When Ayesha was 48, she began experiencing intense hot flashes, which often arrived at night and interrupted her sleep. Her premenopausal symptoms were more annoying than unbearable. Then her menstrual cycle spun out of control. Her doctor suggested that she try hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescription drugs if symptoms were really bad, but she wanted to rather try to get through with them on her own.
Soon after Ayesha’s menstrual cycles became unusually irregular, she decided to go to a yoga class. She learnt poses that were especially useful in coping with uncomfortable symptoms and bringing emotional balance and mental clarity.
A 2011 study, which appeared in the journal Menopause, said that yoga can improve and relieve menopausal symptoms. It was reported that women who did yoga for four months considered their menopausal symptoms as mild after the four-month period.
Check out these yoga poses that can ward off menopausal symptoms:
Supported Lying Down Bound (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Method- Sit in front of the bolster placed lengthwise behind you with the soles of your feet held together. Place a folded blanket on top of the bolster to create a comfortable support for your head and neck. Loop a strap behind your back, at your sacrum (near your tailbone, not your waist). Bring it forward, around your hips, across your shins, and under your feet so that the soles of your feet are secure. Secure the strap in such a way that it is not too tight or too loose.
Place a folded blanket (or Yoga block) under your outer thighs (and forearms, if needed, to be comfortable). Place an eye-bag over your eyes to stabilise the movement of your eyes and bring your brain to relax. Stay in the pose for 10 minutes or longer. To come out of the pose, place your hands under your thighs and bring your legs back together. Remove the strap and straighten your legs, allowing them to fall evenly away from the midline. When you feel ready, bend your knees, turn to your side and use your hands to sit up slowly.
Benefits- This pose places the abdomen, uterus, ovaries and vagina in a position that frees these areas of constriction and tension that inhibit balanced hormonal activity. Blood flow is directed to the pelvis, bathing the reproductive organs and glands and helping to balance hormone function. The centring, balancing effect of this pose helps reduce mood swings and depression. Image: http://www.suzafrancina.com/
Supported Child’s Pose (Adho Mukha Virasana)
Method- Sit on your heels with your knees on the floor, about hip-width apart. Place a bolster or two folded blankets in front of you and lean forward until your torso and head are completely supported. Turn your head to one side. Give yourself several minutes to relax and feel the soothing effect of the pose. Remember to breathe softly, slowly, and truly "hug" your bolster. Allow yourself to sink into the bolster, relax and let go. Turn your head the opposite way before sitting up.
Benefits- This comforting pose calms your nerves and emotions, helps lower blood pressure and feels wonderful on your back. Image: http://ambika-yoga.com/
Supported Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Method- From Supported Child’s Pose, bring your knees back in line with your hips and place your hands on either side of the front edge of the bolster. Position your feet hip-width apart, curl your toes under, press your hands firmly into the mat and, exhale while straightening your legs so that your body forms the shape of a dog stretching. When you come down, separate your knees and come back to the Supported Child’s Pose.
Benefits- It inverts the internal organs and increases blood flow to the brain, counteracting lapses in memory that can occur at moments of hormonal fluctuation. This pose helps lift and tone your uterus, improves circulation to your pelvis and strengthens the pelvic floor. It is a key pose for easing hot flashes. Image: http://www.a2zyoga.com/
Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Method- Place one bolster or stack of folded blankets horizontally and another vertically, forming a T shape. Position yourself near the end of the vertical bolster so that when you lie down, your head is near the far end. Slowly slide off the end until the back of your head and shoulders rest flat on the floor. Your feet should rest comfortably on the horizontal bolster.
Benefits- It helps regulate and balance blood pressure. Women are more prone to elevated blood pressure when the protective effect of oestrogen is withdrawn. As you stay in the pose, feel the effect deep inside the entire belly area. Image: http://www.natureswisdom4u.com/
Supported Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
Method- Place a bolster or two-folded blankets about 2 inches away from the wall. Sit sideways on the bolster so your right hip and side are touching the wall. With the bolster under your bottom, lower your back, using the support of your elbows and forearms, and swivel around to take your right leg and then your left leg up the wall. Stay in this pose for 10 minutes or longer. If you are tired, it is natural to fall asleep in this pose. When you are ready to come out, bend your knees, turn to your side, and relax on the floor for a few more breaths before you slowly sit up.
Benefits- This is a safe and soothing way for women new to Yoga to become accustomed to inverting their body. