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Pelvic pain affects more women than you think… 1 in 5 females (assigned at birth) are affected by pelvic pain. Conditions such as endometriosis, PCOS an adenomyosis can be a cause pelvic pain.

To honour this month we spoke with Endometriosis Australia ambassador and Yoga instructor Simone Skinner on the breathing techniques and yoga poses she commonly practises to help with pelvic pain. 

No two women experience period pain in the same way. But chances are every woman will experience some sort of bloating, cramping, back pain, headache or body discomfort associated with their period at some point. It’s not pleasant, but it is part of the awe and wonder of being a menstruating woman.

Since puberty, I have experienced debilitating pain and nausea associated with my cycle and endometriosis, a condition affecting 1 in 9 women. Now, at age 38, I have seen countless specialists, tried numerous potions and lotions and been through surgery. My case may be extreme but what I have come to realise is there is no simple cure or answer out there for this type of discomfort... yet. 

My way of dealing with physical pain and mental upheaval is yoga. I turned inward to yoga and that’s where I found physical relief through a healthy body. Creating spaciousness in my pelvic area in particular, and also mental and emotional relief through body awareness and acceptance. Yoga has offered me respite and comfort during some of my worst bouts of period pain. 

Many think of yoga as simply creating poses with our bodies. But the physical aspects of yoga are just one part of the practice. There is so much more to this ancient discipline. Yoga can help ease pain and discomfort by connecting the body and mind through the breath – a powerful tool to have in your period pain toolkit.

Here I share my go-to yoga sequence for dealing with pelvic pain. This routine is designed to cool and calm the nervous system and create space and room through the belly, hips and pelvis. Instead of doubling over or clutching your hot water bottle, this series of poses will help free up the hips and give your body room to breathe through discomfort. 


Yoga sequence

    1. Reclined butterfly
    2. Happy baby
    3. Cat/cow
    4. Child’s pose - knees wide
    5. Pigeon pose - both sides
    6. Square pose - both sides 
    7. Butterfly - forward fold
    8. Legs up the wall - legs wide
    9. Finally finishing with ‘alternate nostril’ breathing. Detailed below.
Yoga-Pelvic-Pain


Breathing Techniques

To begin, sit in a comfortable upright position. 

Rest your least dominant hand in your lap. With your dominant hand, curl the three middle fingers into the palm. 

Close your eyes and place your little finger against the sides of one nostril and the thumb against the other 

Breathe out through both nostrils. 

Block your nostril with your little finger and breathe in through the other nostril.

Unblock the nostril with your little finger and block the other nostril with your thumb. 

Now breathe out through the open nostril on your little finger side. 

Then breathe in through this same nostril before blocking with the little finger and unblocking with the thumb. Breathe out through this nostril.

Repeat this pattern for as many rounds as feels comfortable, breathing in one nostril and then the other.

Namaste. 

With any chronic pain problem, it's so important to find the right support and treatment plan. Chronic pelvic pain is best managed by a team of specialists. Pelvic Pain Foundation of Australia offer a dedicated resource to find health professionals with registered interest in caring for patients with pelvic pain.

Simone Skinner-Smith is an ambassador for Endometriosis Australia and Director of The Mobile Yogi, a Sydney-based yoga school.  

Follow Simone @themobileyogi
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