I have always praised the practice of regular yoga for its amazing health benefits, especially for women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Up until recently, I did a form of ad-hoc yoga, in which I would practice here and there, mainly following exercise videos and television yoga programs.
When my husband and I moved to Ocala, Florida a month ago, the first thing I researched was “hot yoga.” I’m not sure why, other than the longing to regularly participate in a yoga class with a live instructor. Hot yoga is basically bikram yoga: The studio is kept at about 90 degrees, heating the muscles and allowing for more relaxation and flexibility. I figured as long as I was going to begin a long-term commitment to yoga, it might as well be the “hot” kind.
If you think you know the health benefits of yoga but are not consistently practicing, you don’t know what you’re missing! I recommend yoga as a supplemental exercise. Here’s why: The benefits of yoga include, but are not limited to, less stress, clearer, brighter skin, weight loss, fewer cravings, feeling more satisfied when eating, feeling less hungry throughout the day, tighter, toned skin and less cellulite, and more mental clarity. I don’t know about you, but these benefits are a godsend when dealing with PCOS. Especially stress control. Women with PCOS are notorious for having elevated adrenalin and cortisol levels. Both of these hormones contribute to weight gain, especially around the middle, fatigue and further hormonal imbalance. Yoga counteracts these things.
Yoga allows you to become “centered,” so you are present in your thoughts, feelings and surroundings. It makes you aware of the things you are doing that are contributing to poor health. It makes you seriously strong and super flexible, and it gives you more body confidence once you’re used to the poses. Your skin will look and feel ten times better after practicing yoga for several weeks consistently. I highly recommend doing hot yoga if possible, just because the temperature allows you to sweat every disgusting thing from your body. Don’t worry about the heat – it’s not going to make you pass out. Just bring enough water. Here in Florida, the 90 degrees is actually cooler than the outside temperature!
I recently interview a yoga and harmonyum practitioner, Maria Fracesconi, who also has PCOS, and she swears by the healing powers of yoga. She gives the scientific reasons yoga, meditation and specific poses help with reversing symptoms of PCOS and hypothyroidism. She explains how to regularly practice certain poses and mudras that contribute to weight loss and restored menstruation.
Your Freedom from PCOS Homework:
- Start attending a local yoga class. It can be bikram (or “hot”) yoga, power yoga, ashtanga, or hatha yoga. You pick.
- Try a class and see if it’s a good fit; go at least 3 times before deciding you don’t like a specific type of yoga. Yoga classes are affordable, especially when researching local community centers. Some classes are even free!
- Schedule in one yoga class a week and work up to two.
Currently, I’m doing one to two yoga classes a week, and the results I’m seeing after only 4 weeks are fantastic! Consistency is key. If you have PCOS, this is must. If there are no yoga classes anywhere near you, research recommended yoga DVD’s, or find an exercise station on TV and find out when they have a yoga program (they always do, trust me).
Note any positive changes you feel and see. Have fun!
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Still wondering if the symptoms you are suffering with could be PCOS? Click the link below to take the PCOS Quiz and get your PCOS score!