Expert Yoga and Diet Tips for Dealing With Your Period Pain

Great news for the beautiful ladies of Shanghai! If you’re like us and you feel pain every month, here is an article about how to feel better without having to use medicine. By understanding where the pain comes from, you can avoid it with lifestyle tips and inventive yoga poses.  Let’s talk about one of the more intimate and hidden issues us girls face.

Where does menstruation pain come from?

Difficult or painful menstruations have multiple causes. Anemia, exhaustion, chills, organic trouble or defects (inflammation of the ovaries, fallopian tubes or womb), even development of the uterus. Furthermore psychological factors can be responsible; fear, disharmony, anxiety, and neurosis are all potentially involved in painful menstruation.

Why is it important to talk about it?

As we all know, women have to pay a high price for their role in maternity; physically and psychologically. Every month we go through the same syndromes as part of the period process. Women deserve days off during menstruation to rest, to detox and to recover. However in our society days-off for this are considered lazy and unwarranted, is it fair?  Why not at least talk about it?

How can yoga help menstruation?  

Nowadays, the majority of women use pain killers or drugs to soothe the pain, nausea and tiredness. But these temporary solutions don’t deal with the root of the problem, whereas yogic practices can solve it.

Dated from approximately 2500 B.C.E. Yoga is derived from a system of psychology, medicine, and cosmic law from the Indus Valley of India. The word yoga derives from the Sanskrit dialect meaning “union”. Its fundamental purpose is to unite the mind with the body and to reintegrate individual consciousness with universal consciousness.

Yoga has a healing effect on the body, mind, and spirit. Holistic healing in the most profound sense, yoga stimulates the body’s innate ability to heal itself. Different asana (poses) and pranayama (breathing exercises) invigorate the body, affecting not only muscles but also our inner and reproductive systems. It balances the subtle energies of mind and body, calms and steadies the nerves, and dramatically reduces physical tension.

Yoga instills the physical, mental, and emotional flexibility to move easily and to bend and flow with the stresses of life.

Yoga asana and pranayama correct the faults or the malfunctioning of the organs by stimulating endocrine glands to create a proper hormonal balance, and by strengthening muscles and organs such as the uterus. The yoga poses help one to relax and rest in the proper manner, which  ensures a proper menstrual flow.

Should we all live in fear of these painful afternoons?

Of course not. That’s why we talk about it.  Jade from Free Soul invites you to experience the powerful healing power of yoga combined with the ancient Indian medicine.

How does it work?

Yoga Poses, sequenced for the menstrual cycle consists of poses with concave action of the lower back; Supine poses, forward bends and groin opening poses.

Concave action of the lower back and extension of the front body stretches the uterus, giving relief from pain / cramps.

Supine poses, when the chest is supported on a soft platform, relaxes and the space of the abdominal cavity increases. This removes compression of the organs and relieves pain. With forward bend poses, the abdomen becomes soft when the spine is horizontal. This allows the physiological processes to continue without strain.

With the groin opening poses, the wide opening of the legs lifts the pelvis and creates space in the abdominal cavity. The reproductive organs are supported by the lift and relax maneuver in the extra space. Plus the leg positions relieve heaviness in the thighs.

What can you do today to prevent your menstruation problem?

If you have menstrual problems it can also come from your food. Keep a journal of foods you’ve consumed plus note your emotions and feelings. As you can imagine,  your state of mind is also relevant.  Keeping a track of your general mood and thoughts is important in a stressful and fast paced life.

Avoid junk food


Based on Ayurvedic medicine’s recommendation you need to avoid heavily processed foods, which contain harmful fats and additives.  It causes inflammation and stagnation in the digestive system which affect the reproductive system.

No cold water during periods

Furthermore cold drinks affect the lungs adversely and bring on coughs, congestion, and irritation, particularly around the time of menstruation, when hormone levels are low. Traditional Chinese Medicine also advises to avoid cold food, because it hinders movement and may cause stagnation in the body.

