Yoga, Hormones, and Fertility Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 7

PMS Relief

35 min - Practice


Maria offers a movement practice designed to offer PMS relief and to clear any liver qi stagnation.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video

May 25, 2019
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Welcome. Today's practice is for PMS relief. So PMS a lot of times will have cramping, sometimes breast distension or low back pain. So the sequence is focused on creating a lot of movement because in Chinese medicine a lot of the reason why we have PMS is from liver chi stagnation which then leads to a feeling of irritability or depression or anxiety. So having that movement really helps to spread and soothe the liver liver chi and then we'll be spending some time working on opening up the hip flexors because sometimes we get PMS because or we get cramping because of tension in the psoas and same with low back pain. It can happen because there's just tension in the front of the hips and then we'll also do some opening for the backs of the hips as well to help alleviate any low back pain. So we'll get started in Varasana and this is a posture I really love when I have my period or I'm experiencing any PMS symptoms and we're going to take our knees together or just hip distance apart. You may want to sit up on a block here especially if it's a lot of pressure in the knees. We shouldn't have any pain or real pressure in the knees. If there's a little bit of stretching here that's okay that's kind of normal for the posture. Toes are pointed straight back and the outer ankles are firmed in and then you start to sit so that the hips would come between the heels and we really want to keep the shin bone and the thigh bone fairly close together so that there's not a lot of pulling in the knees. You can either just stay here or at some point you may want to use a bolster or something we're going to possibly lay back down. So just starting to let these muscles relax and open. Draw your shoulders down your back and just close the eyes and become aware of your breathing, your breath. Letting the chest expand in all directions, the rib cage expand, the lower back ribs expand. Just tuning into your hips, the hip creases, seeing if you can let them relax. And you're welcome to stay here or you can walk your hands back and just start to lean back. As you lean back just start to tuck the tailbone under and forward and lift the front hip bones towards the front ribs, any amount. And this is where sometimes laying over a bolster is nice because you can kind of relax into it, especially as a restorative posture.

I'm going to go to my forearms. You can feel free to join me or not. And you may even want to lie all the way down on your back depending on your range of motion. And just find the effort of lengthening the knees forward, lengthening the tailbone towards your knees. Just starting to find that opening in the quads and maybe the hip flexors. And then we'll start to come up from there. Take your hands forward, lift your hips up and we'll take a low lunge, just bringing your right foot forward and stay on your hands, point your left toes back. Your right knee should be directly over top of your ankle and just start to let the hips sink down. And then from here, you have the option of bringing your left hand down, bending your left knee and reaching back with your right hand. Continue to breathe in and out through the nose. You'll probably feel this a little more in your quad if you've chosen to bring your heel in. And then we'll release that and set the right hand down. Take your right foot back and your left foot forward and just come down into that low lunge, letting the hips sink towards the floor. Really guiding the breath into any areas of tightness.

And then we'll bend the right knee, reach back with the left hand and start to bring the heel in. And if you're getting more out of the previous version, then just go back to keeping that right foot down on the floor. And then from there, we'll release the right foot, set the left hand down, step your left foot back and just lower down to your stomach. Just do a little cobra, roll the shoulders down the back, opening the chest and just press the hands and start to coil the upper back up on an inhale and down on an exhale. We'll do this a few times. Inhale, coiling the shoulders back, chest forward and exhale. Try to keep the pubic bone down on the floor, front hip bones down on the floor. One more time, inhaling, lifting up and exhaling, releasing down. And then from there, we'll just press the hands, lift the hips up, curl the toes under and come to downward facing dog. You can pedal out your feet to open the backs of the legs and stretch the backs of the knees. We'll take two more breaths here, either continue to pedal or just reach the heels down to the floor. One more breath, long deep breath in and out. And at the end of your exhale, look forward and walk your feet to your hands. With inhalation, you'll lengthen, exhale and fold. And inhale, come all the way up to the top, reach the arms up overhead and exhale the arms down alongside the body. Surya Namaskar. Inhale, reach, reach, exhale and fold. Inhale to lengthen, exhale to step back to plank, pull the belly in, legs strong, shift forward and lower to chaturanga. From there, inhale to cobra or upward facing dog, your choice. And exhale to downward facing dog. Breathing in and out through the nose. Three to five breaths here, reach the heels towards the floor, press the tops of the thighs back, press the roots of the fingers down and push the hips away.

