Yoga for Menopause | Holy Yoga Therapy

Every week, I teach a seniors class and have a class full of mostly women well into or past their menopausal years.  Whilst there are still years away for me, it’s an extremely interesting and topical subject for me as a yoga therapist surrounded by senior women students and interacting daily with my mother who is currently experiencing symptoms.  I hope this is somewhat insightful to you, whether it’s you or a family member going through the unpleasant symptoms of menopause.

SPECIFIC ISSUE

Menopause
 menopause-depression-stress
Up to 70% of women experience menopausal symptoms during menopause which can last up to 10 years; although there are outliers which may extend beyond this duration.  Menopause can start as early as 40 years but most commonly experience in mid 40’s or 50’s – with the most commonly sighted average being 51 years.
Menopause occurs because of the sharp decrease of estradiol and progesterone production by the ovaries.   The rapid decrease in circulating estradiol levels at menopause impacts many tissues, from brain to skin.  Whether directly related to the lowered levels of oestrogen or not (contradicting research results), many women claim to experience hot flushes and other common symptoms such as:
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches, dizziness
  • Lower sex drive
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin, itchy skin
  • Weight gain
  • Vaginal dryness; discomfort during sex
  • Mild loss of bladder control, frequent urinary urgency, incontinence
  • Disturbed sleeping, night sweats
  • Psychological symptoms e.g. depression, anxiety, inability to concentrate, mood swings, loss of self-esteem
THE BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR THIS ISSUE (SYMPTOM CONTROL)
In one study, yoga cut hot flashes by 31% and other research has found that regular yoga practise improved libido, mood   and craving control. [1]
Many menopausal women agree that heat, anxiety, stress and fatigue often bring on or intensify hot flushes.  Gentle yoga poses and practising mindfulness meditation can help sedate the sympathetic nervous system, in turn, allowing the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) to take over.  The PNS slows the heart rate and brings the body’s systems back into balance.
Gentle inversion poses can sometimes help with insomnia to alleviate anxiety.  When done with restorative poses, the body can feel at rest.
Heart/Chest opening poses, such as Bridge pose or Supported Reclined Bound Angle, can help with lifting the spirit and opening up the emotional blockages such as depression and mood swings, with the overall effect of rejuvenation and fighting off fatigue.
Root lock (Mula Bandha) helps regain the control of the urinary urgency and frequencies.  Even just the bringing awareness to muscle groups and help manage the symptoms.
The breath work and meditation, particularly in Holy Yoga’s biblical intentions, will help with concentration and centering the mind’s focus,  lifting the ‘fogginess’ often experienced in hormonal fluctuations.

Biblical meditations on what The Word has to say about dealing with each of the menopausal symptoms is the most powerful tools in managing menopause.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  1. If professional medical practitioner has advised against yoga.
  2. If there are any sharp pains while doing yoga poses, stop immediately.  Consult your yoga therapist to ensure the poses have been carried out correctly and if the sharp pain persists every time you get into a pose, stop and seek medical practitioner’s advice.
  3. If suffering from degenerative bone dysfunctions, such as osteoporosis and/or osteoarthritis, or spinal dysfunctions, such as kyphosis or lordosis, ensure there is physician’s clearance before doing yoga.  Pay kind attention to reclining poses and let yoga instructor know of  any known pains.
  4. If there are any blood pressure issues, take care in getting into poses wear the head is positioned below the heart vertically, e.g. forward fold and downward dog
15-30 MINUTE FLOW
1. Easy seated (10 sets of breaths relaxed, 3 sets of breath in Mula Bandha)
2. Mountain
3. Forward fold
4. Mountain with cactus arms -> Mini back bend
5. Childs Pose
6. Downward Facing Dog
7. Bridge
8. Plow/Shoulder stand/Legs up the wall
9. Happy Baby
10. Spinal Twist

11. Supported Reclined Bound Angle Pose

SOURCES & RESEARCH

  1. http://www.prevention.com/fitness/yoga/10-yoga-poses-to-relieve-menopause-symptoms
  2. http://www.yogajournal.com/article/health/the-graceful-change/
  3. http://www.replens.com/FAB-Blog/Fighting-Vaginal-Dryness/23/Menopause-FAQs-When-It-Start-How-Long-Does-It-Last.aspx
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menopause#Signs_and_symptoms
  5. http://www.34-menopause-symptoms.com/articles/qa-what-happens-to-my-hormones-during-menopause.htm
  6. http://www.34-menopause-symptoms.com/treatments.htm
  7. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/05/yoga-for-menopause-7-pose_n_2991865.html
  8. http://www.fitnessnetwork.com.au/resources-library/yoga-and-menopause
*Disclaimer:
These suggestions offered in the Holy Yoga With LoveJosephine yoga classes or therapy programs on www.lovejosephine.com are not intended to replace medical recommendations by your medical practitioners. It is highly recommended and, in most cases, essential that you stay compliant to the treatment advice given by a western medical professional.The suggestions and educational resource offered by Holy Yoga with LoveJosephine on www.lovejosephine.com are meant to be observed and used in conjunction with medical treatment. Neither the therapy programs nor yoga classes are designed nor recommended to replace medical treatment.
The resources offered here are intended to complement and support the medical treatment targeting the specified issue, with the goal of enhancing the well-being of the patient.
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