Avoid sodium

In the five-days or so leading up to your period, avoid foods high in sodium, such as processed and pickled foods, bacon, and soy sauce, especially if you are prone to premenstrual bloating.

Many people find that when they start to practice yoga they become more aware and more respectful of the body. If you’ve never done yoga before, give it a try or find a sport that allows you to connect to your body and understand it better.

If you want to find out more how yoga can help, please join our workshop on 24th Jun

Why Yoga Is Especially Good for Women?

We all know that we need some form of exercise to stay healthy. A study led by Anne McTiernan principal investigator and director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, found that exercise lowers levels of blood estrogen in postmenopausal women. In a similar study, Leslie Bernstein, professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, found that women in the under-forty age group who exercised for at least four hours each week during their reproductive years were 50 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than women who didn’t exercise. Bernstein also discovered that estrogen depletion has a less happy outcome when it occurs in young girls going through puberty. Even moderate amounts of activity can increase the length of menstrual cycles and reduce the number of times a girl ovulates.

Menstrual irregularity is fairly common among young women who exercise to excess. Young women athletes often experience disturbance in their menstrual cycles, with skipped periods and sometimes no periods at all. If periods stop altogether (a condition knows as amenorrhea), women can lose so much calcium from their bones that they candevelop osteoporosis while they are still young.

It’s clear that hormone levels are both affected by exercise and influence the body’s reaction to it. An ongoing study conducted by Edward M. Wojtys, an orthopedic surgeon at theUniversity of Michigan at Ann Arbor, shows that during ovulation (when estrogen production is high) women have about three times the average number of knee injuries than during other times of the month, and are up to eight times more likely to sustain knee injuries than men. As yet, no firm conclusions have been drawn from this study, but it does point to link between hormone fluctuation sand injuries.

There is no denying that exercise is beneficial, and there is no denying that it has its drawbacks. For example, while aerobic exercise stimulates cardiovascular activity and reduces high estrogen levels, it wears out the joints. Running, for instance, places a tremendous stress on the lower extremities.

Many of the exercise choices that women make are done in the spirit of competition. We may feel that we have to keep our bodies thin, hard, and muscular, like men’s bodies. This is understandable, because women now compete with men (and each other) in the workplace. But many exercise regimes deplete women, or are inadequate for women, or both. For example, I have seen extensive damage done to the female reproductive system by weightlifting. By the time she gets to menopause, a women weightlifter’s body is hard and brittle. And the menopausal transition itself can be severely hampered by the hormone system having been ignored for so long.

Yoga is an ideal form of exercise for women because it combines cardiovascular training, muscle strengthening, and weight-bearing activity, but it does not compromise the organs, hormone system, or joints. In face, it keeps them healthy, provided that the balance between rigor and relaxation is met. A yoga practice that is dull and without vitality will not have a positive effect on the body’s systems. At the other extreme, an overzealous and aggressive yoga practice can strain the body just as much as working out on machines in the gym.

As women, we need to be aware of the cyclic nature of our physiology. We must listen carefully to our bodies and use asana and pranayama that will help at a particular time in our cycle. Practices that are suitable at the midcycle, for example, are inappropriate during menstruation. And although yoga is particularly suited to the female body, which is more supple and softer than a man’s, women should avoid overstretching. For instance, a women who understands how to align her pelvic bones and stretch up through her torso and chest during yoga practice will find that low back pain, which can be one of the first indications that a women’s exercise regime is straining her internal organs,becomes a thing of the past.

In summary, a regular, well-considered yoga practice, one that takes into account the cyclic nature of a women’s body, will provide major health benefits. It will support women through out all the phases – menstruation, pregnancy and delivery, and menopause, of her life. It will give her the tools to overcome physical limitations, establish emotional and mental stability, and stay ture to her feminine nature.  

[Refer to book “Yoga – A Gem for Women” by Geeta Iyengar and “The Woman’s Yoga Book” by Bobby Clennell. Chinese translation by Jade Qin

Happy International Women Day! 


