Millions of women deal with PMS symptoms each month around the world. Some of these symptoms include indigestion, tension, anger, bloating, cramps, frustration, back pain and more. Traditional Chinese Medicine points toward an imbalance in the Liver Meridian as a cause for this "horrid hormone roller coaster" (my words) so today we are focusing on bringing balance and comfort to the body during this lunar cycle. Lots of Liver Meridian work paired with poses to relieve tension, pain and discomfort and bring opening and ease to the pelvic area.
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Supported Bridge with Sukhasana Legs
Hold: 3-5 mins/side
Place your bolster crossways on the mat and sit on it slowly lowering your upper body to the floor and keeping your pelvis centered and supported on the bolster. Cross one leg in front of the other and allow the arms open wide, palms up. Halfway through, uncross and recross the legs. To come out, straighten legs for 1 minute then bend - taking feet flat for 5 breaths before rolling to right side and pressing up.
Dragon Pose Low & Flying Dragon
Hold: 3-5 mins/pose/side
Come into a kneeling position (blanket for knees), take one leg out in front in a low lunge position. Take hands on either side of the foot, lengthen spine then round. Use blocks for your hands to give you support if you hands don't quite reach the floor comfortably. You can lift back knee off the floor and draw it back further then release to the floor. Breathe into the hips and legs, allowing them to release and open. After 3-5 minutes, take both hands to the inside of the knee taking the foot out a little wider to the side and rolling the knee gently outwards. You can use the blocks to support your elbows or hands or come all the way to the floor. Stay here for 3-5 minutes. To come out, slowly ease back and take either Child's Pose or Downward dog for 5-8 breaths. Take the second side.
Hold: 3-5 minutes
Come onto your knees from Downward Facing Dog. Bring your big toes together and knees apart slightly (bringing them closer together opens the front thighs more). Keeping your hips low to the heels (prop with blankets or blocks if needed), allow your torso to drop forward, resting your head on your fists or hands or the floor. Allow your head to be supported fully with the weight on the space between your eyebrows. This will bring some softness to your whirling thoughts and quiet your mind (hold here for 2-3 minutes). Use a block for your head if needed for comfort. Remain here for 3-5 minutes. Gently press up to come out.
1/2 Saddle Pose (Supta Ardha Virasana)
Hold: 2-6 minutes/side
Take a bolster and run it down the center of your body behind you. Sit on one heel with hips about a fist distance away from the bolster (or bed pillows). Take your thumbs and gently roll the calf muscles back (on the bent knee side) and outwards making way for you to sit down on the floor next to your heel (heel should be close to the hip and knee can rise from the floor or stay down, turn outwards slightly or foot can rotate outwards into flexed position - depending on your comfort). If this is too much, you can take bridge pose with hips on the bolster and upper body off (legs straight or bent knees). You can also place a block under your hips for less back pressure. Take your hands to your hips and gently lift them tucking the tailbone under slightly and lengthening the lower back. Begin to sit back and allow the bolster to support your entire upper body. Take hands up overhead and hold or rest hands along side the bolster. You can bend the straight knee and take the foot flat if that feels okay for you or allow the knee to fall out to the side bringing the foot to the inner thigh. This pose can bring up a lot of resistance so try to really breathe into the sensations and know that this pose won't last forever! To come out, take hands along side the bolster, tuck your chin to your chest and lift slowly up. Roll over to the straight leg side and unfold your leg. Take a 1 minute Downward Facing Dog to transition to the other side.
Tipsy Half Frog
Hold: 2-5 minutes/side
Come onto your belly placing elbows under shoulders or slightly in front as if taking Sphynx pose. Pull your body forward slightly using your hands and then relax your entire body. Gently slide your right knee out to the right level with your hip and take your right ankle level with your knee at a 90 degree angle. Softly flex your foot. Breathe here and allow gravity to pull you down and slightly forward. You can rest your head on a block or drop your chin to your chest. To come out, gently tuck your foot back in and slide the leg back to straight. Rest here with your forehead on your hands for 8-10 breaths or take 10 cat/cows. Return to your Sphynx pose and take the second side.
Reclined Shoelace Pose (Supta Gomukhasana)
Hold: 3-5 minutes/side
Cross your right leg over your left and bring your knees into your chest grasping the shins, ankles or feet with your hands. You can take the feet wider or remain with a tighter twisted legs position. Settle your shoulders on the floor and allow gravity and a little arm power to bring the legs in closer to the abdomen. Breath and sense the space you are making here. Feel everything unwind and open. Before taking the second side, take your hands wide and allow the knees to drop over to the left for Twisted Roots below. When you finish, return and take the second side.
Hold: 2-6 mins/side
Come onto your back and take arms wide - level with shoulders or bent elbows (more chest opening) and cross the right leg over the left - winding once or double wrap. Press through the foot and gently shift hips over to the right. Drop knees over to the left and turn head to the right. Allow gravity to take the knees over and if you feel you can, walk the left toes back behind you more for more twist. To come out, engage your core and bring legs back to center. Drop feet wide on the mat and let knees come together. Breathe here for 8 breaths and continue to second side.
Hold: 5-10 minutes
Allow the heels to settle out to the corners of the mat, slide your shoulder blades underneath your body, and take your hands out to the sides, palms up. Place the bolster under your knees and allow the feet to drape. Place a folded blanket across your pelvis. Take some deep breaths, coming back to the 3 part breath - first in the belly, then in the chest and finally the collarbones - and extend the exhale even longer. Allow yourself to sigh a few times and let it all go! Take a 6 count inhale, 6 count exhale, 6 count hold at the bottom of the exhale for 3-5 rounds. Focus on your breath and let go.
I have been "playing" and experimenting with yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living since my late teens - researching, testing, reading, investigating, and learning anything that would make my life - and the lives around me - better naturally.
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