For the past decade, I have had an on and off relationship with yoga. It has brought me both peace and frustration, but the joy and RELEASE I feel afterwards is always worth it. Because I feel so strongly about the tehrapeutic aspect of yoga for women with hormonal imbalances, I’ve asked my friend Helen from Endo Yoga to share with us her expertise on using yoga to help decrease pelvic pain in women with endometriosis. If you have pelvic pain, a hormonal disorder and are interested in using yoga as exercise and treatment, I highly recommend you check out Helen’s online course! Enjoy the post!
In 2010 I hit the rock bottom with my illness endometriosis. I´ve had it since I was 18 and had been struggling most of my life with intense pain. I had just been certified as a yoga teacher and knew how much yoga did for me, physically, emotionally and not to mention spiritually. But the yoga poses you were supposed to do if you had my kind of problems were very difficult for me. They were too painful to do with my illness. I had the advantage of being a very dedicated yogi and had felt the power of yoga so I thought there must be other yoga poses you can do to feel better. To get rid of the pain, or at least help with the pain and make you improve your overall health. I started to develop some yoga programs and tested them on myself. They were working. My approach was to make programs that women could do if they had a lot of pain. Programs that helps with pain, balances your hormones and also at the same time helps you to grow both personally and spiritually. Here are some yoga exercises for you.
You can do these yoga exercises all together or try one or two. Remember that yoga should never be painful. It can be challenging at times but it should never hurt. So just listen to your body.
- The long deep breathing
The long deep breathing technique is important. Many of us tend to breathe too shallow. When you breathe long and deeply you activate the parasympathetic nervous system: relax- and rest mode. The muscles start to relax and your mind becomes calmer.
This is how you do:
Start lying on your back or sit with your spine straight. Inhale through the nostrils fill the lower part of the lungs, expanding the abdomen.
Continue to inhale and fill the middle lungs and feel that the chest is expanding and the abdomen is sinking slightly.
Continue to inhale and fill the upper lung and feel the collarbones lifting a little bit. Exhale in reverse order: first the collarbones sink down followed by the chest and at last the abdomen.
After you have exhaled wait a couple of seconds until you inhale again. Let the body decide when it´s time to inhale again. Continue to breathe long and deeply as long as you want. 5-10 minutes a day are great!
- Sufi grind
Sufi grind is a nice yoga pose for your hips, lower spine and digestion. It is very calming.
This is how you do:
Sit in easy pose or on a chair.
Place your hands on the knees, rotate the torso, moving from the hips. Move your body clockwise in big circles. Gradually allow the whole abdominal area to relax and release. Inhale on the rotation in front, exhale back. Stay conscious of the breath as it helps create the movement. After 1-3 minutes change direction and rotate anti-clockwise.
To end the pose, come into the center with the spine straight. Take a deep breath and relax. You can also check out this video.
- Squatting pose
Squatting is one of my favorite pose to do if you have pain. A lot of women have given me great feedback on this one. It works for pain.
This is how you do.
From a standing position with your legs apart, squat down and maintain that position. The toes should be straight forward and your spine as straight as possible. Pull in your chin so you get the straight line from your spine up in the neck. If you need to make any adjustment with your legs to be as comfortable as possible you can do that. Wrap your arms around your knees and breathe long and deeply. Feel so you breathe all the way down to your belly.
Sit in this pose for 1 min to 3 min. You can also sit longer if you want.
- Wind release pose
This is a pose I recommend if you can´t to squatting pose. Maybe your muscles are too tight in the lower back and it gives you pain. This is also very good for pelvic pain and obviously good for wind release.
This is how you do:
Lie down on you back on the floor or on the bed. Pull down your knees to your chest, with your legs wide apart and wrap your arms around your knees. Breathe long and deeply. Continue for as long as you need.
- Rock pose
Rock pose is another great pose if you have pain. Try this if you have menstrual cramps. It is also good for improving your digestion.
This is how you do:
Start kneeling on both knees, with the tops of the feet on the ground. Sit back on the heels.
Keep the spine straight. Breathe long and deeply for as long as you need.
If it is uncomfortable you can:
Tuck in a pillow between your legs close to the hollow of your knees. You can also put a pillow under your feet or knees. Try different ways to support until you have found it comfortable.
- Cobra pose
Cobra pose is a great pose especially for your lower back but also to open up in your pelvis. If you can´t to the cobra pose you can do the modified version instead.
This is how you do it:
Lie on your belly and place your hands under your shoulders with your elbows by your side. Inhale as you lift your head and shoulders, pressing your hips into the floor and tightening your buttock muscles. Using your hands as support, arch your back up, keeping your feet as close together as possible. Gently stretch your neck and focus on your third eye point. Breathe long and deeply for 1- 3 minutes.
Set your elbows under your shoulders and your forearms on the floor parallel to each other. Inhale and lift your upper torso and head away from the floor into a mild backbend.
To end: Inhale and hold the breath. Exhale and carefully come down on your belly again and rest.
Helen Kaselov is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist and the founder of Yoga for Endometriosis & Pelvic pain. Helen has a history of severe endometriosis and is today helping women with endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids and other pelvic pain online, with yoga, nutrition and other lifestyle changes. Using yoga both as a tool in different kinds of healing programs, pain management, yoga has become the foundation in her work. “Yoga can help you in so many ways: Physically, mentally, spiritually and as a personal development tool. Yoga has totally changed my life in so many ways!” Visit www.endoyoga.com to learn more.