Yoga – Your Natural Alternative to Menopause Suffering
Known as a hormonal roller coaster, the menopause can be one of the most difficult times of life for many women. The transition through this hormonal phase can take years, bringing with it ever fluctuating hormones and a variety of side-effects. If you believe you are in the perimenopause, you may be feeling bouts of irritability, sleeping poorly and experiencing greater anxieties, this is caused by spikes of oestrogen or a drop in progesterone. If you are also living through a stressful period in your life, your adrenal glands can succumb to pressure and exhaustion.
When entering the perimenopause, it’s a time of nurture. Emotionally, physically and even spiritually, life may seem difficult, so explain to your family and your friends how you are feeling. You are important, so take a holistic approach to self-care and work with your body and not against it. Hormones have a powerful effect on your body, so it’s not surprising that your body will struggle to cope with hormonal shifts. Think about it, if your brain is affected, your memory, mood and sleep patterns are also likely to become affected too.
Yoga can make a big difference in this transitional time. If you already practise yoga, then it can ease you into the menopause more smoothly, but it is never too late to start experiencing the benefits of yoga and reducing the impact of the menopause. Learning to work within each posture, understanding the benefits of each movement and the hold can help, but some of the postures may be too strong at this time, irrespective of your experience and levels of flexibility. Restorative poses may be the answer.
Your Four Poses
A well instructed online class, or attending a yoga class with an experienced teacher, can add the extra confidence you need to practice alternative and supported postures at home, that will benefit your body more during these times. If you suffer with heavy menstrual flow, feel fatigued with unusual mood swings, an adaptive yoga session regularly works best. Many women have found that unsupported inverted postures instigate greater hot flashes, so, support the body by use of blocks and bolsters to alleviate pressure and tension.
It’s important to be flexible within your approach to yoga, every woman will feel differently during the menopause and its build-up, so adapt where necessary.
Some excellent starting postures to reduce side-effects and improve feelings of well-being include:
1. The Supported Lying Down Bound Angle Pose – Supta Baddha Konasana
Place a pillow and blanket under your back for additional support. This posture improves circulation and stimulates the heart. It stimulates the bladder, kidneys and ovaries. It provides a gentle but firm stretch of the groin and inner thighs. It also helps to ease feelings of stress and depression and is helpful for regulation of menstruation and for easing menopausal symptoms.
2. Supported Child’s Pose (Adho Mukha Virasana)
Place a support under the front of the body and the head and this posture will help to calm the brain, easing stress and feelings of fatigue. It works on stretching the hips, thighs and the ankles, but when using a support, also gently helps to relieve neck and back pain.
3. Supported Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Supporting the head while in the maximum position can help to decrease any tension, while calming the brain, easing any feelings of stress or depression. This posture is known to help relieve any symptoms of menopause and discomfort with menstruation. It also helps to energise the body, decreasing fatigue and insomnia. It can aid digestion, high blood pressure and alleviate sciatica while strengthening the arms and legs.
4. Supported Shoulder Stand – using the wall or a chair, (Salamba Sarvangasana)
Using a chair or the wall for support can reduce body tension for this inverted posture. The supported shoulder stand will help to alleviate the menopausal symptoms, reducing stress, insomnia and fatigue. It stimulates abdominal organs and the thyroid gland, while helping to reduce depression.
Always spend time contemplating your body and how you feel after your session and embrace deep relaxation levels to reduce any stress, tension or feelings of depression while in the corpse pose (Savasana).
Your Yoga Soultion
These are just some of the many yoga postures that can be easily adapted to suit your body’s changing needs but yoga can form just one part of any natural menopausal management plan. Meditation can provide many benefits including increased levels of health and well-being; it can help to eradicate daily stressors and to promote inner healing. Providing that you listen to your body, intuitively feeling what is needed, the journey through the menopause will be a much kinder and harmonious one.