supta baddha konasana

Yoga for PMS (and Irritable Bowel Syndrome too)

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.

More restorative yoga, yeah baby!

Does it seem like a bit of a theme round here right now? It's probably because it's been (more) on Teamm...Yoga's minds since Sophie gave us her talk about autoimmune disorders and how yoga can help. As you may recall if you hang with us on Facebook or get the newsletter, the main takeaway was: slow the heck down to stay well.

legs up the wall

One really interesting study that Sophie quoted in her talk started out saying:

Yoga has been used in the treatment of such diverse health problems as asthma, type II diabetes, fatigue in breast cancer survivors, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep, depression, and anxiety. Mechanistic explanations for yoga's mental and physical health benefits have highlighted reductions in sympathetic nervous system (SNS) tone, and increases in parasympathetic (vagal) activity, both of which could have favorable immune and endo- crine consequences by reducing stress-related responses. However, surprisingly few studies have attempted to relate endocrine or immune function to yoga practice, even though some hatha yoga pos- tures are characterized as immune enhancing or restorative.

To address yoga's impact on inflammation, one key facet of immune function, we compared novice and expert yoga practitioners' inflammatory responses [13]. Despite the fact that novices and ex- perts did not differ on key dimensions including age, abdominal adiposity, and cardiorespiratory fitness, novices' serum interleukin 6 levels were 41% higher than those of experts, and the odds of a novice having detectable C-reactive protein were 4.75 times as high as that of an expert. Differences in stress responses between the groups provided one plausible mechanism for their divergent in- flammatory data; experts produced less lipopolysaccharide- stimulated IL-6 in response to laboratory stressors than novices.

Inflammation is a robust and reliable predictor of all-cause mortality in older adults. (emphasis added by me)

You can read the whole thing here. Basically, learning to calm your fight-or-flight response (reduce sympathetic nervous system tone, in the science-speak) will reduce inflammation, chronic and otherwise, and thereby drop off the severity of many autoimmune symptoms as well as, like the study says, reduce your risk of all-cause mortality. Otherwise known as early...retirement.

The study talks about the endocrine (hormonal) effects of yoga practice, specifically the kind that clams your body. Not the kind that amps you up.

That, friends, means more child pose, and more lying around on the floor. Or in bed, actually.

So, here are four more ways to do that.

Did you download the PDF yet? No, but seriously, you need to. Click here.

Have a lovely, restorative week folks.

Nadine & the mm...Yoga! team.

Yoga for stress: 101 ways to roll around on the floor.

This is an edited, reworked version of a post that originally appeared on my personal blog, when it was still running. I 'borrowed' the post title from Karen: I was rolling around on her floor one day after a particularly punishing week.

We were scheduled to go out for diner, but I had to do some yoga first.

What I meant was, I needed to lie on the floor and do various versions of nothing.

Both Karen and I favour this kind of a practice when we are busy and our bodies are tired from teaching too much yoga. It's called Rakshana krama (which I shall loosely translate as yoga for comfort), and its purpose is to keep us comfortable enough to get through our daily lives.

Also, lying quietly gives your nervous system a chance to settle. Passively elaxing the big muscles of your hips sending the message that you are no longer in fight-or-flight mode, and you often get more stillness of mind by doing this before you try to meditate.

Karen joked that she was going to start a series: 101 ways to roll around on the floor. You'd think there are only a few ways to roll on the floor, er, I mean, do restorative yoga. You'd be wrong. There are loads. At least 101.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the first five ways to roll around on the floor. These pictures are old (several years old) so please excuse the poor alignment. I've worked on it a LOT since then.

You can click here to get this image as a printable PDF.

Also, please note some of these movements (twists especially) are contraindicated if you have osteoporosis, lumbar or neck issues. It's always best to check with your doctor if you've never done these kinds of movements before.

If something feels unpleasant, it's neither useful to help you destress nor, probably, good for your body. Just skip it and go on to the next thing!

Do the first two movements dynamically, or stay if you prefer. And remember to breathe deeply, evenly and comfortably, with a soft neck!


Nadine & the mm...Yoga! team.