Women's health depends partly on the menstrual cycle because it affects hormone balance and partly because it aids infertility. However, the menstrual disease PCOS has become a household name, affecting approximately 7% of women.
PCOS is a disease in which women begin producing a higher amount of male hormone than necessary. The treatment of PCOS is long demanding and requires a healthy lifestyle.
As per studies, yoga poses have been recommended for easing PCOS symptoms. Before we dive into the best yoga asanas for PCOS, let's quickly sum up on what exactly is PCOS and how yoga can help tackle it.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, commonly known as PCOS, is a common health problem that some women face in their reproductive period. It results from an unhealthy lifestyle, hormonal imbalance or hereditary, and if not managed wisely, it can cause issues like abnormal menstrual patterns, infertility, stress, and pregnancy-related complications.
How Does Yoga Help With PCOS?
Yoga is an entirely natural health prescription for PCOS, which are obesity, stress and hormonal imbalance. Doing yoga for PCOS can boost your health and reduce your stress levels by weight loss and correcting hormonal imbalances in the most natural and healing ways.
Studies conducted prove that practising yoga daily for one hour for 12 consecutive weeks can be more effective than conventional physical exercise in improving glucose, lipid, insulin sensitivity. This makes yoga the best exercise for PCOS out there!
Also read: Foods to induce periods
Benefits of Yoga for PCOS
Practising yoga improves general well being and, at the same time, eases symptoms associated with certain diseases like PCOS.
The following are some benefits of PCOS exercise yoga:
1. Yoga Relieves Stress
Stress can significantly impact PCOS, which is why it is crucial to relax your mind, and that is what yoga does. Studies show that It allows you to relieve stress and reduce stress hormones in the body.
2. Yoga Promotes Weight Loss
Weight gain is one of the common symptoms of PCOS, and Yoga poses for PCOS is a great way to keep weight under control. Research shows that by boosting the overall metabolism, it encourages calorie burning in your body.
3. Yoga Enhances Fertility
Infertility is one of the main concerns of women with PCOS, and yoga is a great way to deal with it, as research suggests. Yoga for PCOS to get pregnant can help restore your neuro-hormonal balance and increase blood circulation in your pelvic region. Additionally, it reduces testosterone levels which encourage fertility.
4. Yoga Improves Gastrointestinal Metabolism
Additionally, PCOS can cause gastrointestinal complaints. Yoga postures provide much-needed massage to the digestive organs, improving their functioning and metabolism.
Best Yoga Poses for PCOS
If you are suffering from PCOS or are at risk of getting PCOS, it is best to indulge in regular Yoga. This will not cure your disease, but certainly, it helps you in easing the symptoms of PCOS.
We have compiled a list of 18 yoga poses for PCOS that can help you relieve symptoms at home:
1. Badhakonasana (Butterfly Pose)
Butterfly pose is an easy and simple PCOS yoga pose. This pose helps promote relaxation in your body. Furthermore, it relieves menstrual discomfort and stress.
How to do it –
- Make sure your spine is straight and your legs are spread apart as you sit
- Now bend your knees and bring your feet close together while pressing the heels
- Now, start flapping both legs slowly and smoothly like the wings of a butterfly for one minute
2. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Butterfly Pose)
Reclining is one of the best yoga poses for PCOS, and it's also more relaxing than the classic Butterfly pose. It can be practised by placing a pillow or cushion under the hip to improve support for beginners.
How to do it –
- To begin, you can lie on the ground or yoga mat with your knees turned and your feet lying on the ground
- Bring heels close to your groin, press your palms on the floor beside your hips, and contract your abs while breathing out
- Now, exhale as you bring your knees in toward the ground, causing your inner thighs and groin to stretch
- Place soles of your feet together so that the outer edges of your feet are flat on the floor
- Keep your shoulders relaxed as you stay in this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute
Side Tip: If you are a newbie, you might not be able to do the butterfly asana correctly. Do not put extra pressure on your thighs; it can cause cramps later.
