There are many reasons that a therapeutic yoga program may benefit women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. PCOS presents very differently in different women but the syndrome as whole is associated with infertility and other adverse health conditions including obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Women with PCOS may also have higher levels of chronic inflammation and elevated levels of circulating stress hormones.
The good news is that more and more research suggests that lifestyle intervention including diet and exercise may be the best way to manage PCOS. In addition, new research is showing the benefit of Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat the hormonal imbalances, symptoms like hirsutism and acne, and menstrual irregularity that is associated with PCOS. Another element of PDtM’s PCOS “Action Plan” is yoga. Yoga has been shown to lower levels of stress hormones and women with a regular yoga practice have been show to have a “healthier” physiological response to stress. Yoga has also been shown to reduce markers of oxidative stress and blood sugar control in people with diabetes as well as improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels in heart disease patients (1).
Some of the goals of a therapeutic yoga practice for PCOS include:
Standing and seated yoga asana that create an invigorating, but not exhausting, exercise session
Twisting poses, which in yoga physiology are believed to help decrease abdominal fat
Postures that bring blood to the thyroid gland, an important endocrine gland for metabolism
Stimulating agni, the digestive fire, that supports complete digestion and metabolism of foods
Mudras (hand yoga) that stimulate different physiological and energetic systems
Breathing exercises that induce the relaxation response
While lifestyle changes can be very helpful with PCOS, they are not enough on their own. Working in partnership with you physician or Reproductive Endocrinologist and ensuring they are kept up to date on any holistic treatments you may be using is the smartest approach for PCOS management.
Therapeutic yoga for PCOS is available at Pulling Down the Moon in class or one-on-one setting. If you would like to learn more about PDtM’s PCOS Action Plan contact us at 312-321-0004 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(1) Field, T. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 17 (2011) 1e8