As a women’s wellness practitioner and yoga teacher, I work a lot with women in menopause, and have held many yoga workshops to help support them with practices that can alleviate symptoms and increase confidence.
Yoga offers a pathway to health and well-being through our whole journey of life, but perhaps during menopause, it really shows itself as being of optimum benefit. From gentle movements to nourish aching joints and strengthen bones, to breathwork that eases hot flushes and overwhelm, and everything in between, there is something for all women to be gained from making a dedicated
gentle yoga class part of their self-care.
The benefits of yoga are huge, for the body, mind and also our spirits. Inducing a sense of calmness, much healing comes from slowing things down and taking our time to work with ourselves in a gentler way. Yoga helps us to manage stress, anxiety, sleep and mood swings, whilst increasing strength and flexibility.
FIVE WAYS YOGA CAN HELP YOU THROUGH THE MENOPAUSE:
1) BONES AND JOINTS
The asanas (postures) help build strength, a fundamental necessity for
menopausal bones, while at the same time, easing aches and pains and gently nourishing the joints.
2) HOT FLUSHES AND EMOTIONAL OVERWHELM
Pranayama (breathwork) is a multi-faceted tool with practices that cool down the body, bringing relief for hot flushes, and calming breaths to ease emotional overwhelm and enable us to self-soothe. There are many different ways of using the breath to support us and cooling breaths really do cool down the body and the nervous system, giving space at a time when things can be a little overwhelming! Other breathwork techniques focus on bringing a sense of calmness and balance, helping us to self-soothe whenever things get on top. Interestingly, the NHS recommend yoga for mood swings
The relaxation that is included with a quality yoga class supports a good night’s sleep.
4) INCREASES BLOOD AND LYMPH FLOW AND BOOSTS IMMUNITY
A regular yoga practice fills the whole body with vitality and life-force, resulting in a feeling good and helping to maintain our health. It also supports pelvic health and is a good preventative against prolapse.
5) HEALTHY NERVOUS SYSTEM
Finding a class that includes yoga nidra is the icing on the cake. As well as regular exercise, women need deep rest during this change, it is non- negotiable if we want to have a positive and empowering menopause. Yoga nidra eases the body and mind into a state of letting go, and works on the restoration of the nervous
system. We hold overwhelm, anxiety and hyper-arousal in the nervous system – yoga nidra is the best tool I know for healing and balance. The inclusion of restorative poses where we take the support of bolsters and blocks, are a joy to most menopausal women.
My personal feelings here are that, as well as the benefits of supported poses, there is an unconscious sigh of relief when women do these poses as they finally allow themselves to receive support after supporting others for so many years. Part of the menopause journey is being OK with letting go and receiving support, and starting to say ‘yes’ to ourselves!
For further reading, this inspirational article from Yoga Journal on menopause and the effects of yoga is a great read. And the Yoga Journal also have a great article detailing 38 health benefits of yoga here.
To find out more about yoga with Michelle, and the other services that she offers, click on her profile at the top of the page.