3. Bharadvajasana (Bharadvaja's Twist)
The bharadvaja's twist yoga pose is a relaxing seated PCOS yoga at home that works with your spine and helps to normalise menstruation problems. It also helps to soothe the nervous system and relax the spine and muscles.
How to do it-
- Sit on the yoga mat. With legs stretched ahead of you and your arms resting on both sides of your body
- Bend your knees close to the left hip so that your weight rests on the right buttock
- Rest the left ankle on the arch of your right foot
- At the same time, keep your right hand on the bottom and your left hand on your right thigh
- Twist your body as much as possible to the right, keeping your weight on your right buttock
- Hold this pose for 1 minute and replace it with the original position on the other side
4. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Women of all ages can benefit from the cobra pose, a simple and easy yoga asana for PCOS. This pose encourages healthy ovaries by soothing the stomach and allowing it to function properly. This pose also helps improve digestion, as well as reduce stress.
How to do it –
- Lie on your stomach with your toes flat on the ground and your legs together
- Put your hands under your shoulders and elbows close to your torso
- As you inhale deeply, lift your head and torso off the ground
- Keep your back arched as much as you can while supporting your torso with both hands
- Tilt your head upward and look around you as much as possible
- Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears while breathing normally
- Wait for 30 seconds, and return to the starting position
Side Tip: You may not be able to do the full cobra pose at once; start with half and then gradually increase.
5. Naukasana (Boat Pose)
The boat pose is one of the best yoga asanas for PCOS. Also, it helps to reduce body fat, improves blood flow to the reproductive organs, and enriches the function of the ovaries.
How to do it –
- Lie on your back, with your feet joined together
- Place your arms resting beside your body
- Take a deep breath to lift your head, chest and feet off the floor with your hands stretched towards your feet
- Keeping your fingers and toes straight, exhale deeply.
- Feel the tension in your navel and abdominal muscles
- Maintain this pose for 30 seconds, then bear to starting position
6. Dhanurasana (Bow pose)
The Bow pose is another yoga exercise that can help those with PCOS alleviate symptoms. It also stimulates the reproductive organs, relieves menstrual discomfort, and normalises menstrual cycles.
How to do it -
- You can start by lying on your stomach with your feet positioned hip-width separated and your arms at your sides
- Fold your knees and come close to your hips while holding onto your ankles
- As you raise your chest off the base, raise your legs so that your body takes the form of an arched bow
- Take a few in-depth breaths and remain in this pose for 30 seconds
- Slowly return to the standing position by releasing the ankles
Side tip: If you cannot hold both ankles initially, then do the pose with one leg at a time or use a yoga strap.
10. Marjaryasana and Bitilasana (Cat and Cow Pose)
Yoga poses like cat and cow pose cause a lot of movement in the spine and help to relax tight shoulders and necks. They also stimulate and massage the abdominal muscles the reproductive organs and boost the functions of the nervous system.
How to do it –
- You should start on all fours
- Then, decline your head lowered and arch your spine upwards to form an arch that looks like a cat; wait for five seconds
- After that, return to your original position
- Continue this opposite arch with the spine as often as you like while swaying the spine in the opposing tack towards the ground
- Now repeat these opposite arches as many times as you want
11. Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-legged Forward Bend)
The yoga pose Prasarita Padottanasana strengthens and lowers the back by flexing the muscles, improving energy circulation, and increasing spinal column length. In addition, the exercise increases leg and back muscles.
How to do it –
- To begin, should start with Mountain Pose or Tadasana, exhale and lower your body forward until the palms touch the floor right underneath the shoulders
- Press your hips up to the ceiling, allowing your spine to stretch further
- Lengthen your legs to press the head down further
- You can place yoga blocks under your hands if your hands do not touch the ground for 30 seconds
- Once you've completed the exercise, return to the starting position
12. Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
The PCOS Yoga poses Padmasana to stretch the internal organs and balance hormonal imbalances that are crucial to easing PCOS symptoms. It helps reduce menstrual discomfort, regulate blood pressure, and calm the mind.
