Using yoga & pilates to reduce pelvic pain
*NB none of the recommendations in this post require standing on one leg by the sea...
I've briefly spoken about using yoga to cope with the pain of endometriosis in a previous blog post which listed lots of other ideas of how to help yourself through a flare up. If you've not explored the positive effects of diet, exercise and alternative medicine then definitely have a read girls.
But that was just a brief paragraph, and the post had such overwhelmingly positive feedback from all the endo communities I'm a member of, that I wanted to delve a little deeper about why it helps and offer some more suggestions of cost-effective ways to try it for yourselves.
As I'm sure most of you reading this know, pelvic pain associated with endometriosis can be caused by a number of things. First and foremost, actual endometriosis deposits within the pelvic cavity which then bleed out every month (yay!). Next on the list is those pesky endometriosis adhesions whereby these deposits have caused two body parts which should be freely moving to glue together (in my personal case this means my ovaries are now glued to the back of my womb instead of floating around freely as they should). And last but not least are the scar tissue adhesions often generated by the recovery of the surgery many of us have to remove the first item on the list - I mean, it's a lose, lose really isn't it?!?
Anyway, the good news is that specific yoga and pilates poses can help alleviate some of this pain by doing a few things:
- Increasing blood flow to the pelvic area to promote healing - time and time again scientific research has shown that the more blood flow you have going to an area, the faster you start to heal. Your blood contains oxygen and promotes cell growth and repair to the affected area.
- Stretching out adhesions - so they are more flexible and ammenable to movement.
- Promoting a calmer, more mindful and positive state of mind - particularly important when suffering from chronic health issues in my opinion.
My personal favourite (and simple) poses for helping my poorly pelvis are:
You can practice all of these easily at home by yourself.
If you want to try more complicated poses then, headstands are a real favourite of mine (they make me feel like I'm airing out my internal organs by flipping them upside down, weird but true) but can be a wee bit complicated unless you know what you're doing and should never be done when it's "that" time of the month. And so is the camel because it just opens up the entire front of your body completely and allows you to breathe deep into your pelvis like never before.
If you want a little more guidance or a more structured routine to follow then check out these free tutorials on YouTube:
- Pilates for Endometriosis & Fibroids courtesy of Jessica Valant - which is just 15 minutes long (this one is courtesy of my Dad who emailed me this the other day)
- Yoga For Pelvic Pain, Endometriosis & Fibroids with Brett Larkin which is a bit more of a commitment at 45 minutes - trust me though, you will feel SO relaxed after a long routine though!
Would love to know if any of you try these, how you feel after and if you'd like me to work with some of my personal yoga teacher friends to develop a whole new routine with a British accent.