As I always say, Yoga is for everyone and it really is never too late to start. The benefits are many; the downsides none. But did you know that Yoga can help you to deal with many tricky aspects of life and health? Yes, Yoga can even help you through the menopause.
What IS the Menopause?
According to nhs.uk “The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally. Periods usually start to become less frequent over a few months or years before they stop altogether.”
The menopause usually begins between the ages of 45 and 55, as a woman’s oestrogen levels start to decrease. Here in the UK, the average age of a woman reaching the menopause is 51. That’s a third of a woman’s life spent in menopause… And, according to the NHS, symptoms can sometimes last up to 12 years. The Perimenopause is the time in the run up to menopause and that can be just as problematic. Perimenopause is a great time to start practicing
What Problems Can Menopause Cause?
The menopause will affect around half the population. Menopause is NOT a joke, an irritation, or a minor inconvenience. It can be debilitating and depressing, even painful. In some cases, menopause can even lead to the dangerous bone-weakening condition, osteoporosis. The symptoms of menopause can last several years and be anything from downright annoying to utterly unbearable:
- Hot flushes and night sweats
- Irregular periods, and PMS even without periods.
- Mood swings, irritability or anxiety – even panic attacks or depression.
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased libido
- Breast tenderness
- Joint pain and muscle tension – can be caused by hormonal changes or stress
- Digestive problems and IBS-like symptoms
- Tingling caused by fluctuating oestrogen which affects the central nervous system.
- Itchy and dry skin
- Fatigue and sleep disturbances
- Memory lapses or brain fog
- Weight gain
- Dizzy spells
- Stress incontinence
- Irregular heartbeat or palpitations
- In extreme cases, osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes the bones to weaken and even break.
What Can I do to Ease Menopause Symptoms?
HRT drugs just aren’t an option for everyone, so women are constantly on the lookout for natural remedies and holistic therapies to help. Some are more useful than others, many are expensive, and some are little more than placebos.
Menopause Yoga, however, CAN help. Ultimately, women need to be able to embrace the changes and work with them, so Menopause Yoga brings a therapeutic approach to managing menopause.
How Can Menopause Yoga Help?
Exercise is always a good idea, and some Yoga postures are thought to balance hormonal levels, others can reduce stress and anxiety or aid sleep. Different styles of Yoga can help women cope and deal with the different seasons of life. Menopause Yoga is specifically intended to help women feel more energised and able to cope. Yoga for Menopause could help women simply get their lives back.
Research has already begun to show that consistent yoga practice could help relieve several symptoms. The NHS suggests: “Self-help measures such as getting plenty of rest, taking regular exercise and doing relaxing activities such as yoga and tai chi may help. Medication and other treatments are also available, including HRT and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).”
Good Reasons to Try Yoga for Menopause
- It’s natural. No hormones, no drugs. Regular yoga practice can help calm the mind and relax the body. This alone could help to reduce some discomforts caused by perimenopause and menopause.
- Stress relief. The breathwork, or controlled breathing, involved in Yoga practice could ease anxiety, and help to reduce stress, even help improve sleep. Yoga can also help women to improve mood.
- Lower blood pressure. There is some research to suggest that blood pressure may rise following menopause, due to the hormonal changes. Regular Yoga practice could improve circulation.
- Yoga is good for healthy joints. Yoga practice could help relieve joint pain. The incidence of Arthritis increases with age and yoga will help to strengthen joints and increase flexibility.
- Yoga is useful in easing fatigue and helping women to feel energised.
- Yoga can help your tolerance to pain and discomfort. Yogis have been shown to tolerate pain better and specific aches and pains linked to menopause such as neck pain and backache, joint pain and overall chronic pain could improve with yoga.
- Yoga helps weight management. Hormonal changes through the menopause may also lead to weight gain and exercise, including yoga can help.
Along with Menopause Yoga, there are several ways to help yourself through the menopause.
- Reduce Stress: exercise, including yoga; meditation; self-care
- Lose Weight: exercise regularly and eat well. Nhs.uk says: “eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly – maintaining a healthy weight and staying fit and strong can improve some menopausal symptoms”
- Strengthen bones and body: Aerobic and Weight-bearing exercise
- Nourish: eat healthily, consider appropriate supplements and herbal remedies
- Ease depression: As well as Yoga, think about counselling or menopause support groups.
- Increase energy: Good nutrition is vital. Standing Yoga postures can also help.
- Ease hot flushes: Restorative poses help calm adrenal glands and help hormonal balance
- Avoid Insomnia: gentle inversions before bedtime or upon waking can aid sleep.
- Boost memory and concentration: Downward-Facing Dog boosts oxygen circulation in the brain, enhancing alertness.
- Utilise Aromatherapy – ideally WITH Yoga. Certain essential oils can promote better mood and relaxation.
Do I Have to Suffer with Menopause?
You DON’T have to suffer with Menopause. I’d love to help you through it. I am based in the heart of Cheshire, where I’ve lived almost forever, with my four children and a dog. I was widowed suddenly, and Yoga helped through the toughest of times. Yoga’s positive impact on both physical fitness AND mental health is well documented, and it was just what I needed. Now I can bring Yoga to help others as it helped me.
And please never make the mistake of dismissing Yoga as some sort of airy-fairy, easy option. Sure, it’s low impact – but that’s a GOOD thing – and there can be a spiritual side for those who wish to pursue that. But Yoga is absolutely NOT some sort of soft option and can actually be a real workout. I strive to deliver unique, motivating and inspiring yoga teaching. Try it, and you too could start to feel BETTER.