It is said that one in every five women is suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) which results in infertility and insulin resistance. Sadly, it is not until conception becomes a problem that patients and their family sit up and take note of this condition. But PCOS should be detected early and resolved because it has been found that 40-80 per cent of women with PCOS gravitate to obesity and are highly prone to diabetes and other related problems.
Lifestyle and bad dietary habits with dependence on processed food and sugar are said to compound PCOS. Now for some good news. There are enough yoga asanas that can give you relief. It was heartening when many women, who had watched my YouTube videos and followed the routine, wrote back to me saying the practice had not only corrected their hormonal imbalance but helped them conceive.
Based on this success, I’m listing the asanas and pranayama practices for PCOS. Initially it is advisable to practise every day or as regularly as possible to achieve faster results.
Warm and limber up before your sessions
Chakki Chalanasana (Stone mill grinding asana): As the name indicates, it imitates the posture and movement of working a grinding mill, which was part of every home in the old days. Sit with your legs as far apart as much as comfortably possible. Interlock your finger and straighten your arms in front of your body without bending the elbow. Arms will remain in this position throughout the practice.
Take a deep breath and move back the upper part of your body as much as possible, keeping the arms straight. Then as you exhale, swerve your arms to the left of the body bending forward so that your hand moves closely over your left toes. Then exhaling, move the hands over the right toes. As you inhale again, move back to the starting position, thus making a full circular clockwise movement. Then without stopping, continue the circular movement. Do five rounds in a clockwise direction and five rounds in an anti-clockwise direction.
This movement helps massage your lower reproductive organs as well as reduce fat around the belly. It tones the digestive system and nerves in the pelvic region. It’s excellent for menstrual problems.
Naukachalanasana (Boat-rowing asana): As the name indicates, this asana imitates the boat rowing action. Sit with your legs placed together and stretched out in front of you. Clench your hands as if holding the rows of a boat.
With exhalation, move waist up in front of the body with arms straight in front as one does for rowing a boat. Then as you breathe in, lean back as much as possible imagining you are now pulling the rows back with the hands coming close to the shoulders. Repeat the same movement in five continuous rounds in one direction, then in the opposite direction. Here again the pelvic area is impacted, toning up the reproductive and digestive systems and burning the fat around the belly.
Namaskar asana: Sit on your haunches with feet flat on the floor. Initially if you find it difficult, then start with sitting on your toes or place cushions under your buttock to support the posture. Lock your elbows against the inside of your knees and push the knees apart as much as possible with the elbows. Then join your hands in front of your body in typical namaskar pose. Keep back straight and relax.
Inhale in the starting position and as you exhale, straighten your arms in front of you, closing your knees in and dropping your head between your arms. The whole body is kind of closed in. Then as you inhale, push the knees apart with the elbows and straighten your head and back to the starting position. This is one round. Do five rounds.
This asana impacts the hormonal system and tones the nerves and muscles of the thigh, arms, shoulders and neck. It also helps in better bowel movement.
Vayunishkanasana: This is a good follow-up to the above asana as you start in the same starting pose. Only difference is that your palms are placed under your feet with the fingers under the sole of the feet and the thumb on top of the feet. The elbows are still locked against the knees.
This is the starting pose. Relax your body, then inhale in the squatting position and as you exhale, straighten your knees and back with your fingers still under your feet. Your head will dangle at your knees. This should be done in one smooth, motion. Then as you inhale, come back to the starting position. This is one round. Do five rounds.
Follow this up with the three standing asanas, which I have described earlier too and are only too well-known: Tadasana, Triyak-Tadasana and Kati-chakrasana. Follow this up with Suryanamaskar. Begin with three rounds but build up to a minimum of 10 rounds.
Always follow up Suryanamaskar with at least five minutes of Shavasana, which is a whole body relaxation practice.
Pranayama: The breathing practices help distribute the awakened energies with asana practice and impacts the nervous system and our brain.
3. Anulom Vilom
Shambhavi Mudra: Continue sitting in your pranayama pose. Relax body but keep your spine straight. Gently close your eyes. Move your eyeballs internally to the eye-brow centre. Visualise a beautiful candle flame or your favourite God or any other favourite symbol at the eye-brow centre. Hold your internal gaze as long as possible.
This is a powerful practice and manipulates your pituitary gland which is the command centre for the hormonal system in your body.
(Kamini Bobde is a Kundalini practitioner who follows the Swami Satyananda Saraswati tradition of yoga. She is the author of ‘Kundalini Yoga for All: Unlock the Power of Your Body and Brain’. Published by Penguin)