Yoga for PMS (and Irritable Bowel Syndrome too)

We recently made 20-minute video of Nurturing Yoga for our YogAttitude Superheroes. (If you didn't get it, never fear, sign up and I will send it out again tomorrow, Thursday 1 Oct).

It's kinda funny that the poses people asked to have in their nurturing sequence were basically these 5 Yoga Poses for PMS - which work equally well if you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome because the basic idea here is that you are soothing your lower abdomen and helping elimination to happen as it should.

You will need:

  • A yoga mat or rolled up beach towel
  • Somewhere to do your stretches (your lounge room rug or another yoga mat)

A note:

Try to relax your breathing, taking soft breaths with a relaxed jaw, neck and shoulders. This will help your relax, and also open your hips (see this study). If your tongue is pressed to the roof of your mouth, let it release.

Top two rows, clockwise from top left:

  1. Calf stretch

Purpose: To ease tension in calves, which will improve your posture, lymph movement and circulation in your lower body.

Method: Place the balls of your feet on your rolled-up yoga mat, heels on the floor. If you are already feeling a stretch in your calves, stay here for 4-6 breaths. If you would like to stretch a bit more, lean forward at your hips to bring your hands to rest on the wall, a chair, or your legs. Keep your kneecaps relaxed and knees slightly bent.


2. Reclining Release

Purpose: To lengthen and relax your front line. Most of us hunch in daily life which crowds our internal organs. Crowded organs are not happy organs! 

Method: Lie with your head, neck, and shoulders supported by your rolled up yoga mat. Relax and breathe softly for at least 10 minutes. You may find you want to adjust your spine as you relax. Some people feel strong sensations of stretch in their hips, chest and back. That’s fine unless you are in pain (then you should stop).


3. Dynamic Knees-to-Chest

Purpose: To gently mobilise your lower back and hips and bring blood flow to your abdomen and pelvic floor.

Method: Lying flat on the floor, exhale to gently hug your knees in to your chest. Keep your whole spine relaxed and head on the ground (or a pillow). Inhaling, gently push your knees away from your chest, exhaling, draw them in again. Repeat 6 times.


4. Dynamic bridge pose

Purpose: To stretch the front of your body and gently activate your glutes and low back.

Method: Lie on your back with your feet close in towards your hips and your knees bent up to the ceiling. Inhaling, curl your spine up off the ground, one vertebra at a time. Just lift your pelvis and low back, don’t go any higher, especially if you have cramps. Exhaling, release down. Repeat 6 times, then do another round of Dynamic Knees to Chest.

Bottom image:

5. Reclining Goddess Pose

Purpose: To ease tension in your hips, pelvis, and lower belly while gently bringing blood flow to the area.

Method: Lie back on the floor with the soles of your feet touching, knees bent out to the sides. You might want to pop a cushion under your head, back, knees, or all! Cover yourself with a blanket if you’d like, and breathe gently. You can make the sound ‘ahhhhh’ as you exhale to help you further relax your jaw and neck. Stay here as long as you want.