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4 Yoga Poses to Reverse PMS

No matter how healthy we are, at some point in our lives, 85 percent of women will experience at least one PMS symptom. While diet and lifestyle do play critical roles in how severely we'll be afflicted with PMS symptoms (foods high in salt, refined sugars, caffeine, and alcohol are some of the biggest culprits), hormonal changes are a normal part of a woman's life.

Throughout our fertile years, our menstrual cycle goes through changes that can include periods of intense PMS before our cycle begins. Symptoms can include irritability, depression, bloating, cramping, headaches, exhaustion, breakouts, and food cravings. And while they usually subside as soon as your period begins, those few days can be brutal and distracting. Consider several yoga postures to aid in your PMS relief, even if yoga is not a regular part of your lifestyle. These poses are simple enough for beginners.

Plow Pose

The Plow pose helps to relieve tension in the lower back and reproductive organs, while also aiding in elimination and digestion to ease bloating.

Lie down on your back with hands along the side of your body. Keeping the knees as straight as possible, bring the legs up over the head aiming to get your toes on the floor behind your head. Keep the head still and make sure the pressure and weight is not on your neck. Bring the hands to the lower back for support if needed, or leave them on the ground if more comfortable. Hold the position for 1-2 minutes, breathing slow and deep through the nose. Roll out slowly just as you came into the pose.

Seated Forward Bend Pose

Seated Forward Bend is like the Plow pose in reverse. This time, you're bringing your head and neck towards your feet. Similar benefits include relieving tension in the uterus and abdomen, helping the elimination process and general tension and stress relief.

To get into the pose, sit with legs extended out in front of you, back straight and tall. Neck is long and chin is angled slightly towards the chest. Make sure the sitting bones are on the ground by moving the flesh of the buttocks away as needed. Keep knees straight and point toes up towards you so the legs are engaged. Raise arms up over your head alongside your ears, take a big breath in, and as you exhale, hinge at the waist, folding your torso over your thighs. The goal of the pose is a flat back, as close to the legs as possible. Inhale and straighten the back, exhale and inch further forward. Repeat several times and then hold in the pose for 2-3 minutes, breathing deep in through the nose.

Reclining Bound Angle Pose

Reclining Bound Angle pose can help to relieve the early onset of cramps, irritability, depression, cravings, and headaches.

You can use a strap and blocks to assist in a most relaxed pose.

Come to a seated position with legs stretched out in front of you. To use the strap, pull it around the back of your waist as if you were going to fasten a belt, but bring it lower down to the sacrum. Draw the feet up towards your body so that knees bend out and you create a diamond shape between your legs. Soles of the feet should be touching. Wrap the strap over thighs and shins and bring it under the feet and fasten the strap loops. Legs should feel contained and secure, not too tight. Lay a block flat just underneath your lower back and recline. Adjust block height as needed. Additional blocks can be placed under the outer edge of each thigh if more support is needed as well. Relax and breathe deeply in and out through the nose. Hold the position 3-5 minutes. Come out slowly.

Legs Up the Wall Pose

Aiding in the menstrual flow cycle, and relieving bloating and cramps are some of the benefits of Legs Up the Wall pose. It's a very relaxing pose which can also reduce stress, irritability, and mood swings.

Come to lay down with your feet facing the wall and start to bring your legs straight up while using your arms to pull you closer towards the wall. Get the buttocks as close to the wall as possible. Keep legs straight and make sure your back is comfortable. Use a bolster or blanket if needed just behind the sacrum. An eye pillow can aid in relaxation. Breathe deeply. Hold pose 3-5 minutes.

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