Women going through menopause experience fluctuating hormones that can cause a wide range of symptoms with differing levels of severity among sufferers. When women begin looking for ways that may be able to help alleviate menopausal symptoms many start looking for a medication that can help balance the hormones and reduce the symptoms.
Women are often surprised to learn that there are other options including yoga.
Yoga has been shown to help alleviate many of the symptoms brought on by menopause. Let's take a look at some of the common symptoms and how yoga can help.
While the exact cause of hot flashes is unknown, it is one of the most common symptoms of menopause. Hot flashes are experienced by nearly 80% of all women. They cause a rise in core body temperature along with a rapid pulse rate. Hot flashes often dissipate as quickly as they appear but often times leave a woman feeling cold while her body tries to correct the fluctuation.
Cooling and restorative yoga 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.
Any poses that require gripping or tension in the body can make hot flashes worse, so using props to support the whole body is a good idea.
Anxiety And Irritability
When a woman is going through menopause estrogen spikes which can result in feelings of anxiety, nervousness 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, the sympathetic nervous system can be stuck in overdrive.
Yoga poses that involve bending forward and shutting out distractions and stimuli can help calm the mind and reduce stress. Two poses that will help are Uttanasana, or the Standing Forward Bend, and Prasarita Padottanasana, also known as the Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend. Make sure your head resting on a bolster or blanket to reduce tension.
Fatigue is the second most popular complaint when it comes to menopausal symptoms. Reduced progesterone levels are the likely cause of this fatigue.
Gentle supported backbends 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. This is it improves respiration and circulation.
Depression And Mood Swings
For many women, menopause is a time for mourning their youth and vitality. Prolonged periods of fatigue combined with this sense of mourning can bring bouts of depression.
Supported backbends allow a sense of lightness into the body. Another great option is inversions such as Sarvangasana also known as the Shoulder Stand.
Periods of hormonal fluctuations can sometimes cause women to experience fuzzy thoughts which are more commonly referred to as a period of brain fog. A similar type symptom can also occur in females going through puberty, pregnancy, and woman who have just given birth.
The same poses that help depression can also help collect fragmented 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 the body into a state of repose.
This is just a small sample of the poses there are that can help a woman through menopause and beyond. Whether you are new to yoga, or have been practicing for years, implementing a yoga routine designed to help relieve menopausal symptoms can provide both immediate and long term benefits.