Many women have found that yoga can ease the undesirable symptoms of menopause and perimenopause, including hot flashes, insomnia, irregular menstrual cycles, and hormone swings.
Hormones are very powerful and affect just about every tissue and system in the body. As the body tries to adjust to these hormonal shifts, the brain is affected as well, resulting in erratic patterns in sleep, mood, memory, and menstrual bleeding. These natural physiological changes can wreak havoc for women years before they actually enter into menopause and for many years after. Hormone replacement therapy has been the usual go-to since the ‘60’s but it has been linked to many health issues, so women are seeking alternatives.
Restorative yoga can ease symptoms by calming the nervous system and improving the functioning of hormonal systems. Hot flashes can worsen with stress, fatigue, and irritability, so supporting the body in a reclining position can calm the brain and relax the nerves.
When the body is under continuous stress, the sympathetic nervous system and adrenals manufacture stress fighting hormones along with male hormones that get converted into estrogen. These hormones can get stuck in overdrive and cause depletion and lethargy. A wide-legged forward bend can soothe the mind by shutting out external distraction and signal the nervous system that all is well so it can relax!
Poses like inversions, or anything that gets you upside down like waterfall or shoulder stand, can help with insomnia because these poses ground the body’s energy and burn off extra anxiety. When yoga is followed by the restorative pose of savasana the body can come into a deep state of rest.
Fatigue is the most complained about symptom, second to hot flashes, and is caused by plunging progesterone. Supported backbends, such as supta baddha konasana and bridge can relieve chronic tiredness by opening the heart and encouraging movement of stuck energy in the spinal cord. These deeply restorative postures can instill feelings of safety, nourishment, and renewal of spirit by improving respiration and circulation.
Overall, any practice of yoga can help ease the symptoms of menopausal or perimenopausal discomfort and improve the mood, simply by creating flow in the body and sending signals to the brain that all is well in the moment!
By Julie Bertagna; All Rights Reserved @2020