Yoga against the Symptoms of Menopause

Submitted by Bonnie Sedan on May 15, 2013

Yoga is a great way to deal with menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, fatigue, insomnia and mood swings. The symptoms of menopause can continue to occur for years after their initial onset as the body adjusts to the new hormone levels.

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Using yoga to lessen the severity of the symptoms calls for a lot of discipline and you will have to practice the yoga asanas or exercises regularly for them to be of any benefit to you. Yoga will not make the symptoms of menopause disappear completely. Instead they will help lessen their severity, making it easier for you to deal with them.


So what, you might ask, is menopause?

Simply put, menopause occurs when a woman’s monthly menstrual cycles cease. It has three stages:

  • Pre menopause – This is the period prior to the cessation of the menstrual cycle during which the hormonal fluctuations are at their highest levels. The menstrual cycles become irregular during this period and other menopausal symptoms begin to set in. This period usually last for approximately five years but can extend for much longer.
  • Menopause – This stage occurs after the menstrual cycle stops completely. The body has not yet completely adapted to the hormonal changes and symptoms such as hot flashes may continue for many years.
  • Post menopause – During this stage the body has adjusted to the new hormone levels and menstrual symptoms have stopped completely. This stage lasts throughout a woman’s life.

The symptoms experienced during menopause are the result of changing hormone levels. The restorative powers of yoga help to improve the functioning of the endocrine system. This helps to smoothen out the hormonal fluctuations, helping to calm both the mind and the body. Some of these restorative poses are the inversion poses.

Yoga inversions are poses where the head lies below the level of the heart. These are also known as upside down positions. Some of these include the Headstand and the Shoulder Stand. They help to balance the endocrine system and have a calming and soothing effect.

Two of the common symptoms of menopause include hot flashes and fatigue.

Hot Flashes and Yoga

Almost 80% of all women going through menopause experience hot flashes. These are caused by an increase in the body’s core temperature and an increased pulse rate. Stress, anxiety and fatigue can all intensify the hot flashes. There are many different yoga poses that can keep your body cool including lying down on the floor with your legs up on the wall. Others include the Supported Half-Plow Pose and the Supported Downward Facing Dog Pose.

Fatigue

This is the second most common symptom in menopause. The “Supported Lying down Bound-Angle Pose” can help overcome this feeling by replenishing the body’s energy levels. If you cannot do this, try gentle supported back bends.

Some of the yoga sequences for relief from the symptoms of menopause include:

  • Supported Lying-Down-Bound-Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
  • Supported Child’s Pose (Adho Mukha Virasana)
  • Supported Downward Facing Dog{ Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  • Supported Shoulder-Stand with Chair (Salamba Sarvangasana)
  • Supported Half Plow Pose with Chair (Ardha Halasana)
  • Supported Bridge Pose - The “Menopausal Bridge Pose” (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
  • Supported Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose -The “Great Rejuvenator” (Viparita Karani)

These yoga “asanas” should be learned at the hands of an experienced teacher. Initially, some of them may prove difficult, but with enough practice you should be able to master them and enjoy their benefits.

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