Yoga For PCOS

PCOS is not just an external problem, it begins at the very cell of our body. So, to tackle it we need to reach that cellular level. The science of Yoga works at a deeper level than just our external body. The holistic medicine which was developed over 5000 years ago, shows its effectiveness even today. Yoga not only helps one’s calm but also cams one’s mind. Yoga can be one of the effective solutions for PCOS due to this very reason.

Some women with PCOS experience pelvic and abdominal pain. Many asanas (yoga postures) designed for Polycystic ovary syndrome help in them. Other than that Pranayamas (breathing exercises) are known to reduce stress and can be said as the instant relaxation technique. When all these are combined with the ever-powerful meditation, it helps in the complete transformation of the body. In a way, yoga and meditation completely detoxifies and de-stresses our whole system.

pcos program

Benefits of Yoga

A mental health tonic:

Yoga emphasizes on the movement of one’s breathing. Through this, it handles many problems of mind such as depression and anxiety. There is no hiding in the fact that a woman suffering from PCOS has a major toll on her mental health. Through yoga one experiences a different kind of ‘high’, that makes one feel calm, content, and centered. A study conducted by International Journal of Yoga for twelve weeks says that a holistic yoga program in adolescents with PCOS is significantly better than a physical exercise program in reducing anxiety symptoms. Yoga has also shown wonders in handling stress and trauma by calming and soothing one’s mind.

Hormone Balance:

By practicing Yoga one can regulate cycles, reduce thyroid, and improve fertility. All of these are linked with our Hormones. By reducing stress, yoga reduces the release of excess cortisol (stress hormones). This further reduces the excess release of androgens in women. When compared to other exercises such as cardio or strength training, yoga doesn’t pressurize our body. Instead, it takes an alternate path and reduces the stress and physical tension of our body. This has a very positive effect on the adrenal glands and thus reduces the symptoms of PCOS.

Weight Loss:

Yoga is a mind-expanding activity. It gives complete awareness to the human being. This helps in reducing many eating disorders such as overeating and binge eating disorder. Also, studies have shown that certain aasanas can help you burn calories. It also helps in increasing your metabolism. Practicing yoga has a long term effect on your body. The effect of yoga stays with you for a long time.

Asanas (Yoga Postures) for PCOS

Badda Konasana (Cobbler’s Pose)

cobbler pose yoga pcos

  1. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together as you let your knees fall out to either side.
  2. Draw your feet in as close to your body as is comfortable. Back off if you feel any pain in your knees.
  3. Press the outer edges of your feet together strongly. The feet may begin to open like a book. You can encourage this with your hands or hold onto your big toes in a yogi toe lock
  4. Sit up tall with a long spine while keeping your shoulder blades on your back and your shoulders moving away from your ears.

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Cobra Pose
Source- Yoga Journal
  1. Lie down on your abdomen, with your legs and feet together, forehead on the floor.
  2. Position your palms on the floor, next to your chest.
  3. Elbows are tucked in toward your body and pointing upward.
  4. Breathe in, pushing your navel into the floor, and raise your head and chest off the floor. Take easy, relaxed breaths as you hold the pose.

Chakki Chalanasana (The churning mill pose)

yoga for pcos
Source – Medlife
  1. Sit with your legs splayed apart. Clasp your hands and outstretch your arms at shoulder height in front of you.
  2. Take a deep breath in and start moving the upper part of your body to the front and right, forming an imaginary circle with your body
  3. Inhale as you go forward and to the right, and exhale as you go backward and to the left.
  4. Keep breathing deeply and easily while rotating. 
  5. Make 5-10 rounds in one direction and then repeat in the opposite direction. Your wheat flour is ready to be cooked!

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

yoga for pcos
Source – pixabay
  1. Be positioned flat on your backside, like our sleeping pose. Legs are supposed to be separated.
  2. Maintain your arms at your side and your palms facing up. Now slow down.
  3. Close your eyes moreover breathe deeply and bit by bit through the nostrils.
  4. Start concentrating from your head to your feet. This way you are deliberately calming your each portion of the body. Avoid moving ahead devoid of relaxing each part of the body.
  5. On every inhaling plus exhaling (breathing) feel that your body is entirely relaxed. Allow your tension, depression, worry and stress run away on every exhale.
  6. Those having excellent concentration can perform for a long time and others can perform for 3-5 minutes.
  7. Relax the muscles which lead to a decrease in the demand for blood and oxygen, giving the circulatory and respiratory systems a break.

