Yoga as therapy 2: Yoga during Menopause
I am continually inspired by the students that walk into my class. We are all fighting our own battles, but to walk into a yoga class not knowing what to expect, or how your own challenges could react to the class; that is bravery, and I try and honour this in every one of my classes.
(I know, this is a very female-centric article, I will try and counter with a male-centric article soon!)
So for those who haven’t experienced it yet. What happens to us during menopause?
- weight gain
- mood swings
- trouble sleeping
Yoga is a great way to reduce these common discomforts associated with menopause, but also throughout our younger lives: the hormonal changes we experience in menopause are the same hormones that affect us during menstruation, which can also cause PMS symptoms. Yoga can serve as a useful tool to help regulate these hormones at any age.
Easy seated Pose (Sukhasana) with meditation is the perfect pose to help stabilize the fluctuation of hormones. Sit cross-legged in a comfortable space with your eyes closed and take three deep breaths. Allow your mind to rest as you, bring your attention to the breath, relax, and try to just Be. For as long as you need.
Here are five ways yoga can help ease the transition of menopause for women:
1. It lowers stress. The slow steady breathing we practice in Yoga helps reduce anxiety. It can also help clear tension and negativity from the mind, leading toward a more calm state. Practicing Yoga regularly can increase your sense of calmness and as a result, happier and more stress-free feelings.
2. Physical pain and discomfort is reduced. Aches and pains caused by menopause like back and neck pain, and the pain associated with the menstrual cycle; can be eased with a regular, gentle yoga practice.
Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar) helps to increase flexibility and work every muscle in the body. Try practicing a few rounds a day.
3. Relieving Hot flushes. Some asanas that can help include Seated Half-Bound Lotus Pose (Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana, Half Lord Of The Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana), and Reclined Lotus Pose (Supta Padmasana).
Your movements should be slow and calm, this allows the mind to become more calm and stabilized.
4. Blood pressure is lowered. Along with hot flushes, a common symptom during the menopause is night sweats. A regular yoga practice reduces blood pressure and promotes oxygenation and blood circulation in the body. This in turn, can help ease those sweats and hot flushes. Savasana is an ideal pose for allowing yourself to relax and bring your attention to your breath. By taking our focus away from the stresses and strains of the world around us, we are more able to focus on what’s happening right now.
5. Mood. Yoga can help bring you to a calmer place emotionally and physically.
As always, take your Yoga practise with patience and self-love. Dont go in expecting immediate results, but instead try and enjoy the process, the slow steady process, perhaps learning a little more about yourself with every practise. Move slow and with love, wonderful Yogis!