Yoga and Women's Reproductive Health

Yoga practice can help women prepare your mind and body for a lot of situations, particularly some that only women have to undergo. As far as women's reproductive health are with regard to menstruation, menopause and pregnancy.

Yoga is the perfect way to keep a woman's body active and supple throughout.

Certain poses (asanas) help in curing the menstrual disorders and restoring their regular pattern.

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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), which is characterized by uncomfortable mental and physical symptoms, usually occurs 2 weeks before the onset of menstruation. There are some Yogasanas, which, if you do regularly help tackle the PMS problems. These are:

  • Ushtrasana (Camel pose)
  • Viparita Karani (Inverted leg stretch pose)
  • Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand)
  • Matsyasana (Fish pose)
  • Halasana (Plough pose)
  • Uttanasana (Hands to feet pose)
  • Supta Vajrasana (Supine Warrior pose)
  • Trikonasana (Triangle pose)

Yoga also very much helps your mind and body adapt with stress, anxiety and depression making you feel relaxed and calm, and enabling you to cope with psychological symptoms of PMS.

As far as Yoga for menopause goes, it helps balance the endocrine system that controls the body's generation of hormones thereby calming the nervous system. In the process it helps reduce stress and aggravation of hot flashes. Yoga also consists of weight-bearing exercises that strengthen the bones and prevent osteoporosis.

They help massage the reproductive organs, relieve pelvic congestion and headaches, boost the immune system, reduce fatigue, and even out mood swings. In addition to the above, the following asanas are known to help in menopause:

  • Salabhasana (Locust pose)
  • Dhanurasana (Bow pose)
  • Sethu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)
  • Balasana (Child Pose)
  • Pavanamuktasana (Wind relieving pose)
  • Vrikshasana (Balancing tree pose)

Pregnancy is something most, if not all women look forward to. It is the period from conception to birth from the time when a male's sperm cell fertilizes the female's ovum (egg) to the time of delivery or a total of 40 weeks or 280 days. Pregnancy carries with it a lot of risks, though they are always worth taking. The complications could be either on the mother or on the baby.

By and large, these poses are considered safe and helpful during pregnancy:

  • Butterfly stretch
  • Cat-Cow pose
  • Cobra (in the first trimester, and only if you feel comfortable in this face-down pose)
  • Seated forward bend
  • Side angle pose
  • Standing forward bend (with a chair for adaptation)
  • Triangle pose (with a chair for adaptation)

These asanas must be avoided during pregnancy:

  • Backward bends
  • Balancing poses on one leg (unless supported by a chair or wall)
  • Camel pose
  • Handstand
  • Upward bow pose
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