Naukasana (Boat Pose)

yoga for pcos
Source – Medlife
  1. First lie down flat on your yoga mat, with your feet together and your arms on the sides.
  2. Keep your arms straight and your fingers outstretched towards your toes.
  3. Start Inhaling and as you exhale, lift your chest and feet off the ground, stretching your arms towards your feet. Feel the tension in your stomach area as the abdominal muscles contract.
  4. Let the weight of your body rest entirely on the buttocks. Make sure your eyes, finger and toes are all in one line. Hold your breath and remain in this position for a few seconds.
  5. Now exhale slowly as you bring the body down to the starting position and relax. You can perform 3-4 repetitions daily but do not overdo it.

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Pre and Post Workout Meals

You take out time to hit the gym regularly from your busy schedule, You pack your gym bag, you make sure your gym outfit is comfortable, you buy right kind of shoes too but….

Is all that enough??

You must have seen many people doing workouts daily and taking a low-calorie diet too and still don’t reduce their weight. The reason could be as simple as they are not having their pre and post-workout meals or if they are taking, it’s not at the right time or not the right food!

Just like how your phone or laptop needs a charge, your body also needs fuel before starting that aggressive workout.

Pre-workout Meal

Why: By eating a pre-workout snack, we’re going to reduce muscle glycogen depletion.

What does this mean?

During exercise, the body converts glycogen into glucose which plays an important role in contracting muscles. This is where CARBS comes into play. We have to replenish Glycogen stores so they don’t run out.

When you are doing workouts at the gym you need to fuel up your body, as your body needs the energy to carry out that heavy workout. If you are doing a workout empty stomach, it will increase muscle protein breakdown, which means in simple words that your body will start eating up your muscles for energy purposes. If you are looking for muscle growth then that can only happen if the production of protein increases protein breakdown… this is where PROTEIN comes into play.

What: So now it’s pretty obvious what we’re supposed to be eating a combination of Proteins and carbs before our workout to protect our body to go in “catabolic” state. Now you may wonder as they say that carbs make you gain weight…..STOP. There are two types of carbs, simple and complex that you require at different time and for different purposes.

Nutrient-rich examples of pre-workout meals include:

  • Oatmeal with berries, a few nuts, low-fat Greek yogurt and water
  • Grilled chicken, egg whites, brown rice, green beans, and unsweetened-tea
  • Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole-wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, and avocado, sweet potato or fruit and water

When: As we discussed earlier timing is important, try to eat your pre-workout snack 30-60 minutes before your workout. If you work out early in the morning and don’t have time to eat hours before, try a granola bar, banana or even dry cereal or crackers 15-30 minutes before you get moving.

If the workout will be intense or extra long, pump the snack up to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, protein bar or even a smoothie with whey protein, fruit, and water.

Post-workout Meal

Why: After a workout, your body is in the “Anabolic/Building” stage when your muscles are “recovering” and “replenishing”. If you don’t feed your body it’s going to start eating the protein/muscle in your body… and that will be the last thing that you want to happen.

Post-workout snack also allows you to gain more lean muscle, which leads to better metabolism and fat burning ability as well as faster recovery, with comparatively less soreness and future performance.

Therefore, try consuming the two macros in a ratio of 3:1 (carbs to protein).

 

What: Supply your muscles with carbohydrates to replace whatever glycogen was wasted off in exercise. Simple carbohydrates are ideal immediately post-workout because they break down quickly, such as fruits.

Consuming an adequate amount of protein after a workout gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins.

Consuming 1.1–1.5 grams/kg of body weight within 30-45 minutes after training results in proper glycogen resynthesis

Furthermore, insulin secretion, which promotes glycogen synthesis, is better stimulated when carbs and protein are consumed at the same time

Exercise can cause muscle breakdown and high-quality protein, like milk, yogurt, eggs, cheese, and lean meats can help rebuild and repair muscle fibers.

Whey protein is a good choice after a workout as your body can digest it quickly and it contains the highest content of leucine, an amino acid that has been shown to help build and repair muscles after a workout.

Also, don’t forget to rehydrate yourself with fluid and electrolytes you sweated out during exercise.

Carbs: Include things like sweet potatoes, milk, brown rice, fruits, rice, oatmeal, potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, Dark leafy vegetables.

Protein: Animal or plant-based protein, Eggs, Greek yogurt, Cottage cheese (paneer), Salmon, chicken, protein bar, tuna, sprouted legumes, nuts, nut butter, avocado.

When: Although the timing does not need to be exact, try to eat within 45 minutes of doing a workout. The more you will delay having your post-workout meal the slower the rate will be for glycogen synthesis. For example, as little as two hours after a workout may lead to as much as 50% lower rates of glycogen synthesis.

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