7 Yoga Tips for Menopause

Mix together some hot flashes with a handful of irritability, a great deal of fatigue and a dollop of insomnia. Add a pinch of anxiety, a dash of depression and a sprinkle of violent mood swings. Top it all off with frequent lapses in memory and you've got yourself the roller coaster ride that is menopause.

10 to 20 percent of menopausal women suffer these symptoms to a debilitating degree and can spend years searching for relief. But do not fear! Yoga is here to save the day. Here we give you the top seven tips for embracing yoga through this time of change and explain how your practice can bring you the relief you seek.

1. Embrace Restorative Asanas

Menopause brings additional energy into the body which can feel chaotic and overwhelming. In yogic terms this is considered Pitta energy and when experienced in excess it can be particularly draining on the mind and body. Pitta energy embodies the qualities of fire. Therefore, one way to douse your internal fire is to recruit the cooling nature of restorative yoga postures.

If you’re feeling jittery, unsettled and strung out, perform postures that allow you to relinquish energy and rest. Perform reclined postures such as Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero pose) and Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle pose). Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee pose) is another restorative asana that guides you into a rejuvenating forward fold. Restorative postures need to be supportive so grab as many yoga blocks, blankets, pillows and bolsters you need to release yourself fully into the pose.

2. Turn Your World Upside Down

The intense frustration of spending hours trying to fall asleep is immeasurable. Menopause can induce severe insomnia which has debilitating effects on all aspects of your health. Performing yoga inversions help to burn off the extra Pitta energy that menopause brings. These postures act as an outlet and assists in cleansing your overstimulated system, which in turn induces sleep.

Asanas including Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog), Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Dolphin pose), Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand) and Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand) can provide you with relief and promote a state of rest. Ending your inversion practice with restorative postures is a very effective way to induce deep relaxation and promote sleep.

3. Get Bendy

What goes up must come down. The highs of the over stimulating Pitta energy usually precede a low that immerses the body in fatigue and sluggishness. There are particular yoga asanas that can help to combat your fatigue. They do this by opening up areas in the body that release internal energy reserves and free deeper emotions.

Backbends are fantastic for opening up the chest area. The act of releasing the front of the body in such a way allows the energy from your heart centre to flow freely. This energy helps to pick you up when you feeling lethargic or deflated. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge pose) is a great backbend as it is easily modified. It also allows you to add a head tilt which extends the opening into the throat chakra. Stimulating the throat chakra helps you to communicate honestly, with yourself and others, which is always beneficial when you're feeling low.

4. Modify, Modify, Modify

Yoga is not all about finding the perfect technique. It is about finding the perfect connection, and for each of us this is completely individualised. Your body is changing when it goes through menopause, so your yoga practice should too. Every asana can be modified to fit your exact needs. Turn every pose into a source of support, restoration and rejuvenation. Lay on a bolster during Balasana (Child’s pose), rest your leg on a pillow during Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon pose) or substitute your Trikonasana (Three Angle Pose) for a side opening posture using the wall as a support.

Modifications go further than just your physical postures. If you're feeling flat exchange your breathing technique for one such as Kapalabhati. On the other hand, the cooling Sitali Breath is very effective in easing your frazzled feelings. It is commonly utilised by menopausal women to rid themselves of internal chaos and unsettled feeling.

5. Take The Time to Really Connect

Yoga has the power to overhaul your emotions. There is great healing potential within each asana, and the flows that bind them. But how do you access these healing powers? You need to practice mindfully. Move into a state of pure awareness and active meditation.

Enhancing your practice in this way open your eyes to your own body. You will feel deeply connected with your true self. This deep connection helps you to rise above the existence of menopause in your body. It allows you to detach from your symptoms and feel more yourself. This process of connection helps to lighten your mood, treat anxiety and ward off depression.

Yoga helps you break free from believing you are consumed by menopause. Break free from believing it is everything you do or think. In a time of transition when you feel out of control, yoga puts you in back control of your own body.

6. Stay for Savasana

The physical practice of yoga is purely a gateway to your true Self; your mind, body and soul. Your asana routine is preparation for this journey. This journey occurs during the final posture Savasana (Corpse pose). Amazing repair and rejuvenation occurs in this seemingly simple posture. The health effects you receive are profound and help to combat many of the mental repercussions caused by menopause.

Women can experience short or prolonged periods of confusion or a ‘fuzzy’ mind. Savasana helps to improve your memory by soothing your nerves and allowing your mind to enter a state of stability. The simplicity and deep connection within this posture offers menopausal women clarity of mind and improves your ability to recall information.

7. Combine Yoga with Naturally Therapeutic Practices

Yoga is so much more than stepping on your mat and twisting your body into various shapes. Yoga is a way of life. It is a form of moving, being, thinking and living. Embracing this holistic view will help you address issues that arise from menopause in ale. Combining yoga with other natural healing methods such as Aromatherapy and Ayurveda can enhance your yoga journey quality of life and support your holistic health.

These natural therapies go hand in hand. They guide you to look deeper within yourself and finding the healing capabilities of your body. With greater access to these deeper levels within, you can find the power and knowledge you need to nourish your mind, body and soul been taken along for the menopause roller coaster ride.

Menopause can be uncomfortable. For some it can turn life upside down. Remember, yoga is always there to support you in this very moment. Adapt your practice, be mindful and use yoga's healing powers to lessen the impact of menopausal symptoms. Do this and you will experience changes with a more positive outlook that will help you live a happier, healthier life.

Resource links

Menopause information http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/basics/definition/con-20019726

Pitta Energy information http://www.chopra.com/article/understanding-pitta-how-feed-your-inner-fire#sm.000bj9r991cuff4jsma1im3wmuxrg

Restorative yoga information http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/tips/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-eat-lunch-at-your-desk.html

Reclining Hero pose information and image https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/reclining-hero-pose

Reclining Bound Angle pose information and image https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/reclining-bound-angle-pose

Head-To-Knee pose information and picture https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/head-to-knee-forward-bend

Insomnia information http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/home/ovc-20256955

Yoga inversions information https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/all-about-yoga-inversions

Downward-Facing Dog information and image https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/downward-facing-dog

Dolphin pose information and image http://yoganonymous.com/yoga-pose-breakdown-ardha-pincha-mayurasana-dolphin-pose

Supported Headstand pose information and image https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/supported-headstand

Supported Shoulderstand information and image https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/supported-shoulderstand

Fatigue information http://www.medicinenet.com/fatigue/article.htm

Backbends information https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/types/backbends

Heart centre information http://www.hridaya-yoga.com/meditation-retreats/what-is-hridaya-meditation/what-is-the-heart-center/

Bridge pose information and image https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/bridge-pose

Throat chakra information http://www.chakras.info/throat-chakra/

Yoga connection information https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/body-mind-connection

Supported Child’s pose information and image https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/supported-child-s-pose

Supported Pigeon pose video https://yogisanonymous.com/poses/supported-pigeon-pose-salamba-eka-pada-rajakapotasana

Kapalabhati video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shEhrwqcdAU

Sitali Breath video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4B_Kestynw

Emotions in yoga information http://upliftconnect.com/releasing-emotions-through-yoga/

Practicing mindfully information https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/peace-of-mind

True Self information https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/5043/inner-self

Corpse pose information and image https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/corpse-pose

‘Fuzzy’ mind information https://womeninbalance.org/symptoms-solutions/fuzzy-thinking/

Aromatherapy information https://naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/about-aromatherapy/what-is-aromatherapy/

Ayurveda information http://www.chopra.com/articles/what-is-ayurveda#sm.000bj9r991cuff4jsma1im3wmuxrg


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