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Yoga for Premenstrual Tension

Premenstrual tension (PMT), is a mixture of physical and emotional symptoms that some women experience in the days, or sometimes weeks before each period which usually stop when the period starts. PMT is more common in women over the age of 30 years and tends to stop with the menopause. Nearly all women have some PMT symptoms. However, only around 1 in 20 women have symptoms that seriously interfere with their quality of life.


A long list of symptoms have been attributed to PMT. Some of the more common ones are: headache, bloated feeling, weight gain, breast tenderness, back or lower abdominal pain, irritability or aggression, depression and anxiety, mood swings, tiredness, and/ or poor concentration and they may become accident prone.

No-one knows the exact cause of PMT suggested cause is abnormal sensitivity to hormones. Some women may be more sensitive to the normal levels of the hormone progesterone released into the blood during the second half of the menstrual cycle. One effect of over-sensitivity to progesterone is a reduced level of a brain chemical called seroton in, which is involved in controlling mood. According to yoga this is seen as exaggerated manomaya kosa activity which is. excessively speeded up loop of thoughts in the mind in response to demanding situations ( external or internal). This speed of thoughts when maintained over a long period of time can manifest as uncontrolled disturbances of PMT at the psychological level. Emotional upsurges and outbursts are typical manifestations of this uncontrolled speed. Over a period of time this disturbed balance in manomaya,  kosa level results in prana imbalances. The excessive prana blocks the nadis and settles down in the reproductive system as PMT. Although the PMT appears to be related to menstrual cycle it is a manifestation of a generalism balance. Women with excessive vata prakriti tend to have more symptoms of PMT.


Many women tolerate PMT believing it to be a normal part of being female. However, treatment is available for severe PMT symptoms

A woman can do several things that may improve the symptoms of PMT.

  • Eating a balanced diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables and contains plenty of complex carbohydrates certainly promotes general good health.

  • Taking regular exercise, such as aerobics or jogging

  • 45 minutes of daily morning yogasanas practice may include Suryanamaskara (3 rounds), 3 standing asanas, Badhakonasana, deep abdominal breathing and kapalabhati (20) in viparithakarini, sarvangasana, matsysana and shavasana followed by nadanusandhana for 10 minutes.

  • Regular practice of Nadisuddhi pranayama 12 rounds 4 times a day in the last week of the menstrual cycle

  • Avoiding stressfully demanding situations at home and work in the time before a period is due. Get away from the irritating situation for a few minutes to a solitude, practice Kapalabhati (40/min) for 2 minutes, followed by one cycle of Nadisuddhi and Bhramari chanting. This would have cooled down your emotion and when you get back to the same demanding situation you will be a different person. The reaction would have changed to a much softer one almost to the level of tolerance if not full acceptance as a yogi.

  • Analyzing and avoiding any emotional triggers or stress that make the symptoms worse; discussing these with your partner or a friend who can be a source of support.

  • Concepts of Jnanayoga or Bhakti yoga can be of great help in full acceptance of the situation. Jnana yoga is to realize that all these reactions are temporary waves of the mind and you have the full freedom to stay away from this reactions because your real nature is 'silence' 'freedom', 'ananda' & 'non-reactivity'. The process of yoga is to dwell in this region of your soft expanded blissful awareness under all circumstances with full mastery.



Simple vegetarian wholesome freshly cooked diet served with love, and consumedin good company is recommended by yogis as healthy sattvic diet.

  • Eat less salt to reduce water retention.

  • Avoid stimulating agents like tea, coffee and cola drinks, as caffeine lowers the body's ability to absorb certain essential nutrients.

  • Saturated fats in meat and dairy produce can inhibit the body's production of essential fatty acids, which can result in hormone imbalance.

  • Reduce sugar intake to combat weight gain and depression.

Stress Management

  • Avoid putting yourself under unnecessary stress or setting unreasonable goals.

  • Regular walking/jogging or sports can improve the stamina and reduce stress.

  • Relax the body, slowdown the breathing and calm down the mind to get better mastery over the excessively speeded loops of stress response.

Kapalabhati Kriya at the rate of 20 - 40/min. can be repeated several times in a day to overcome the immediate effect of emotional upsurges.Nadisuddhi 12rounds, 4times a day helps in maintaining a balanced state of mind.And hence start doing Nadisuddhi very regularly during the last week of them enstrual cycle.


Ardha means half, baddha means caught, restrained and padma a lotus. Paschimottanasana is the posture where the back of the whole body is intensely stretched.


  1. Sit on the floor, with the legs stretched straight in Dandasana. Bend the left leg at the knee, and place the left foot over the right thigh. The left heel should press the nasal and the toes should be stretched and pointing. This is the half lotus posture.

  2. Bring the left arm round the back from behind and with an exhalation catch the big toe of the left foot. After holding the left big toe, move the bent left knee nearer to the extended right leg. Stretch the right arm forward and catch the right foot with the right hand, the palm touching the sole.

  3. Inhale, stretch the back and gaze up for a few seconds, without releasing the grip on the left big toe.

  4. Exhale, move the trunk forward by bending the right elbow outwards. Rest the forehead, then the nose, then the lips and lastly the chin on the right knee.

  5. Stay in this position from 30 to 60 seconds, breathing evenly.

  6. Inhale, raise the head and trunk, release the hands, straighten the left leg and come to position.
    Repeat the pose on the other side.


Mastering this asana helps in balancing the entire prana.Stress reduction achieved through the IAYT can go a long way in preventing and treating the problems of PMT as the major triggering factor is stress.

This article has been written by Dr. R. Nagarathna, Dean, Division of Yoga & Life-sciences, SVYASA
This article is published online courtesy
and Arogyadhama

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