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Yoga for the Menopause - Poses for Your Symptoms


‘Within every woman there is a wild and natural creature, a powerful force filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing’

Clarissa Pinkola Estes


Really the menopause is more than simply the end of reproductive years and changes in your hormones. It can be a true Awakening. As Petra Coveny (yoga teacher trainer in menopause yoga), states it can be a ’reconnection to your SELF and an opportunity for self-growth’.


I am not an expert on the menopause, but I am a experienced certified yoga teacher who has been experiencing menopausal symptoms for over 5 years now and I wholeheartedly know yoga has been my saving grace.


I am also going to offer a mini yoga retreat in the future so you can experience some yoga poses that have helped me with menopause symptoms whilst relaxing and strengthening your mind and body.


Like myself many women have found that yoga, l can improve or help you cope with the undesirable side effects of menopause, including feeling stressed, brain fog, hot flushes, low mood, lack of sleep, and more.


As your body goes through menopausal changes, it may also experience changes associated with age, such as muscle loss and joints degenerating. All of these areas can be targeted for relief through certain yoga poses.

Yoga can reduce the emotional symptoms of menopause, doing more than just treating the physical pain. When I teach yoga and practice as a group, especially on at a yoga retreat I feel the uplift from not only the yoga mentally and physically but from the energy in the room. Each person becoming more relaxed more in tune and present which resonates a powerful almost infectious atmosphere that melts away negativity and attracts positivity. Something I don’t experience practicing on my own.

Yin and especially restorative yoga practices which we practice on my yoga retreats require poses to be held for longer than in conventional yoga, often with the support of props, such as folded blankets, blocks and bolsters to help relax the body. These long held postures relax the nervous system.

There are several different schools of yoga out there, and countless poses and adaptations. It can be a little overwhelming to start know where to start, so whether you have a significant amount of yoga experience or none at all, I want you to be able to use yoga to help support relieving your menopausal discomforts.


If you experience pain or discomfort with any of the poses, just skip it and look for advice from your yoga teacher or simply come to one of my yoga retreats.


Yoga Poses

1. legs up the wall - Viparita Karani in Sanskrit



Sit on the floor facing a wall. Lower your shoulders and head to the floor, lying on your side. Then roll onto your back and stretch your legs up the wall, with your feet hip-distance apart or whatever distance feels comfortable. Adjust your position by scooting your tailbone toward the wall.

Your next progression is to hold the legs in the air unassisted by the wall. 

HOLD: Hold this pose for 10 deep inhalations and exhalations. Then roll out of it by either slowly releasing your legs downward or bringing to the floor.


Benefits

  • Calms and helps relieve stress and low mood

  • Stretches the shoulders and neck

  • Tones the legs and buttocks

  • Improves digestion

  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause

  • Reduces fatigue and helps insomnia


Safety and Precautions

  • Diarrhoea

  • Neck injury

  • Headache

  • High blood pressure


2. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

Ardha Matsyendrasana in Sanskrit

This pose energies the spine and stimulate proper digestion while improving postural and body awareness.





From Staff Pose: Inhale - bend the right leg and place the knee close to your chest as you hold it with your hand Exhale - place the right hand on the floor behind you and go in a gentle twist turning towards the right side Inhale - press the right knee towards you Exhale - twist deeper Inhale/Exhale - stay in the pose. Inhale/Exhale - stay for THREE breaths. Inhale - release and relax Inhale/Exhale - to repeat with the other side taking the posture to hold for THREE breaths. Inhale - release and relax.


Twisting while seated puts pressure on the Tailbone as well as the base of the spine. This encourages for the easy flow of the lymphatic system while also helping in reducing the aches and pains that may occur at the shoulders, neck, ribs, hips, lower back, and arms due to leukemia or therapy treatment.


Stay relaxed as you stay in a twist. Conscious effort to keep the body relaxed with the breath is very essential as it also plays a great role in the healing process.


Benefits


Women who have symptoms related to perimenopause or menopause too can benefit from this, as it helps keep hormones in balance.


Safety and Precautions

You should avoid this pose if you have back problems, had recent surgery, or are pregnant. It might not be comfortable during menstruation.


3. Head-to-Knee Forward Bend - Janu Sirsasana Sanskrit



Start by sitting on your mat with your legs outstretched in front of you. Next, bend your right knee and move it so your foot forms a triangle up against your left thigh (number 4 shape). Then bend at your waist as you try to touch your head to your knee. If your knee on your left leg does not touch, put a blanket underneath for support. Take your yoga strap and place it around the bottom of your foot and pull your chest to your leg allowing the strap to help support the stretch. Your next progression is to have your arms stretched out and grab your left foot for a further and deeper stretch. The knee can be slightly bent if this is more comfortable.

HOLD: Keep this stretch for anywhere between 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Don’t forget to breathe through your stretch and take a deep inhale as you sit back up and repeat with bending your left knee.


