The Flock
March 20, 2013

Yoga for PMS

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Girlfriends!

We’ve been getting lots of questions about yoga for PMS. Let’s face it: being on your cycle is no joke. From mood swings to body aches, it’s not uncommon to feel, well, crazy. And, as an athlete and runner, this time of the month can pose added challenges to your training and performing your best.

Here’s the good news: PMS doesn’t have to feel like post-traumatic stress.

There is a path of less resistance.

Light exercise can indeed ease knarly symptoms, but pushing yourself too hard can amplify any fatigue and agitation you’re already experiencing. So, if you just can’t run less, make sure you rest more, especially during the first two to three days of your cycle. Consider approaching this time as an invitation to hit reset. Slow down, reflect, and give yourself permission to take care of yourself — in return your reactivity will decrease and you, your relationships, and ultimately your running will benefit.

In general:

  • Prioritize getting more rest and sleep.
  • Slow down significantly. Even if you don’t slow your running, you can still slow things down in your brain, which will decrease PMS stress.
  • Avoid core work or any activities that will create additional tension in your belly.
  • Notice any other workouts or activities that frazzle you and if possible cut them out of your schedule for a few days.

In addition, yoga can help you manage the often-confusing hormonal fluctuations that accompany this time of the month. Use these poses to help you find ease — even if you’re feeling crazy! Support yourself with as many pillows as you need and focus on relaxing your belly, which will help reduce cramping.

Reclined Butterfly

  1. Sit on the floor against the short edge of a pillow.
  2. Bring the soles of your feet together and let your thighs drop toward the floor.
  3. Lie back on the pillow so that your butt is on the floor and your torso is slightly elevated.
  4. Rest your hands on your belly and breath deeply — feel your breath underneath your hands as you encourage the area to soften.
  5. Hold for 10 deep breaths.

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Seated Wide Leg Forward Fold

  1. Sit on the floor and stretch your legs as wide apart as you comfortably can.
  2. Place your pillow between your legs and fold forward so that your torso can rest on it — don’t be afraid to stack up a few pillows so that your muscles don’t have to work to hold you up. If your spine feels like it’s really rounding forward, add another pillow under your butt.
  3. Rest your head and your arms in any way that’s comfy.
  4. Flex your feet and press your legs down into the floor while you soften your belly and relax your upper body into your pillow.
  5. Hold for 10 deep breaths.

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Legs up the Wall

  1. Push the long end of your pillow against the wall, sit on it, and put your legs up the wall.
  2. Get as close to the wall as you comfortably can while comfortably resting on the pillow.
  3. Keep your knees bent a little and turn your feet away from each other slightly.
  4. If your legs feel like they’re “engaging” back away from the wall until your legs feel more relaxed.
  5. Rest your hands on your belly and breath deeply — feel your breath underneath your hands as you encourage the area to soften.
  6. Stay for 5 minutes or as long as you like.

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Relax, enjoy, and make a conscious decision to take charge of your own experience, rather than letting your hormones rule you. Even during our cycle, being a woman is effing awesome.

Jasyoga has three new class series coming in April — all optimized for you as a runner. Visit www.jasyoga.com/schedule for deets!

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