Dear all,

I would like to express my deepest gratitude toward each one of you who has been supporting FREE SOUL YOGA in the past couple months,  and to each one of you who has been supporting me on my journey in Shanghai.  I wish you all Happy New Year, and I wish you all a year filled with Peace, Love, Happiness, Heath, Wisdom, Strength, and Adventures in 2017!

Looking back over 10 years life experience in Shanghai, it wasn't easy but I consider I have been very luck. Came to Shanghai on my own in 2005 from a small village with population of 600 people (see pictures below), I wasn't scared at all, instead I was super excited ... because my heart wanted to be here.

I had no plan about the future.. as I didn't grow up that way and no one taught me "to plan the future",all my asset was/still is a pure & kind heart, a simple mind but always willing to learn more, a backpack, and a later-on-added-suitcase.

If you have read my blog, you might have known that I have done many different "jobs":
2003~2005, Waitress- in order to continue my English learning; I have to say, it's the best 3 years in my life as I was super happy learning English.
2006~2010, Part time baby-sitter - to make sure I could have the chance to continue learning web design and to show my gratitude toward my "family" in Shanghai;
2006~2011, Web Designer & Programmer- pure curiosity, and I still wish I could be an engineer one day, love being creative.
2008~now, Yoga Instructor - Pure love and passion;
2009, Part time translator for Yoga Teacher Training course - consider being a translator is the high point you could reach while learning a language.
2012, Marketing Manager- consider myself lucky to be promoted from a web designer to a marketing manager;  
2012~now, Founder of Meetup outdoor yoga, Yogalover Group in Shanghai - pure love and passion, simply just wanted to share what I love with people, especially with those who can't afford to join any yoga studio in town;
2015~2016, Operation manager & yoga instructor for a fitness company in Jinqiao Pudong - daily commute from Jingan to Jinqiao just want to learn more about management;
2016.10~, Founder of FREESOUL YOGA, Originally Yoga Garden - naturally or deep down in my heart it felt so right, it felt it meant to be, like a gift from the universe.

I have to admit after teaching in so many different studios in Shanghai for so many years, "Yoga Garden" was still the best yoga studio and community in town. A big THANKS to Sarah.

I never thought about I would run my own yoga studio in Shanghai but I am doing it now... without any plan... It might sounds scary for some people, but somehow it doesn't scared me at all, instead, it felt like meant to be. All my life has been like this, no plan but dare to have wild dreams, then allow life to come to you. I have to say, I was very happy to be the chosen one who could take over "Yoga Garden" instead of seeing it closed down (in Chinese, we call this Yuanfen), and I am still very happy that we could continue to expand / enrich the spirit of whatever "Yoga Garden" has created ... Without each one of you, this would never happen.

 I am very grateful to have the opportunity to continue offering regular yoga classes to each one of you, and I am very confidence that TOGETHER, we can build up a much better & a stronger yoga community which we could support each other in every aspect in life. Please allow me to say once again THANK YOU!

A new year just started, together with love, discipline, compassion,  dedication, focus, and encouragement, let's make a better 2017!

Thank you all,


Why Come to Yoga Only After You Got Injured?

After nearly a year managing and teaching a group of women who were age from 35-58 years old, I started to ask myself this questions: why people only come to yoga after they got injured? and until today after running my own yoga studio, still, there are people comes to me everyday with pains or injuries in different part of their body, I can't stop asking myself the same question again. Why? Why can't we prevent it at the first place?

The other days, I was following up some clients see if they were interested to come and try some yoga class. and about 4-5 of them told me the exactly same thing: my work has been crazy busy and I don't have time to attend or there are company dinners or events to go to and we can't decide by ourselves etc…I wonder what make the society become like this that we kind lost the right or the freedom to choose to take care our own body/health?

