Benefits of Yoga for Women
As featured on So Darling and Life and Fitness Magazine
Yoga is amazing for anybody and everybody – but especially for women. Yoga can help with balancing hormones, menstruation issues, fertility, strengthening and toning the body and reducing stress. If you’ve ever wondered about the many benefits of yoga for women here are my top six and some suggested poses to help you really reap the rewards:
Helps to balance hormones: As women we can probably relate to experiencing a hormonal imbalance at some point in our lives causing mood swings, fatigue, weight gain and digestive problems. Yoga helps stimulate, activate and balance the glands and organs responsible for hormonal health – mainly the pituitary gland, adrenals, thyroid and ovaries. It can aid with the movement of lymph fluid around the body, and this elimination of toxins helps balance hormones naturally.
Suggested Pose: Supported Sukhasana (easy pose) – Sit in a comfortable cross legged position on the floor in front of a chair. Rest your head on the chair and just allow everything to relax. This will not only help to stimulate the pituitary gland but also any poses in which we are deeply supported and at rest will help to aid the adrenals. One of the best things you can do for your adrenals is to breathe slowly and deeply, so combine this with any restorative poses.
-Strengthens bones: On average 80 % of osteoporosis sufferers are women so it’s important for us to take bone health seriously. Weight bearing yoga poses help to build bones and improve bone density in a safe way that is low impact and doesn’t add any unnecessary pressure and stress to the joints.
Suggested Pose: Virabhadrasana 2 (warrior two) – This strong pose will help to greatly increase strength in the legs, ankles as well as arms and shoulders. Stand with your feet around 3-4 feet apart. Turn the left toes in around 5 degrees and the right toes to 90 degrees. Bend into the right knee keeping the knee over the ankle in line with the third toe. Reach the arms out to either side and reach strongly through the arms relaxing the shoulders.
– Reduces stress: Stress can be unavoidable and as women we can take on the role of the multi-tasker and be many different things to different people . Yoga helps to reduce stress levels by regulating the breath, relaxing the body and bringing us into the present moment where we can find a sense of calm.
Suggested Pose: Balasana (childs pose) – Stand up on the knees and then gently start to sink the buttocks back towards the heels and rest your torso forwards over the thighs. The forehead will either rest on the floor or you can make fists with the hands and rest the forehead on the fists. Keep the knees together or wider apart, the arms out in front or behind you by the sides – find your most comfortable place. Breathe deeply and feel the calming effect on your entire body and mind.
– Aids with your menstrual cycle: A regular yoga practice can help to regulate your cycle, reduce symptoms of PMT, lighten heavy bleeding and ease cramps and pains.
Suggested Pose: Baddhakonasana (bound angle pose) is an all round go to for menstrual problems. It is one of the best poses for helping to relieve cramps and heavy bleeding and if practiced regularly will also help to keep the ovaries healthy and regulate your cycle. Come to sitting with the legs straight out in front. Then bend the knees bringing the soles of the feet together. If the hips are tight you can move the heels away from the groin and even sit on a block or blanket if needs be. Either stay upright or fold forwards over the legs if you are able to.
– Tones the body: We all have those body parts that we’d like to see a little more toned and defined. Luckily yoga can come to the rescue and a regular practice will help you to sculpt, tone and strengthen the entire body.
Suggested Pose: Matsya Krida (dolphin pose) – A great pose for strengthening and toning the arms, legs, shoulders and core. Come onto all fours and then place the forearms on the floor with the shoulder above the elbow. You can keep the hands elbow distance apart or interlock the fingers. Tuck the toes under and lift the hips up. Press the forearms into the floor and draw the shoulders away from the ears. For more intensity as you inhale come forwards bringing the chin beyond the hands, as you exhale draw back.
-Boosts Fertility: From the very beginning when you are thinking of conceiving right through pregnancy, birth and beyond yoga can help you every step of the way. With poses that help to stimulate the ovaries and then support the lower back and open the hips yoga is a great friend to have by your side through your journey to motherhood.
Suggested Pose: Fertility – Paschimottanasana (forward fold) – This beautiful pose stimulates the ovaries, uterus and entire reproductive system. Come to sit with the legs stretched out in front of you. Bend the knees as much as you need to so that the belly touches the top of the thighs and reach your chest towards your toes without straining the neck. Stretch out the legs as far as you are able to without rounding the spine.