Undoubtedly, a woman is a true personification of love, strength, resilience, and beauty. She is the one who stood by you through the thick and thin, soothed your pain and scars, and identified your prowess. Although, they never ask for it, but they should be celebrated every day and one such very special day to honour her contributions, we have the International Women’s day dedicated just for her. Since the year 1977, United Nations recognized and observed 8th March as the International Women’s Day throughout the world to celebrate women around the world, recognize their contributions, their achievements in cultural, political, social and economic development and raise awareness about women's equality, and more.
This year, the theme chosen by United Nations is "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” It chiefly celebrates the tremendous efforts made by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Women has been standing at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, as health care workers, doctors, caregivers, scientists, community organizers and as some of the most exemplary and effective national leaders in combating the pandemic. It’s true that today’s women are multi-faceted; they not only take care of the entire family but also balance their work and achieve their aspirations. But in all this juggling, the one thing that gets affected is her own health. This rises partly due to the constant race against time and also due to lack of information. A lot of women don’t even know what to look for and how to care of their health. Especially, menstrual problems and gynecological health is often considered a taboo to discuss in public and hence often gets unnoticed.
Obviously, a healthy diet, and proper food and sleep timings keep diseases at bay, one also needs to incorporate activities in the form of exercises or yogasanas to boost immunity and increase overall longevity. This International Women’s Day, we bring you 5 common gynecological problems that are often overlooked, and one set of yoga pose each to relieve the particular disorder.
Common Gynecological Problems And Their Preventive Yogasanas
Uterine fibroids, also known as Garbhashyagata (intrauterine) Granthi (encapsulated growth) in Ayurveda are non-cancerous tumours that are made up of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue that develop in the uterus. Although there is no exact cause of these fibroids, some studies believe that high levels of estrogen and progesterone might be the culprit behind these benign tumours. Amongst various other yogasanas, the butterfly pose holds high significance in stretching the groin, inner thighs, and knees and is good for stimulating the reproductive organs in women. Not only does it help in shrinking the uterine fibroids but also helps in opening the various obstructions within the body.
Sit straight on the floor. While breathing out, fold your legs close to your body so that the soles of both your feet touch each other face to face. Let your knees drop to the sides. Hold the thumb of your foot and ensure that the foot soles remain touched to each other and always pressed to the ground. Once you are comfortable in the pose, ensure that the torso is stretched through the top of the sternum, and the shoulder blades are also firmly pressed to the back. Now breathe in and out normally. Hold this for 1 minute, take 30 secs break and repeat 5 times.
Endometriosis is a painful condition that primarily occurs due to abnormal growth of the endometrium (i.e., the inner lining of uterine wall) outside the uterus. It chiefly stems due to imbalances in the Kapha and Pitta Doshas characterizing painful periods, fertility problems, pelvic congestion, intestinal and rectal pain, etc. Severe condition may require medical treatment but a safer approach sans any side effects include yogasanas. Deemed as the “Mother of all Poses”, the shoulder stand pose is extremely beneficial to soothe the nerves and calm the mind. Performing this yogasana regularly increases blood flow in the pelvis and uterus area and also treat underlying symptoms of endometriosis and various infertility issues.
Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder-Stand Pose)
Lie flat on the ground with your legs laid side-by-side and both arms resting on either side of the body. Swing your legs up in such a way so that your legs, buttocks and hip is up in the air and support your body with your elbows attached to the ground. While settling into the pose, ensure that the hold your body properly keeping your legs and spine straight. Hold the pose for 30-40 secs while breathing normally. Slowly bring down your legs back to Shavasana pose and repeat 2-3 times.
Known as Kashtartava in Ayurvedic terms, dysmenorrhea mainly signifies throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen, back and legs during menstrual flow. This pain usually starts a few days before the periods and often continues throughout. The intensity and severity of the condition may range from mere annoying or a discomfort to more severe as such it interferes with everyday activities during the menstrual cycle every month. Popping pain killers may subdue the pain for the time being but if you prefer a more permanent solution include the bow pose and a few sets of yogasanas in your routine. Practicing it regularly not only strengthens the abdominal muscles and stimulates the reproductive organs but also effectively alleviates menstrual discomfort and fatigue.
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
Lie flat on your stomach and raise both the legs and torso backward. Extend your arms backward and grasp both the feet with your hands. Hold this position for as long as possible and keep inhaling normally. Return to the starting position and repeat the asana for 5-6 times.
Termed as Asrigdara in Ayurveda, menorrhagia is a common menstrual problem that chiefly characterizes excessive bleeding and prolonged periods ultimately causing weakness, and general debility. Hormonal imbalances, polyps, fibroids, adenomyosis and medications are a few of the causes among many. While a medical intervention might be necessary if the condition is severe or if it has led to anemia, however, if it is mild and you prefer a more holistic approach, then a few selected yoga poses especially the downward-facing dog pose is your ultimate saviour. It helps in regulating menstrual flow, prevent passage of large clots, opens up the hips and groin area and helps to relieve traditional lower abdominal cramps.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing dog pose)
Come on all fours with your knees hips-width apart and your hands shoulder-width apart. Now, slowly lift your hips off the floor and straighten your elbows and knees. Ensure that your body forms an inverted ‘V’. Now, press your hands into the ground and stretch your neck such that your ears should touch your inner arms, and you should turn your gaze towards your navel. Hold this position for five-eight breathes and then return to the original position.
Termed as Rajonivrutti in Ayurveda, menopause literally means the end or permanent stoppage of the regular menstrual cycle. Although some may feel relief by menopause, but it often comes up with discomforting symptoms like hot flashes, weight gain, loss of libido, vaginal dryness, insomnia, mood swings, depression etc. Like other health conditions, yoga is effective against menopausal symptoms too. The Cobra pose specifically if practiced everyday reduces stress and fatigue, tones the muscles of the hip and pelvic area, improves circulation and digestion and also stimulates abdominal organs.
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Lie flat on your stomach and place your head on the ground. Keep both your hands on either side of your shoulders. Slowly, put pressure on your palms and lift your body up from the torso while stretching your back and belly muscles. Straighten out your arms and keep your shoulder blades pressed against your back. Fix gaze at a point on the ceiling and hold this posture for about 15-30 seconds and exhale as you return to the starting position.