All women are bound to go through menopause at one point of their lives. For some, the natural biological process that marks the end of their menstrual cycle, can happen in their 40s, while others go through it in their 50s.
The years preceding menopause is called perimenopause and women tend to face several massive transitions, such as mood fluctuations, and changes to their body, skin and hair condition, during this stage.
Typically, hormonal fluctuations begin about six years before a woman's menstrual period ends, and women should not wait until menopause hits them to look for assistance.
Yoga provides a great remedy for women, not only to maintain physical fitness and function, but to manage hormonal imbalance, especially during perimenopause.
Many yoga asanas help reduce menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep disruptions.
A study by the Roosevelt University's Stree Institute in Chicago, the United States, found that yoga stretches promotes physical relaxation.
So, if you are going through the perimenopausal stage, consider joining a yoga class and get assistance from your instructor. This would in the long term, give you the necessary mental strength to handle issues linked with menopause.
The asanasBelow are the poses or asanas which are very helpful for those going through perimenopause, and for women in general.
You may try to some of these asanas on your own, but they are best done under the observation of an instructor, as doing so will guarantee a complete benefit and help avoid any mistakes of injuries.
- Forward bend (Uttansasana), Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svasana), or Wide Leg Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)
- These poses give a calming effect to the practitioner. Gentle inversions which increase blood flow to the head and heart also help reduce anxiety, irritability and solve sleeping disorder. Forward bending also helps in reducing external distractions.
- Locust pose (Salabhasana), Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), and Boat Pose (Navasana)
- These asanas strengthen the lower abdominal area, brings energy and increases circulation to the ovaries and uterus, and strengthens the entire pelvic area.
- Supported shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana)
- This pose helps relieve stress, overcome mild depression and ease menopausal symptoms.
- Revolved Head-to-Knee post (Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana)
- This helps calm down emotional fluctuations during time of intense hormonal shifts.
- Marichi's pose (Marichyasana)
- It helps manage mild depression, hot flashes and anxiety.
- Vipareeta Karani (legs up the wall)
-Increases blood circulation to the whole body. This is a good pose if you suffer from insomnia, as it grounds your body's energy and releases excess anxiety.
PranayamaOther than asanas, pranayama or breathing techniques also help improve the quality of life during the perimenopausal stage.
- Inhale and exhale with awareness
- According to a study by the North American Menopause Society, inhaling and exhaling for 5-seconds, for 15 minutes, twice a day, helps cut down hot flashes by 44%.
- Bee buzzing breathing of Brahmari
- This breathing technique helps gently reduce stress and gives a cooling effect.
- Cooling breath (Seetkari pranayama)
- This is most suitable for hormonal fluctuations and able to natural lower the body temperature.
Nizha Periaswamy is a yoga instructor and freelance writer.
Photo source: Sakthi School of yoga