How to do it –
- Sit on your yoga mat with a stretched spine
- Then, place your right knee on the left thigh, with your right foot pointing upward
- Make sure that your feet rest close to your abdomen
- Bend the left knee and cross the left foot over the right thigh in the same way as you crossed the right leg over the left
- Place your hands on your knees and keep your head straight for one minute while you breathe deeply
13. Nispanda Bhava (Unmoving Observations)
Nispanda Bhava is a great way to relieve stress because it involves passive listening, which ensures mental peace and relaxation. PCOS symptoms can be made worse by tension and stress, so removing stress is also an important part of addressing PCOS. Similar to Conscious Relaxation, it has the same positive effects as relaxing.
How to do it –
- You should sit comfortably on the floor, with your back to the wall and your legs stretched out
- Leave a space between your legs, letting your shoulders and head relax so that you do not feel stiff
- Now, rest your hands on your thighs with palms facing upwards
- Then concentrate on the fading noises around you without analysing any specific sounds
- Relax in this state for five to ten minutes with your eyes closed
14. Nadi Shodhana (Alternate nostril breathing)
Yoga's nostril breathing practice channels energy to ease indigestion, calm the mind and promotes hormonal balance.
How to do it –
- Sitting in a comfortable posture
- Placing your finger on your right nostril and exhaling
- Pause your breath for a few seconds, and then release it
- Repeat this yoga asana with each nostril
- This asana should be practised for 3 minutes for the best results
The Malasana pose helps to strengthen your pelvic floor and reduces your symptoms of PCOS.
How to do it –
- During this yoga pose, your feet are placed more expansively than your hips, resulting in a 45-degree angle
- As exhaling, you must bend your knees
- Now, raise your arms and push your thighs inwards
- Simultaneously lift your hips inward and squeeze your shoulders down your back as your hips reach the bottom
- Repeat this three times
16. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (The Bridge Pose)
Yoga asana Setu Bandha Sarvangasana is the most effective yoga pose for reducing symptoms of menopause
and stimulating the abdominal cavity. It helps regulate thyroid function, which is essential in preventing PCOS.
How to do it –
- The Bridge Pose can be challenging, so begin with a gentle fold on your back
- Raise your legs to your chest with your hands, then lift your pelvis and back off the floor
- Make sure your toes should be fixed on the floor
- Now, strengthen your core and pelvic muscles with this pose
- You should perform it for at least eight breaths
17. Paschimottanasana (Seated forward bend)
A yoga asana for PCOS, such as Paschimottanasana, which offers full-body stretching and supports the hamstrings, is a good choice for women who struggle with obesity and weight gain.
How to do it –
- Starting with a seated forward bend
- Extend your legs forward, keeping your knees slightly bent and spine erect
- Next, inhale and extend your arms upward
- Finally, exhale and raise your body upward, extending forward by placing your upper body on your lower body
- Repeat this pose up to three times by holding your big toes for 10-30 seconds each time
18. Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
Lastly, the corpse pose holds an essential role in yoga. Without this end of the session posture, no yoga session can be considered complete. Practising this posture helps relieve stress and tension and relax the body and mind, which is beneficial for people with polycystic ovary syndrome.
How to do it –
- As you complete the yoga session, lie on your back and close your eyes without using any cushions or blankets
- Make sure your legs are slightly apart. Your feet and knees need to be completely relaxed
- Now, relax your entire body slowly and deeply while your palms are open and facing upward
- Put your arms at your flanks a little apart from your body, palms facing upwards
- Wait for 10 minutes or until fully relaxed, then slowly get up from the ground
19. Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)
Surya Namaskar for PCOS is one of the best PCOS exercises at home.
Repeating the Sun Salutation pose for at least five times every day can help in weight loss, improve lipid profile, achieve a lower waist to hip ratio, and regulate the menstrual cycle. Surya Namaskar should be a part of your daily yoga for irregular periods, PCOS and PCOD.
Side Tip: Take it slow; you do not have to be fast at this. Pausing for two seconds at each pose can be beneficial.
