In 2017 I was diagnosed with severe level 3 Endometriosis after a laparoscopy which took two hours. The operating surgeon told me that the endometriosis had been there since puberty and that my only recourse was menopause through hormonal treatment. The surgery came after many years of severe menstrual cramps, nausea, diarrhea, lower abdominal cramping, pain with ovulation, and sex.
At 31 I fell pregnant with my first child, a girl – a complete surprise – as I had thought (with all my period issues) I would be incapable of conceiving and carrying.
For the past few years, I turned away from conventional medicine and started practicing yoga. The effect was immediate. The pain receded with each period.
I live a full and active life, run my own business keep up with my lovely daughter – now 2 and a half. I maintain my life and wellbeing with a practice that, once learned, costs nothing. I take a few supplements. I practice yoga for endometriosis every day. I see doctors rarely – yay! Best of all, I have all my organs intact, despite my surgeon’s predictions.
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CAN ENDOMETRIOSIS BE CURED BY YOGA?
Yoga focuses on breathing and body postures, using physical, mental, and spiritual practices that originated in ancient India. Different poses and stretching routines can help relieve endometriosis-associated pain.
Yoga for endometriosis is one of the best alternate forms of therapy. Today I’ll talk about different yoga poses for endometriosis pain relief.
Different types of yoga for endometriosis are used, depending on a person’s preference and needs.
Modern alternative and complementary methods to western medicine have shown some beneficial effects on several chronic diseases.
Mind-body practices such as yoga may improve the immune system, control stress and pain, and can benefit patients’ mental health.
A study conducted at the University of Campinas Medical School in Brazil assessed the effectiveness of yoga practice on alleviating chronic pelvic pain, menstrual cramps, and in improving quality of life in people with endometriosis.
A total of 40 women were enrolled and randomly divided into two groups, one that practiced yoga (28 women) and a control group that did not (12 women). Yoga sessions were 90 minutes and practiced twice a week for eight weeks.
Patients doing yoga for endometriosis reported a significant reduction in chronic pelvic pain and a marked improvement in emotional well-being, self-image, and overall life quality. No significant difference was noted in menstrual cramps between the two groups.
A recent study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that yoga helped many endometriosis patients with chronic pelvic pain (CPP), and had a positive effect on their quality of life.
The authors of the study “The Practice of Hatha Yoga for the Treatment of Pain Associated with Endometriosis” intended to analyze the beneficial impact that the practice of yoga could have on endometriosis patients.
They evaluated the CPP, menstrual patterns, and quality of life of a group of women with endometriosis and associated CPP who participated in an eight-week yoga intervention, and compared them to a group of women with endometriosis and associated CPP who did not practice yoga.
The authors found that the women who practiced yoga had lower levels of daily pain compared to the non-yoga group. And the women in the yoga group reported an improvement in their quality of life, which included areas such as control, emotional well-being, and self-image.
5 EFFECTIVE YOGA ASANAS TO TREAT ENDOMETRIOSIS
1. Baddha Konasana – Butterfly Pose
Badhakonasana is also popularly known as the Butterfly Pose because of the movement of the legs during the posture, giving the appearance of a butterfly flapping its wings.
Targeting primarily the legs, it is the perfect antidote to relax and stretch the muscles of the legs. This yoga pose will relax your body, mind and soul that will comfort your tired feet.
2. Supta Baddha Konasana – Reclined Bound Angle Pose
Reclined Bound Angle Pose, also known as Reclined Cobbler’s Pose, is a deeply relaxing yoga position that is recommended for students of all levels.
This pose instills a sense of deep relaxation. It is not only a restorative posture but also a hip opening asana. It is a basic pose, which just about anyone can try their hand at. This asana is also called the Reclined Cobbler’s Pose or the Reclined Goddess Pose.
3. Sarvangasana – Shoulder Stand
Sarvangasana or shoulder stand is a yoga pose wherein the whole body is balanced on the shoulders. Sarvangasana influences the functioning of all parts of your body. This asana is highly beneficial in maintaining the mental and physical health and is also referred as “Queen of asanas”.
In addition to stimulating the thyroid gland, this pose also relieves stress and depression, improves digestion, opens the shoulders and neck, and strengthens your legs, butt, arms, and abs.
4. Upavistha Konasana – Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend
Upavistha konasana is a seated forward bend that requires flexibility. The term comes from the Sanskrit upavistha, meaning ‘seated’ or ‘sitting,’ kona, meaning ‘angle,’ and asana, meaning ‘pose’ or ‘posture.’
