We all know that our fluctuating hormones that can (and will) cause a wide range of symptoms as we approach and go through menopause.
While some women may be tempted to immediately look for a medication (know as HRT = Hormone Replacement Therapy) to help balance the hormones and reduce the symptoms, there are many other options.
Yoga has been shown to help alleviate many of the symptoms brought on by menopause.
Let’s start with some of the most annoying menopausal symptoms and how yoga can help.
While the exact cause of hot flashes is still unknown, it’s one of the most common symptoms of menopause. Studies estimate that nearly 80% of all women experience hot flashes.
Hot flashes cause a rise in core body temperature along with a rapid pulse rate. Disappearing as quickly as they appear, hot flashes often leave you feeling cold while your body tries to correct the fluctuation.
Cooling and restorative poses, such as Supta Baddha Konasana, also known as the Reclining Bound Angle Pose, and Supta Virasana, also known as the Reclining Hero Pose, encourage softening in the abdomen and chest.
Poses that require gripping or tension in the body can make hot flashes worse, so using props to support the whole body for these poses is a good idea.
Anxiety And Irritability
When a woman is going through menopause estrogen spikes, causing anxiety, nervousness, stress and irritability. When a person is under stress, blood circulation to the brain is increased by the sympathetic nervous system. When the body is under constant stress, say from spiking estrogen surging through your body … the sympathetic nervous system can get stuck in overdrive.
To soothe the mind and reduce stress, yoga poses that involve bending forward and shutting out distractions and stimuli can be a big help.
Two poses that will help are Uttanasana, or the Standing Forward Bend, and Prasarita Padottanasana, also known as the Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend.
Again, if you’re new to yoga … practice these poses with your head resting on a bolster or folded blanket to reduce tension.
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Fatigue is the second most common complaint when it comes to menopausal symptoms.
Progesterone levels are plunging and this is likely the cause of the fatigue.
Gentle supported back bends are great to help with fatigue because they encourage the chest and the heart to open.
A deeply restorative option is the Supta Baddha Konasana, also known as the Reclining Bound Angle Pose that also works for hot flashes. It works so well because it improves respiration and circulation.
Depression And Mood Swings
For many women, menopause is a time for mourning the passing of their youth, as it signals an end to the child bearing years. Long periods of fatigue combined with a sense of mourning for the life they once knew can trigger bouts of depression.
Supported back bends allow a sense of lightness into the body.
Another great option is inversions, such as Sarvangasana also known as the Shoulder Stand, can help improve a depressed mood.
Menopause Brain Fog
Massively fluctuating hormonal surges = fuzzy thoughts.
This is true for girls going through puberty, pregnancy, and women who have just given birth, as well as women in menopause.
The same poses that help depression -supported back bends and the Shoulder Stand – can also help collect fragmented, fuzzy thoughts.
Two other poses that can help are Adho Mukha Svansana, also known as the Downward-Facing Dog Pose, and Savasana, also known as the Corpse Pose.
These poses encourage deep focused breathing, soothe the nerves, and calm the mind, which can improve mental alertness and also put your body into a state of deep relaxation.
This is just a small sample of the yoga poses that can help you through menopause and beyond.
Take it from me … whether you’re new to yoga, or have been practicing for years, implementing a daily yoga routine that aims to help with menopause symptoms provides immeasurable benefits.
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