Yoga and the Menopause
The menopause can be a trying time for women. Hormonal fluctuations are so powerful at this time of life they can bring on a number of unpleasant side effects; hot flushes tiredness memory loss night sweats insomnia and mood swings. Great uh! But let me tell you how Yoga could get you through this stage of your life.
There are specific Yoga postures that can help control the menopausal symptoms. This is no time for a hard aggressive yoga practice or for slogging away in the gym. What your body needs are relaxing postures to soothe the nervous system and improve the functioning of the hormonal system – especially the hypothalamus gland the pituitary gland the thyroid and the parathyroid glands – which helps the body adapt to hormonal fluctuations.
Below I ve outlined a few Yoga postures that will help you through the menopause. If you’ve never practiced before please find a teacher to guide you through the postures safely. If you have been practising yoga for years you might find the menopause is a time to modify your practice to be far gentler and restorative.
Your Menopause Yoga Plan
Hot flushes. Caused by the over dilation of blood vessels resulting in a hot clammy feeling. A strong yoga practice can make flushes worse. It s been proven that practicing deep Yogic breathing 15 minutes a day will reduce hot flushes by up to 45%. Hot flushes can also be helped with gentle restorative postures that open and relax the body. Use props such as bolsters blankets and blocks to help support the body as you relax.
Anxiety irritability and insomnia. During bouts of anxiety our heart rate can accelerate the breathing becomes shallow and the adrenal glands overwork producing stress hormones which make it difficult to sleep and switch off.
Forward bends such as this Seated Forward Bend rest the forehead on a thick cushion if needed can reduce anxiety. This is because bending forward shuts out external distractions and the mind is soothed as a result.
If insomnia is a problem inversions can sometimes help because they ground the body’s energy and burn off excess anxiety. When followed by restorative postures they encourage a deep state of rest.
Tiredness. The feeling of tiredness can be debilitating everyday tasks become hard and you feel weary for days. Gentle supported reclining poses are excellent for fatigue. Reclining Bound Angle Pose is a great help. It opens the chest the heart and improves respiration and circulation to help lift the spirits.
Depression and mood swings. Yoga practitioners know that everything you do with your body can affect your thoughts and attitude. If you stand tall with dignity–opening and broadening the chest–and walk with confidence you feel grounded happy and in tune with your surroundings.
Backbends are particularly good for depression. They bring a sense of lightness into the body stimulate the adrenal glands and invite the heart and lungs to open and take in more oxygen thus improving respiration and circulation to counter the feelings of depression.
Memory Loss. Yoga helps clear the cobwebs especially if you re feeling tired through lack of sleep. To help mental alertness try Yogic deep breathing backbends chest openers and inversions or the all time favourite Down Dog pose which sends blood to the brain and encourages deep focused breathing. This will help you collect your thoughts.
If you d like to discover how yoga can help you call me Nicole – on 620 147 089 for details of my classes in Calpe & Moraira. I also run yoga holidays on the Costa Blanca see www.yogabreaks.org.uk and can advise on teaches in Javea Ondara Denia Oliva & Benitachell.