From a seated position, the legs are spread wide and the upper body folds forward. Upavistha Konasana is good preparation for most of the seated forward bends, twists, and the wide-leg standing poses.
5. Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose
The name comes from the Sanskrit words bhujanga meaning “snake” or “serpent” and asana meaning “posture” or “seat”. From a prone position with palms and legs on the floor, the chest is lifted.
Bhujangasana may strengthen the spine, stretch the chest, shoulders, and abdomen, firm the buttocks, and relieve stress and fatigue. Traditional texts say that Bhujangasana increases body heat, destroys disease, and awakens kundalini.
YOGA FOR ENDOMETRIOSIS & PELVIC PAIN
This gentle yoga flow is for any ladies that have pelvic pain, which may be caused by endometriosis, PCOS or period pains. This slow and gentle yoga flow will hopefully help to ease pain and tension through the hips, lower back and lower belly area.
In this yoga for endometriosis we encourage slow and gentle poses and movements which can be tweaked and adapted to suit you, whilst also encouraging a healing and restorative yoga practise for the body and mind.
CAN YOGA HELP WITH FERTILITY?
It’s a question I’ve asked myself a few times: can yoga help with fertility?
Is there a way to expand your fertility naturally, perhaps even through your yoga practice.
Looking for an answer, I finally discovered Uma Dinsmore-Tuli – the teacher to the teachers. She’s been practicing and studying yoga for the last 50 years – yes, 50 – and works internationally, as a teacher and trainer (she’s a PhD, writer and activist as well).
She has trained a total of over 1000 teachers in Yoga Nidra, Women’s Womb Yoga, and therapeutic yoga for pregnancy, birth, and postnatal recovery.
She’s also the author of the incredible book, Yoni Shakti: A Women’s Guide to Power and Freedom through Yoga and Tantra.
“Over the years, many women have discovered that an appropriate yoga practice is a natural support for a healthy menstrual cycle, and a healthy menstrual cycle is a foundation for positive fertility”, says Uma in her book.
The basic guidance is:
- Avoid high power or heating practices during menstruation, to use restful restorative poses instead, during this time.
- During pre-ovulation and ovulation, then gentle movement and energizing flows can be helpful, but it is important not to “over-do” a yoga practice that’s heating and depleting when you are seeking to conceive. With attention and kindness to the cycles of the body, then it’s possible to welcome fertile cycles well supported by yoga for many years.
Uma’s Top Three Yoga Practices to Optimize Fertility
1. Have a Daily Yoga Nidra Practice
Yoga can help with fertility through yoga nidra. This is a deep process of total relaxation that doesn’t require any physical movement, just the capacity to rest still and to listen – so the easiest way to access the practice is to listen to pre-recorded downloads [Uma has graciously linked these downloads for you below].
All you need to do is to lie down comfortably and listen!
2. Practice the “Heart-Womb” Sequence
The Heart Womb Practice [this and more like it can be found in her book, Yoni Shakti]
Sit comfortably, bring hands to heart in prayer position.
Exhale, move hands down in yoni mudra (downward pointing triangle with the index fingers touching and the thumb tips touching)
Inhale, return hands to heart in a prayer
Repeat with a downward facing triangle with your hands from the heart to womb, synchronizing breath and movement with awareness.
3. Practice the Seed-Flower Flow
The Seed-Flower Flow is a deeply nourishing and calming yoga practice that optimises fertility and menstrual health. To practice:
Laying down: EXHALE as you settle yourself so that your knees are bent, feet flat on the floor under your knees. Let your inner knees and ankles be touching. Have your hands on your belly in yoni mudrā as for the previous practice (downward facing triangle).
INHALE reach both arms up, hands extending towards the ceiling and then back above your head, coming to rest on the floor above your head. At the same time as the arms move up, allow for the knees to drop wideout to the sides so that the soles of the feet turn towards each other to touch (supta baddha konasana).
EXHALE and reverse the opening movement: bring the hands back over the body to return to yoni mudrā, and squeeze the legs closed so that the knees and ankles are touching again. Continue to repeat the opening movement with each inhalation, and the closing movement with each exhalation.
All these practices (and more) are described in Yoni Shakti: A woman’s guide to power and freedom through yoga and tantra.
I started to become more open to trying natural remedies to help me feel better. Sure enough, yoga ended up being No. 1 on my list.
I learned quickly that yoga did not just involve being flexible and practicing difficult moves for hours on end. In fact, yoga offers many poses, stretches, and variations.
Yoga has helped me feel alive again. I am certainly not cured and will always have to deal with a bad day, but yoga has taught me to love myself, how to breathe, take a step back, and just take it one day at a time.