Take another deep breath in, complete your exhalation, look forward and bring your feet to your hands. Step or jump. Inhale to lengthen, exhale to fold and inhale to come all the way up to the top, reaching the arms up overhead and exhale arms down alongside the body. One last time. Inhale, arms reach, exhale and fold. Inhale to lengthen, exhale to step or jump to chaturanga. Inhale cobra or up dog and exhale downward dog. Staying and breathing for one, two, and three. Complete your exhalation, look forward and bring your feet to your hands. Inhale to lengthen, exhale to fold and inhale to come all the way up to the top.

Exhale, arms down alongside the body. Surya Namaskar B will bend the knees, sit the hips back and inhale to chair pose. Exhale fold forward. Inhale lengthen, exhale step or jump to chaturanga. Inhale cobra or up dog and exhale back to downward facing dog. From downward facing dog we'll step the right foot forward, bring the left knee down to the floor again, point your left toes and inhale come into a lunge and reach the arms up overhead. So just back off the bend in your right knee a little bit. Take a moment to really lift the front hip bones up, drop the tailbone down and then start to bend the right knee a little deeper if that's available to you. So we just move the stretch higher up into the hip flexor. Then simultaneously lift up out of the waist as you reach the arms to the ceiling. Then take hold of your left wrist with your right hand and just raise the left wrist a little higher to the ceiling, really moving it the stretch into that left hip bone just inside the left hip bone.

Okay, guide the breath to that area and then we'll exhale release, curl the back toes under, straighten the back leg, pivot the back heel down to the floor. Let's take one inhale up into warrior one and exhale release. Set the hands down, pick up the back heel, step back and lower. Inhale cobra or up dog and exhale downward facing dog. And we'll take the left foot forward, bring the right knee down to the floor and point the right toes and inhale. We'll take the hands onto the left knee. Actually let's bring them right up overhead. Back off the bend in your left knee a little, adjust your pelvis by lifting the front hip bones up and dropping the tailbone down, then possibly start to bend your knee a little deeper. Then reach up through the arms, continue to lift the front hip bones up, drop the front lower ribs down a bit and grab a hold of your right wrist with your left hand and just use that to lengthen your right side body a little bit more. And then release the hands down to the floor, curl your back toes under, pivot your right heel to the floor, press the outer edge of the foot down, keep the back leg straight. Tuck the tailbone under as you inhale, lift the arms up overhead, Virabhadrasana one, warrior one and then exhale, release, set the hands, pick up the back heel, step back and lower. Inhale, cobra or up dog and exhale back to downward facing dog. And breathe three to five breaths, smooth even deep breaths. Press the tops of the thighs back, kneecaps, lift up the thighs. Really let your whole torso expand with the inhale, contract with the exhale. And your next breath, look forward and bring your feet to your hands. Inhale to look up and lengthen, exhale to fold, bend your knees, sit your hips back, inhale, Utkatasana and exhale, Samastitihi. One more time, bend your knees, inhale, Utkatasana, exhale fold, inhale to lengthen, exhale step or jump to Chaturanga. Inhale, cobra or up dog, exhale downward dog, step the right foot forward, pivot the left heel down, inhale, come up into warrior one and exhale all the way down to Chaturanga. Inhale, cobra or up dog and exhale downward dog.

