According to data produced by https://www.endometriosisaustralia.org/research, in Australia, Endometriosis affects 1 in 9 women and there are 830,000 women in Australia who are living with this condition. Endometriosis is a chronic illness that is not only painful but that can often have detrimental impacts on work, relationships and the mental health of sufferers. Endometriosis is also not easily diagnosed with surgery being the only real way to determine the level of severity and on average it can take up to 6 ½ years to receive this diagnosis.
As someone who has experienced and continues to be impacted by this illness, I have a toolkit of ways to help me on the bad days including yoga poses with the added support of my favourite Abundant Natural Health products that can help with the management of pain and overall wellbeing.
More gentle, mindful and restful ways of practicing yoga are recommended during pain or discomfort as heat and over stimulation of the abdomen and pelvis can exacerbate the area and may be a catalyst for a flare-up.
I love gentle yoga to relieve stress, discomfort and tension in my body and mind. In this sequence we use the support of blocks and blankets however if you don’t have blocks you can use a small stack of books and a couple of rolled-up towel and cushions/pillows are also useful to have on hand too. And if you would like something to cover your eyes for when we move onto the floor, have this close by too.
I start most of my classes with Cat/Cow as it helps to create mobility through the spine, the heart and the hips. This is a really gentle way to soften through the lower abdominals when you are feeling discomfort and to also open the heart when you are not feeling yourself and need to feel loving kindness in times of difficulty.
Come on to all fours, knees underneath hips and shoulders over the wrists.
Ground down through your hands, fingers spread wide with the tops of your feet flat on the ground, toes pointing back.
As you inhale, move your chest forward, drop your belly and lift your gaze slightly, moving into cow position. Really take your time, moving gently and with purpose.
As the exhale comes, tuck your tail bone and round your spine arching the back like a cat.
Move forward and back like this as many times as feels good for you, taking your time and moving slowly.
Malasana is a deep squat that aids in strengthening the pelvic muscles and may improve circulation to the organs located in this area. It also gently opens the inside of the thighs and hips. Sitting up straight will help to bring a stretch into the lower back. In this version we will support our seat with a block or books as we come into this pose.
Grab your blocks/books and place them on your mat.
Begin by bringing your hands together at your heart and extend your feet a little wider than your hips and turn your toes slightly outward.
Start to lower down, keeping your body as upright as possible.
Once you are all the way down, lower your buttocks gently onto the blocks. Gently open the thighs by pushing the elbows into them.
Breathe here for a few minutes.
*A note - we are using the blocks as soft support not as somewhere to just plonk our bum and hang out. We are still engaged, sitting upright and creating an opening of the heart and a lowering of the tail.
Reclining twist can help relieve bloating from inflammation caused by endometriosis. Be gentle here as we are aiming not to “fire up” heat in the belly but to simply “wring out” some of the tension in the midsection.
Lie down on to your back and bring your knees up toward your chest and extend your arms into a T shape with palms face up.
Bring your knees over to the left side and turn your head over the opposite shoulder. If needed, bring a block/cushion or blanket under or in between the knees for extra support
Stay here and breathe.
When you are ready to change position bring the knees to centre. Bring your knees over to the right side and turn your head over the opposite shoulder. Again, if you need support place a blanket underneath or in between the knees.
SUPPORTED CHILD'S POSE
Supported child's pose can help to soften around the hips, pelvic floor, and abdomen. With every breath, feel as if you are melting onto the bolsters and letting go of all tension.
Have a bolster or a couple of folded towels ready - when folding towels fold them so they are long not in a square.
Place the bolster or folded blankets on your mat to create a support for your torso. Come to kneel in front of the bolster or blankets and bring your knees wider than your hips and touch your toes together.
Relax your body forward over the bolster/blankets.
Rest your left cheek, chest, and body onto the bolster/blankets. Relax your arms in any position that feels comfortable for you.
Breathe deeply, letting go of tension as best you can. Remain here for up to 10 minutes, turning your face to the other side half way. To exit, gently press on your hands and come to sit up.
LEGS UP THE WALL
This posture is one of my favourite all time yoga poses and can support everyone and you can stay here for as long as you like! Legs up the wall helps the pelvis to soften and calms the nervous system leading the person practicing it to feeling relaxed and restored – I absolutely adore this pose!!
Take your mat to a wall with short end right against it.
Lie down so that your body is parallel with the wall.
Hug your knees to your chest and gently swing your legs up the wall so that the backs of your legs are against it and your feet are flat. You might need to shuffle your buttocks a little bit closer to the wall.
If you need extra support you can place a pillow or blanket under your sacrum. You can also have a gentle bend in your knees.
Relax your arms by your side, place them on your belly or take hold of opposite elbows overhead.
Close your eyes and breathe gently, paying attention to your body softening. Remain in this for as long as feels good for you, I would usually suggest 10 mins at a minimum.
SUPPORTED SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA
This beautiful pose stimulates abdominal organs like the ovaries, bladder, and kidneys and especially helpful during significant times of pain, bloating, or discomfort. Find a sense of calm and grounding with this supported pose and use a couple of cushions/blocks to support your knees.
Fold a small blanket or towel and place it on your mat. Come to lie with your pelvis supported by the towel and bend your knees, placing your feet on the floor.
Bring the soles of your feet together and knees out wide. Place blocks or blankets under the knees for support and place your hands away from the body with palms facing up.
You can place an extra blanket over your body here and something over your eyes.
Shavasana is the ultimate relaxation pose. This is the perfect time for you to turn on some relaxing music and to drift off into a well deserved rest. Stay here for as long as you like and until you feel calm and are able to let go of discomfort.
Roll up two towels/blankets long ways.
Come to sit on your mat, placing one of the towel/blanket rolls under your knees and the other under your ankles.
If you would like a blanket to go over your body and something to cover your eyes, now is the time to grab these and bliss out in this very relaxing pose. Feel the weight of your body on the floor as you relax and let go. You could also have your heat pack or water bottle on your belly for extra comfort.
I hope you enjoyed this sequence of yoga poses and that this gentle sequence can help to support you through the challenging experience of endometriosis.
If you want to learn more or would like to get in touch, please check out my website www.sproutwellnesswithromney.com.au and via Instagram @romneystanton and Facebook @sproutwellnesswithromney.
Abundant Natural Health's Magnesium Bath Soak is perfect for pain relief. Use the code Endo21 and receive 10% off your Magnesium Bath Soak order. Valid on 27 March 2021 only.
Keen to receive more tips on how to live a more balanced life? Stay tuned for an exciting series starting April with Romney.