Since 2002 I discovered the beauty of the human body or the moment I started to appreciating the beautiful human body that the universe has created for each of us, I always believe that our body/health is the most important investment. It's the simplest truth but seems that not everyone agree with it or they agree with it but not even trying hard to take care of it. I wonder WHY? When my clients came to me with their knees injures or lower back pains, especially for those who loves repeated workout such as running, cycling, weight training, HIIT, cross fit training etc, I asked myself two questions: 1) How can I help them? 2) How can I help to prevent that happening to other people basically how can I help to stop that happening? It's great to see there are so many fitness studios opening up everyday in Shanghai and knowing people's awareness about fitness or health start to really picking up. It's great!  But how could we avoid injuries? Besides all the techniques you had to learn to making sure that you know what you are doing, what else can we do?  I think we have to find a way to balance it,  and yoga so far is the best. After trying different workout myself, I do highly suggest that to consider including yoga or proper stretching while you are starting a new workout, it's highly suggest to do that before, during and after the workout. I know some people don't like yoga, just like I don't like running but I still give it try… You don't lose anything to try something you don't like right but only to conquer that fear and found that what is like to actually had tried. Yoga isn't scary, if you don't want to enter the spiritual side of it, it's fine, physically, all the movements in yoga has it's scientific effect which help you from injuries. 

If we have a choice to prevent something from happening, why don't we do it? and why don't we do it now? I always tell my clients that: You give it a try and see how your body, not your mind, feels,  your body will know if it's good for it or not. Let your body speaks and we follow body. Don't come to yoga only after you got injured, yes, yoga can help to heal but let's stop injuries from happening at the first place :-) Same as now, begin today and now to take care your body/health by finding a way to keep the body fit and feeding the body with various nutrition food, you and your body will appreciate, espceicially when you are getting old. I know, for people lives in the city like shanghai, everyone is so busy, yes, for the things we can't control, we have to accept, but for the things we can control, let's take advantage of that to be good to ourselves. 

Believe in Your Heart

Believe in your heart that something wonderful is about to happen. 

Love your life.

Believe in your own power, and in your own potential, and you own innate goodness.

Wake every morning with the awe of just being alive.

Discover each day the magnificent, awesome beauty in the world.

Explore and embrace life in yourself and in everyone you see each day.

Reach within to find your own specialness.

Amaze yourself and rouse those around you to the potential of each new day. 

Don't be afraid to admin your less then perfect, this is the essential of our humanity.

Let those who love you help you.

Trust enough to be able to take.

Look with hope to the horizon of today, for today is all we truly have.

Live this day well.

Let little sun out as well as in. 

Create your own rainbows.

Be open to all your possibilities, all possibilities and miracles.

Always believe in miracles. 

The story behind the name "FreeSoul"...

There is always a story behind everything ... I think that is the spark of life. What is the story of the name "FreeSoul"? Before FreeSoul, there was a realization or strong desire for the word "Freedom". Jade spent 4 years studied preventive medicine by the choice of her Dad. That 4 years was probably the darkest years in Jade's life and she was 16 years old.  As the smartest kids in the family and in middle school, somehow Jade wasn't as smart enough or didn't have the encourage to share with her Dad about her dreams - which was going to high school and entering university, she ended up accepting whatever her Dad has chosen for her instead - Normally back then in the village, Dad is the one who speaks loud, everyone else just follows. 4 years of that miserable life washed away by tears in the night under the duvet or a hidden dark corner somewhere in the school campus, even sometime out loud in the class room... You can't change the things that already being done, the only things you can changes are the things you can control. 4 years in school, while all her classmates spending time out shopping or party, Jade found her loves: 1) indulging herself in the lab studying human body -  Anatomy the only subject she was actually interested in Med school 2) checking on the English news papers or magazines in the library and read all different philosophy books 3) Weekend cycling around the city - this was Jade s favor and she was so lucky that the old man who fixes bikes right outside the school campus learned Jade a super girly bike for free and Jade loved riding it... every weekend 4) visiting the flower & birds market - this was another favor part of Jade's weekend surrounded by beautiful things 5) Running up and down the only rocky mountains that right behind the campus in the early morning or afternoon as a workout and at the same, being with the nature 6) Being the mail deliver girl. She somehow loved "this job" so much and she didn't know why... She often felt like she was like a bridge connecting two sides.  Now she knows it's the responsibility that this mail person carries made Jade loved what she was doing   7) practicing the later-on known as "yoga" sequencing after the mountain climbing  8) Read English super loud in the early morning behind the classroom under a yellow longly light ball - that was how Jade practicing her English by reading loud and listening to herself 

