Working with PMS, Anxiety, Headaches, Worrying, Mental Fatigue
Thursday @ 4pm Adeline Yoga Studio in Berkeley
After this many years of having a period, you would think that I would recognize "low self-esteem day" when it comes, but no......It generally occurs 2-3 days before bleeding commences and may be accompanied with a headache (migraine for me in peri-menopause) and anxiety (worrying about the future). My first memory of this experience came a year or two after I started menstruating. I was convinced that the world was about to end due to the impending nuclear holocaust (well it was the 1980's!) Sobbing on my mom's lap, she gently asked "are you about to get your period?" to which I replied "yes, why?"
Here is the general sequence of events: I'm feeling fine, even great one day and then the next I feel like I'm fat, undesirable and life is not worth living; two days later I get my period and the malaise has lifted. I started talking to other women using the term "low self-esteem day" and they all could relate. The other piece of it which is trying is that absolutely no rational argument at this time can help this state, because I'm not rational! What I've come to appreciate over time, though, is that while I am not rational, I am exceedingly more intuitive and creative at this time. When I can allow myself to go with this emotionally open and vulnerable state I often get answers to internal questions and am able to look at and heal deep wounds.
The word "irrational" implies that there is something wrong with not using your analytical intellect alone. We are uncomfortable in our culture when people are emotional and sensitive and even more uncomfortable if a woman is "out of hand" in expressing her strong emotions. So instead, we emotionally sensitive, creative souls stifle our authentic selves until some event in our life allows us to break free again. I say again, because, I have a memory of expressing myself more freely as a child which feels like it was tamped down right about the same time I started menstruating.
Below is a sequence for helping with anxiety, pms, worrying and for some headaches (not migraines):
Wear a headwrap especially if you have a headache
- Supported Uttanasana (3-10 min) head on a brick or a chair; rolled blanket in abdomen if tension there
- Supported Prasarita Padattonasana (3-10 min) head on floor/brick or chair; change arm positions as needed to stay
- Supported Adho Mukha Svanasana (3-10 min) head on brick or bolster - they have different effects on the nervous system (try it out!)
- Sirsasana* (3-10 min) only if you have a regular practice of headstand and your physical energy is ok; variations if you have a regular practice and will help you stay in the pose longer
- Adho Mukha Vrksasana*: repeat pose changing hand positions and kicking up from opposite leg x3 or 4 times; hands out, wrist to wrist; hands forward, classic position; wrists facing wall; head looking up at chest; head looking back at wall; keep sternum lifted at all times.
- Pincha Mayurasana*: repeat pose changing hand positions and kicking up from opposite leg x3-4 - palms squeezing brick; thumb and index finger webbing at brick class hand position; palms facing the ceiling with inner wrists at brick; head looking up at chest; head looking back at wall; keep sternum lifted at all times.
- Salamba Purvottanasana over two chairs
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana over a length wise bolster; legs wide in Upavista Konasana if abdomen tension
- Upavista Konasana
- Parsva Upavista Konasana
- Salamba Sarvangasana (in chair if energy low or back hurting)
- Ardha Halasana with a pink roll under the back of the skull, above the occiput (particularly good for headaches)
- Viparita Karani on a bolster at the wall or with calves resting onto a chair
- Adho Mukha Swastikasana with head on chair or block; do both crosses of the leg
*Better to be instructed in these poses by a qualified teacher before attempting on your own. These poses may not be good for headache conditions although they will help relieve tension in the upper back and neck.