The other day a good friend of mine on the heels of turning 45 told me that, in a heat of inexplicable fury, she came close to abandoning her beloved husband and children in a Scandinavian country until she realized she just had PMS. I too am about to turn 45 and suddenly the PMS among my women friends of the same age is off the charts-- emotional, irrational, inconsolable, kind of crazy. My "crazy" related to PMS has always come in the form of severe body dysmorphia. Just prior to my period, I suddenly hate, not just my body, but all of my clothes, my hair, my face. And, of course, like my friends, this affliction seems to be getting worse rather than better as I climb the age ladder.
One thing I always tell my students in yoga is that, if they are filled with criticisms, complaints, distracted self-talk during their yoga practice, they should work harder, push themselves more in the physical realm so their mental Jabberwocky will start to shut off. For me, physical exertion, whether yoga, running, biking, or moving all of my furniture around the house three times, is the only remedy for my destructive PMS mental tirades. It makes sense that when I feel worst about my body, using it is what helps to take my mind off of it. My body has a purpose-- to move.
PMS creates irritability, fatigue, bloating, depression, and a thousand other things depending on who you are. Exercise produces endorphins-- elevated mood, increased energy, even euphoria. It is hard sometimes to exercise when one is in a state of PMS. Who wants to put on teeny tiny clothes and practice yoga in a hot room with a bunch of people who all look great? I do! Amazingly, even when I am feeling at my worst about my body, I want to do yoga. Hormones can be rotten, but they can be really good too. You just have to work the system!