See, if you have to do something or forced to do something that you don't like, to balance it out or to continue the life you didn't choose, you have to find things you love to compromise :-) So glad Jade found hers in med school. So after 4 years, with everything she had experienced and gone through, she learned one word, only one word - Freedom. She wanted to be free to do the things she loves and no matter what. That's why after graduating from medicine school, Jade decided without any hesitation to go to Yangshuo - a beautiful county in southern part of Guilin, to continue her journey of studying English - the only way for her back then, also now she thinks it's the best way she found back then, was working in the restaurant as waitress and speaks to all the customers from all over the word:-) And yes, it worked and it worked really. Of course, speaking wasn't enough, Jade started to read English books, with a dictionary of course. The first book she finished - too bad she can't remember the name, but it's not thin, which took her a month to finish. If you run into Jade, speak to her you will see what I meant :-) 

Obviously,  Its has been a very strong desire for Jade to wish to be or to be a FreeSoul since she was 16-year-old. Desires never dies, you just have to re-discover them. Once you discover them, let them be free, let them breath so they can grow then they can fly - that is called the ultimate freedom, a FreeSoul!

Jade's Journey to Yoga & English

Jade began her yoga journey in 2002 while she was a students in med school, at that time she didn't know there was a thing called yoga. As you might heard of stories that kids in rural China couldn't go to school or / and purchase their dreams easily, Jade is one of those kids. Luckily she was able to go to school, but just not purchasing her dreams - Jade has always wanted to go to high school and then university since she was a kid, but as she has two sisters, none of them was able to purchase the dream of university only academic school which was chosen by the father. There has been always fire inside this girl Jade that as long as she finds something she really like or love from her heart, she will continue and no one can stop her.  4 years being in a school study something that chosen by her father didn't stop Jade continuously  searching what she loves from the bottom of her heart, at that time, she found two BIG ones: one was spending every single night in the lab smelling formalin while studying the mystic human body; and second was self-taught her English.  Because of the strong appreciation towards the beauty of the human body-the structures, the different shapes of the muscles and all the beautiful organs, Jade created her own sequences just to stretching the body. That's how Jade began her journey of late-on known as yoga :-)

Another BIG LOVE of Jade back then was English. Out of so many subjects, Jade chose to self-taught herself English because she has a BIG and WILD dream - one day she can go to the USA to meet the president Bill Clinton, even now, the dream still carries…Yes, it was true, having a dream of meeting the former president of the United States was a big motivation of Jade study of English. Some of the people from the village made fun of her by saying, it's easy to go the U.S.A, just found yourself American husband - to Jade, that was absolutely a joke,  and of course she had no idea why people had that kind of thoughts or mindset. Anyway...  Besides this wild dream & ridiculous dreams to some people, Jade chose English because she wanted to find a job that has no requirement for financial status of her or her family, no Guanxi (connection) BUT ONLY her capabilities - back then in  the village, if you wanted to find a job in the state-owned hospitals in town or in the city, you needed Guanxi (connection) or have enough power or money to do so, and Jade hated that and she knew her family had nothing, and she didn't want her dad to be on his knee begging the job for her. At that time, Jade believed that if she could speak better English than the ones that have power, has money or Guanxi (connection), she would have a better chance to get the job. It is this strong believe that brought or formed Jade's life today.  

So, find your love, even it seems there is no way; if you don't know what is your love, continue to search until you find it, once you find it, throw your whole heart to it. If the current circumstances are not your favor, have a believe, a strong believe that can carry you on, when the time is right, your favors things will start to unfold and they will become effortless :-)