How Yogini Handles PMSing 2
We ended our previous article with some open questions, and here we go as a reminder to our dear readers, “What about relaxing the anxiety and anger some of us experience during the PMS period?”, “What about nurturing our body with the right food and avoiding cravings? How can we prepare our bodies for menstruation with regular yoga practice?"
That was the last paragraph in the previous article, today I would like to share with you some of my students’ experiences and reflect on my own as well.
The answer is, be mindful, be aware of every single thought cross your mind, effort you exert and lastly and most important to your food
Let’s start with Food; balance nutrients lead to balance behaviour, don’t you agree with me?? Or maybe balanced behaviour lead to balance intake!! According to Ayurveda and to our Arab tradition as well, our diet shaping our body, mind and soul as well; think of how you feel when you fast..
I won’t repeat the same advices you can read everywhere, but as a Viniyoga and yoga therapist my students share with me more about their life style, humour, health situation before the class to adopt the practice for their needs; usually after the class we drink some healthy hot drinks were taught and tried with my yoga teachers in India and France. First drink which can be taken during the month while ladies are not menstruating; boiled and soaked mixture of ginger (fresh or dried), cinnamon (sticks or power), black pepper (squashed) or paprika, cardamom; this drink promote strengthening the feminine reproduction system, immune system, as well as increasing energy level.
During the menstruation period itself, it is recommended to remove the cinnamon and add symptoms and pain relief herbs such as cumin, cloves.
Pinch of turmeric powder from time to time is considered to be great blood cleansing herb.
Spices such as fennel, coriander, turmeric, cardamom and saffron are wonderful to enhance digestion and alleviate PMS symptoms.
Craving food is very well-known PMS symptoms, personally I prefer managing doses, quantities and the intake time of certain kind of foods such as chocolate not preventing them. Taking the chocolate for example, why don’t you take small square after proper lunch full of cooked vegetable and grains or rice; green and leafy salads!! In this case, you would get lot of fibres, vitamins and minerals which you need during that time and in the same time sugar and anti-oxidant from dark chocolate (if you like it of course).
As I believe, teaching yoga is 2-ways learning process, one of my students has tried the secret of “HONEY”, and told me it is best pain-relief for her, so she enjoys small jar of honey every month,,, everyone is unique, try and see what best for you!
Now, how can we help ourselves to be mindful and aware of our bodies, thoughts and spirit??!!
Let’s look at the possible effect of yoga on regular practitioners; first Pranayama (Breathing and energy flowing), it calms down nervous system, especially if we know how to increase our exhale more than the inhale during the simplest ones such as ANULAMAUJJAI and SHITALI; also there are some techniques can be used to motivate the malas out of our bodies such as KAPALAPATI (passive inhale and forceful short exhale)
Second practicing Asanas, will result in muscles toning and relaxation, you focus on slowly tensing and then releasing each muscles’ group; in fact, not only the seen muscles those you can tone and relax, your internal organs including the reproductive system will get physical benefit from any Asana you are practicing on regular basis; engaging our mind by focusing on working group muscles and breathing in and out can augment our awareness of our physical body.
Third secret is linking our breathing to body movements (Asanas) using counting or repeating mantras (one word or sentence with rhythm to be repeated number of times during exhale and sometimes inhale) to create great sense of concentration, motivating our physiological body (Manomaya) the energy body as well as minimizing our mental activities leaving us room to observe without attachment, then we can be in complete mindful status;
Being mindful and self-aware will find us capable to choose what to keep, such as positive thoughts and ideas, and what to release, namely negative ones…
Viniyoga, and yoga therapy considers everyone is unique and we need to treat ourselves according to our nature, environment and no one knows what’s best for us than our inner voices, so if we stay observant to what we eat, drink, think of and what we do to avoid entering into a vicious cycle, either food craving, negative thoughts and emotional drama;
Instead, we will find ourselves embracing ourselves, loving our bodies our femininity and celebrating this period of the month…
Love and Joy
Yoga Therapist & Teachers’ trainer
For more info.:
List of asanas (yoga postures):