Yoga and menopause… can one can help the other?
A regular yoga practice at any stage of our lives will bring a wealth of benefits, both physically and mentally. It can also make a world of difference to a woman’s experience of menopause, easing the transition and alleviate the undesirable side effects.
But not all yoga is suitable for women going through menopause. Some types can exacerbate their symptoms, making them feel worse.
If a woman experiences frequent hot flushes, she is not going to want to attend a Hot Yoga class, Ashtanga or Dynamic yoga which heat the body. Similarly, a woman who is experiencing debilitating fatigue and headaches will not benefit from a fast-paced dynamic and dehydrating class. Those experiencing sudden rushes of rage or anger, will struggle to stay still in Restorative or Yin Yoga. Women who need to build muscle and bone density will need a style of yoga that involves strengthening and balance poses.
Every woman’s menopause journey is different, so the style of yoga practice may vary depending on her symptoms. It’s important for women to listen to their body so they can make supporting adjustments.
Menopause and yoga: how it works
Menopause yoga incorporates two sequences. The Moon helps balance the endocrine system to relieve the hormonal stress that exacerbates menopause symptoms. The Sun sequence manages hot flushes, heat and rage, while also building muscle strength and bone density, both of which deplete after menopause.
Breathing and mindfulness meditation play an equally supporting part with exercises to cool the body, creating calm and balance in the nervous system. It releases stress, reduces anxiety, improves sleep and aids digestion. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is another technique that is used to support symptoms such as hot flushes.
Menopause yoga workshops and retreats are becoming more available across the UK. These help to educate and empower women to embrace the menopause as an opportunity for personal development and better health.
These workshops are not just about the physical practice, they bring women together in a safe space so they can share their experiences, be informed of how to alleviate their symptoms, and laugh. Laughter is our natural wonder medicine that relieves stress and normalises menopause. Helping to avoid the stress of embarrassment, which is one of the factors that exacerbate menopausal symptoms.
These discussions help to break down the taboo of talking about menopause. From removing lifestyle choices that may exacerbate symptoms, to what you wear, eat and drink, helping women to make informed decisions. Allowing women to become more aware of their individual symptoms, triggers and relief strategies.
Menopause workshops bring women together. We can support each other through this dramatic transformation, share experiences, create communities and realise we are not alone.