Step the left foot forward, pivot your right heel down, inhale, Virabhadrasana one, warrior one and exhale lower down. Inhale, cobra or up dog and exhale downward facing dog. Once in downward facing dog, regain control of your breath, try to lengthen the breath, calm the mind by slowing down your breathing. Let's take one more deep breath in, exhale completely and walk your feet to your hands or jump. Inhale and lengthen, exhale and fold, bend your knees, sit your hips back, inhale to chair and exhale, stand up tall. Uttita Trikonasana will open up to our side, take your feet about one legs distance apart and we'll turn the right toes out and the left toes in at an angle. Wrap your outer right hip into center, the right sitting bone towards your left thigh, press the root of your right big toe and lift your right knee cap up your thigh, take a deep breath in, reach through the arms and with the exhalation you're going to draw your right hip crease back, lengthen out over your right leg and set the hand anywhere along the shin or if you take your hand to the floor you'll reach your hand, your fingertips to the floor outside of your foot and the left arm will go up to the ceiling. You can turn to look towards the thumb if that feels okay on your neck. Take a few deep breaths here, about five breaths with each inhalation expanding the chest, each exhalation pulling the lower belly in, finding a bit of length in your tailbone and then we're going to transition to Ardha Chandrasana. So you can take your left hand to your hip, we'll bend the right knee and reach your right hand forward about a foot in front of your right toes and your thumb will be lined up with your baby toe. Then you'll just step your left foot forward about a foot and then from there from your outer right hip in you'll start to straighten your right leg and simultaneously lift your left leg up until it's about parallel to the floor. You can also place your right hand onto a block if this is too low. You can stay looking down at the floor for balance or you can reach your left arm up to the ceiling and then start to turn your head and look towards your left thumb and once you've found your posture, radiate in all directions reaching out through all your limbs, your fingertips, both feet.

You can either stay here or take this into chapasana. You'll bend your left knee. I always turn to look to the floor for balance here and then you start to take it into like a dhanurasana, reaching your left leg like you're trying to kick the leg straight simultaneously, starting to open up the chest like a bow and then you'll release your left foot. Come back to trikonasana for one beat and then exhale. Find your trikonasana and an inhale will come up and exhale parallel the feet. So your left side, turn your left toes out and your right toes in at an angle and if you're working with the block, you'll bring the block to your left side. Inhale, reach out through the fingers, exhale and fold out over your left leg, setting your left hand down to the floor or a block and starting to revolve the chest open to the side. If it feels okay for your neck, you'll turn to look up to your right thumb. And from here, we'll take the right hand to the hip and we're going to transition into artichandrasana. So you'll look down to the floor, put a soft bend in your left knee and step your left hand forward about a foot in front of your left toes, your thumb in line with your pink, your baby toe and just step onto your left foot and bring the right foot forward about halfway and then flex your right foot. Keep that leg nice and straight as you start to rise the right leg up level with the floor and then you'll start to maybe straighten the left leg a little deeper, rotate the chest open and possibly raise the right arm up to the ceiling. If you raise the right arm up to the ceiling, you can also turn to look up at it. You have the option of staying here or you can take that into chapasana, look down to the floor, bend your right knee, grab a hold of your ankle and then like you're starting to straighten the right leg and open the chest at the same time, taking it into a back bend. You can either stay looking down at the floor for balance or you can start to turn your head up towards the ceiling. If you're in chapasana, you'll release your ankle, straighten the leg and then with an exhale, we'll bend the left knee, step back into trikonasana and then with your next inhalation, you'll come up, parallel your feet and step to the front of your mat. Release the arms down alongside the body, inhale and come up, reach the arms up overhead, exhale, hinge at the hips and fold forward. Inhale, lengthen, exhale, set the hands, step or jump to chaturanga. Inhale, cobra or up dog and exhale, downward facing dog. And from our downward facing dog, we'll look forward and jump our feet through our hands or step our feet through our hands. We'll keep the legs out in front of us straight and we'll just bend the right knee and step the right foot across the left knee and interlace the fingers around the right knee, press your sitting bones to the floor and lift your low back up, lift your chest up and then we'll take this into a twist. So take the left arm around the right knee, the right hand behind. This may be an option or you may reach the left arm up and work the left elbow or shoulder to the outside of the right knee. And again, find some height, length and possibly turn the head to look over the right shoulder. But we don't want to crank at the neck. Make sure the entire spine is twisting so your chest should be starting to open up to the right before you even consider turning the head. And you also have the option to wrap here, threading the left arm through and reaching for your right wrist. And then we'll release that and straighten out the right leg and then we'll bend the left knee, take the left foot across the right knee, interlace the fingers, lift the low back and start the twist to the left, turning and possibly take the right arm up, work the elbow or shoulder outside of the knee and turn towards the left.

