The statistics show that women experience about one third of life in the post-menopause phase, also known as the Wise Woman phase. We need much more information about the management of peri- and post-menopausal symptoms. The hormonal fluctuation during this phase may cause mood changes, bloating, aches and pains, headaches, hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, sleeping difficulties, weight gain, depression, irritability, forgetfulness, lack of concentration, frequent urination, vaginal dryness, and low sex drive. About 20% suffer from severe symptoms and 60% complain of mild symptoms.
Because drug therapy for symptoms related to estrogen imbalances is accompanied by serious side effects alternative options have been recommended. These include:
- lifestyle changes like adequate sleep and stress reduction
- daily exercise
- an individualized balanced meal plan
- yoga, massage, and meditation
The practice of yoga includes postures (asana), breath work (pranayama), and meditation (dhyana) that all help to manage menopausal symptoms. Some positions may be aggravating and worsen symptoms so be open to more supportive or restorative poses if modification is necessary. Observe how your own body responds.
Hot flashes and night sweats are some of the most common complaints of hormonal imbalance during this phase. Cooling and restorative poses are recommended. Sometimes bolsters or props are used to avoid any gripping or tension which may worsen hot flashes. Taking advantage of the extra support during poses helps relax muscles and calm nerves. Positions such as seated half-bound lotus pose or half lord of the fishes pose may help calm the body.
Anxiety and Insomnia
Breath control is integrated into the practice of yoga, which helps to reduce anxiety. Forward bends such as standing forward bend help to reduce irritability and reduce stress. Inversions, like shoulder stand, followed by savasana or other restorative poses help with insomnia and ready the body for a deep restful state.
To improve a cloudy mind explore inversions, chest openers, and backbends. Spending time upside down in downward facing dog allows blood flow to the brain and involves deep breathing which supports improved alertness. Bridge pose reduces stress and fatigue which will result in a clearer mind.
Unstable hormones frequently result in fatigue and even depression. A deeply restorative pose can rejuvenate the body and refresh the spirit. Legs up the wall pose is an easy position that can be held for as long as needed to feel the great relief it brings. It boosts circulation and can be done just about anywhere.
Women experience the symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause differently but all can enjoy relief by relaxing, stretching, and reducing stress through yoga. Discover a practice that suits you and make a place in your your routine as often as possible.