20. Anulom Vilom for PCOS
PCOS is a psychosomatic disorder and thus requires both psychic and somatic treatments. Practising Anulom Vilom for PCOS daily for at least 10-15 minutes will be a great way to destress and cure any health disorder.
It will purify the energy channels (Nadis) and enable a resistance-free flow of vital energy (Prana) to promote relaxation of the mind, body and soul.
Side Tip: There are two more added stages of this yoga pose; Chandrabhedi and Suryabhedi Pranayam. These are great for controlling blood pressure related problems.
21. Kapalbhati Pranayam (Breathing Exercise)
This asana is a fantastic breathing exercise that fights oxidative stress, increases blood circulation to all organs, and corrects glandular secretion. It helps in weight loss by having a positive influence on the pancreas.
Side tip: Try this on an empty stomach for best results. Avoid doing this during pregnancy.
Also read: Signs that you are about to get your period
Yoga for PCOS to Get Pregnant
Yoga is very effective in improving infertility in PCOS patients. Poses like Bhujangasana and Anuloma-Viloma are just a few of the poses which help in increasing the effectiveness. You will become more connected to your body while maintaining hormonal balance and increasing circulation to the reproductive organs. Moreover, it helps manage stress and increase general well-being, positively impacting fertility.
Precautions to Take While Doing Yoga for PCOS
Though yoga offers several health benefits, it is still a good idea to be cautious when practising yoga poses at home, especially if you are a beginner. Though the exercises are not very vigorous or high-impact, they require flexibility.
As you do Yoga for PCOS, you should also consider the following things:
- Use a yoga mat or thick carpet to minimise the slipping and falling chance.
- Always wear stretchable clothes, especially your pants.
- Don't push yourself if you cannot do an asana perfectly right away. Let your body become used to moving before trying to do one.
- Pre-workout meals don't work when you do yoga, as many asanas put pressure on your abdomen.
- Keep your body hydrated. Yoga may not make you sweat like other high-intensity workouts, but staying hydrated is essential.
Can PCOS Be Cured by Yoga?
Yoga cannot cure PCOS but has some beneficial facts to reduce its effects. Despite the fact that exercise alone cannot cure PCOS when coupled with a well-balanced diet rich in protein, nutrients, and vitamins, it will result in a moderate weight loss. You can risk reducing your risk of diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure by losing a small amount of weight.
Yoga asanas for PCOS can help reduce testosterone levels in women with PCOS and regulate ovulation and menstruation cycles. As a result of hormonal imbalances, yoga also helps PCOS sufferers manage stress and anxiety, improve their mood, and feel more balanced.
Can Other Forms of Exercise Benefit PCOS?
Exercising moderately, such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming, can reduce PCOS symptoms and make your body more sensitive to insulin, thus lowering your diabetes risk and cardiovascular disease risk.
Summing Up on PCOS Yoga
PCOS yoga exercise can help women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) balance their hormones, manage their blood sugar and insulin levels, and manage their weight. Both aerobic and opposition (weight) workout exercises have been shown to help women with PCOS. Recent investigations have shown that PCOS yogas can significantly improve women's health with PCOS - more so than conventional exercise - in terms of anxiety, hormones, menstrual cycles, and metabolic parameters.
- Cheryce L. Harrison, Catherine B. Lombard (2011) Exercise therapy in polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review (Oxford Academic) https://academic.oup.com/humupd/article/17/2/171/692261
- Pallav Sengupta, July 2012; Challenge of infertility: How protective the yoga therapy is? Challenge of infertility: How protective the yoga therapy is? - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3733210/
- Prema Sekar, 4 and Anitha Rajendra Babu, December 2020; Impact of yoga and exercises on polycystic ovarian syndrome risk among adolescent schoolgirls in South India - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7717472/
- K. Touchton-Leonard, G. Wallen, August 2016; A Different Weight Loss Experience: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Behavioral, Physical, and Psychosocial Changes Associated with Yoga That Promote Weight Loss - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4995338/