And you have the option to wrap here as well. Each inhale, find length up through the crown of the head, through the chest and exhale twist a little deeper. And then let's release that, look forward and we're going to set up for pigeon pose. So to come into pigeon, we're just going to start to take the left foot back and bend the right knee and we'll take the left knee back. So one way of doing pigeon is just to flex the right foot and keep the right shin bone parallel to the front of the mat and keep the right hip on the floor. And then from here you can just start to fold down into it. Another option is to elevate that right hip by sitting up on a block or a blanket. And then you can always straighten the back leg and this foot can come in and both hips can lift up. You can put something underneath your right hip here as well and then over time start to drop the hips down. The hip will come to the floor and then to increase the intensity you just start to bring that shin bone parallel to the front of your mat. You can stay upright or start to lower down. Find a place where you can breathe but you will most likely feel some sensation in that outer right hip. And if it feels okay for you to lie all the way flat on the floor, feel free to stretch the arms out to the front and take your breath into that right hip.

Keep angling the left hip down towards the floor with each exhale, surrender, let go. And the obvious places where we're holding or storing tension are in the hips here but pay attention if you're gripping in your jaw, your cheeks, your shoulders, your abdomen. Soften everywhere, your hands, your toes. We're going to hold this just a bit longer. Maybe you can move a little deeper into it. Maybe you need to back off a bit.

We'll start to come out of it, walk your hands in and we'll just lean into the right hip and swing the left foot forward and we'll set up on the right side so finding the same variation you did on the other side. Of course you could have a big difference in range of motion from side to side so one option is to bring the shin bone parallel to the front of the net and keep the right knee bent and then just kind of see how deep and far into it you can go. And the other option is to straighten out the back leg, bring the top of the back foot down, start to square off the hips. You can either bring the left heel in or keep the left shin bone parallel to the front of your mat and then maybe start to fold down into it. Elevate your hips if you need to, put a blanket or a pillow, a bolster underneath that left hip. You shouldn't feel anything in your knee.

And if you do then come out of it, set up with a blanket or a bolster. I'm sinking deep into it, letting the breath be your guide. Let the breath soften your tension, the belly relaxes, the hip, shoulder jaw, cheeks, hands. Be here a bit longer, make any adjustments you need to going deeper or coming out a bit. And then we'll slowly walk the hands in coming up and we'll sit into that left hip, swing the right leg forward and we'll come into Shavasana.

So lie down on your back, straighten the legs out in front of you. And turn the palms open to the ceiling with the arms alongside the body. And just soften the breath. And as you sink deeper into your relaxation, you may find that your breath becomes more shallow. And that's perfectly fine, as long as you're not holding the breath.

Slowly stretch out through your fingers and toes. And when you're ready, you'll reach your arms up overhead. And we'll bend the knees and slowly roll over to our right side. And from there, you'll press your left hand to the floor and come up to seated. Just come to a comfortable seated position and bring your hands to prayer position at the heart, gently bow the head. Thank you. Namaste.


Sylver M
1 person likes this.
Thank you! That was just what I needed! XO
Amy P
I found that practice quite challenging. I haven't been keeping my yoga practice up in the last year, only dipping into every now and then but even still. I feel that it was a much higher level and I didn't have fun. I think the transitions are very quick and don't really allow for someone whose fitness levels aren't as good as the once were. Hoping that it stands to me though during this month's cycle. 
Maria Villella
Hi Amy, 
Sorry if it’s a bit quick or challenging. Perhaps you need a bit more restoration before your period. This video is more to move energy strongly and open up the areas in the front of the hips and lower abdominals because I’ve found that when women have strong PMS symptoms that helps. But we’re all unique and right now this might not be the right approach for you. Always honor your body. 🙏
1 person likes this.
Maria, I love your instruction and the energy you offer to your classes. I’ve enjoyed a few others dealing with hormones and appreciate how you add elements of Chinese medicine to the practices (I resonate so deeply with that tradition). In gratitude, ali
1 person likes this.
Thank you Maria!!! I feel very held by your practice and presence!
1 person likes this.
This was the right amount of challenging balancing postures and movement for me. My energy was all over the place today and this really brought me back to center. Thank you!
Maria Villella
Vanessa so happy to hear that!  It must’ve been in the air today, I was all of the place too. It’s so great to have grounding practices. 
Laura M
1 person likes this.
Thank you!!I love this series!! I hope you do more seasons!!
Maria Villella
Laura M I’d love to. Stay in touch and follow me on social media. Im going to be teaching much more and might even do some zoom sessions. 

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