stand)
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
- Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation sequence)
Is Yoga Beneficial for PCOS?
Yoga can help relieve PCOS symptoms by
- Reducing androgen levels
- Reducing the waist to hip ratio
- Relaxing the body and mind to reduce cortisol
- Improving sleep quality
- Regulating the menstrual cycle.
Who Should Avoid Yoga For PCOS?
Women suffering from PCOS-related major health issues like high blood pressure, heart problems, extreme weakness or pain in their joints should consult a physician before starting yoga practice.
How To Cure PCOS Naturally Through Kayakalpa Yoga For PCOS?
In Sanskrit, Kaya means body and Kalpa means to transform. Kayakalpa yoga was developed by Sri Vethathiri Maharishi to help in toning nerves and strengthening the central nervous system as a whole. Our body is filled with vital life force and the centre of its vortex is at the root chakra (mooladhara), situated near our groin, and kayakalpa focuses on strengthening our root for improved functioning of our reproductive system.
Which Yoga Is Best For PCOS?
- Yoga poses that focus on healing the muladhara, or root chakra, are very beneficial for PCOS.
- Asanas that regulate the functioning of hormone-producing glands like the pancreas and thyroid are essential.
- Pranayama (breathing exercises) helps by calming the mind.
- Poses that bring a lot of relaxation to the body are very helpful.
Does Yoga Help With Weight Loss For PCOS?
PCOS-related cortisol excess increases abdominal fat, decreases muscle mass, causes cravings for fat and sugar-rich foods, and thus can lead to obesity. Yoga can assist with weight loss by burning calories, reducing stress and allowing you to feel more connected with your body, leading to enhanced awareness of hunger and amount of food intake, while reducing joint pain that allows you to undertake other forms of exercise.
Can PCOS Be Cured By Yoga?
Many studies have shown that yoga can be beneficial in minimising the risk of PCOS in adolescent girls, in relieving stress-related imbalances and in managing other PCOS symptoms. At the same time, support from other interventions like medicine and diet is also necessary for optimum results.
Can Kapalbhati Cure PCOS Completely?
Kapalbhati is a rapid breathing technique in which inhalation is normal (automatic) but exhalation is done by contracting abdominal muscles, which leads to higher oxygen consumption and heart rate. According to some studies, it combats multiple features of metabolic syndrome that are similar to PCOS, like impaired glucose tolerance, hypertension, and central obesity, and therefore it can help cure PCOS to a great extent. An intervention that cures PCOS completely hasn’t been found yet.
The Bottom Line
Yoga is an ancient practise that is much more than just physical exercise; it strengthens our glands, organs, and mind. A study by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences reveals that one in every ten Indian women suffers from PCOS and yoga can be an effective approach to help bring relief from symptoms as it is available for everyone and has no side effects.
Living with a chronic disorder like PCOS can be very frustrating, both physically and mentally. Finding a good yoga teacher and incorporating yoga practise into your daily routine can prove to be life-changing for all PCOS-affected women.
I am a Pune based artist, Kathak dancer, Dance Movement Therapist, and an avid Yoga practitioner/ teacher. I am also the Director at the Sakal Media Group, a Trustee of Pune Blind School and Nirdhar Trust.
Being a part of Sakal Media Group, with its strong foundation of service and ethical journalism, I am deeply committed in making this world a better place by pushing boundaries, giving opportunities to others, following my convictions, helping others make better choices and to tell powerful stories that will help reshape the world we live in.