Benefits

  • Calms the brain and helps relieve low mood

  • Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings, and groin

  • Improves digestion

  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause

  • Relieves anxiety, fatigue, and headaches


Safety and Precautions

  • Asthma

  • Avoid full knee bends or flexes if you have any history of a knee injury

  • Diarrhea


Yoga for Hot Flushes

If you are experiencing hot flushes, incorporate Yin or Restorative Yoga and cooling poses into your yoga or daily routine. Too much tension in your body or the need to grip or hold on to something can make hot flushes worse. I suggest using a bolster, blanket, or blocks to support your entire body. Reclined poses with proper support can also help create complete relaxation.


4. Reclining Bound Angle Pose - Supta Baddha Konasana Sanskrit




Start by sitting up on your mat with your legs out and stretched in front of you. Bend your knees up and bring the bottoms of your feet together making a diamond shape between your legs. Slowly drop your knees opposite from each other as you lean backward; support the knees of necessary.

As you lean back, start by gently bringing your elbows to your mat if you need extra abdominal support. Modify your glutes position to create a natural curve of your lower back. This means you may want to shift your lower weight from the bottom of your glutes to the upper backside of it.

Drop all of the tension in your body starting from your toes, to your knees, to your arms (palms facing up), to your shoulders, neck, head, and spine. As you close your eyes, release every source of stress and tightness and fully relax your body.


HOLD: Rest for up to 10 minutes in this position. Breathe deeply when holding this pose. When done, bring your knees together and roll onto your side and slowly use your arms to push off your mat to bring yourself back up to a seated position.


Benefits

  • Decreases tension in your muscles and body

  • Relieves fatigue by increasing energy levels

  • Stretches the inner thighs, groin, and knees

  • Helps relieve the symptoms of stress, low mood, and menopause


Safety and Precautions

Avoid this pose if you have a groin or knee injury unless you are under the guidance of a professional instructor or you use a blanket or block supports under your outer thighs.


5. Downward-Facing Dog - Adho Mukha Svanasana Sanskrit



Begin with your hands and knees on the mat with your hips and knees lined up and hands directly under your shoulders. Curl your toes under and straighten your legs as much as you can as you push up with your hands. If your heels don't rest flat on the ground, don't worry bend your knees. Position your heels as close to the floor as you can. With practise, you will become more flexible and your heels will eventually connect to the floor.

Drop your head so your ears line up with your biceps and lean into the stretch.

HOLD: Try to hold this pose for 10 - 20 seconds slowly inhaling and exhaling with each count. Then, push your body forward and slowly lower your knees and body down to the earth.


Benefits

  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and low mood

  • Energises the body

  • Strengthens the arms and legs

  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause

  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands

  • Helps prevent osteoporosis

  • Improves digestion

  • Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue

  • Therapeutic for flat feet and sciatica


6. Supported Bridge Pose - Setu Bandha Sarvangasana Sanskrit



Begin lying flat on your back. With your hands lying flat on the mat, palms facing down, bend your knees so that your feet are also flat on the mat as well. Place your heels as close to your buttocks as possible and then lift your buttocks off your mat and place a block under your tail bone and relax.

HOLD: Keep this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. As you are done, slowly release your spine back to the mat by starting at your shoulders and continuing to roll the rest down as well with an exhale.


Benefits

  • Stretches the chest, neck, and spine

  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause

  • Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression

  • Improves digestion

  • Therapeutic for osteoporosis and sinusitis

  • Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia


Safety and Precautions

Avoid this pose if you have a neck injury unless you are under the guidance of an experienced trainer.


7. Wide-Legged Forward Bend - Prasarita Padottanasana Sanskrit


Begin by standing on your mat sideways and your legs apart more than hip width. Keep your feet parallel to the other and straight. 

Place your hands on your hips and slowly hinge forward from your hips. Start by only going as far as forming a 90-degree angle with your upper body and hips.

Release your arms and if possible, connect them together behind your back. If your hands don't reach, use your belt, tie, towel, or yoga strap.. As you connect your hands, begin slowly moving the rest of your upper body closer to your mat so that your head falls directly between your feet. At this point, allow your arms to follow your upper body and fall towards the mat as well over the top of your head. 

Keep a distance between your shoulders and ears as you continue to stretch your arms, neck, and back of your legs. 

HOLD: Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. As you stretch, breathe deeply. As you finish, release your arms so they fall towards the mat, lift your upper body back to a standing position, and walk your legs back together again.


Benefits


  • Calms the brain

  • Relieves mild backache

  • Therapeutic application for headaches, fatigue, and mild depression

  • Strengthens and stretches the inner and back legs and the spine

  • Tones the abdominal muscles


Safety and Precautions

Avoid the full forward bend if you have lower-back problems. Move through the motion. Stop right before you feel pain.


Enjoy - Kay xxx













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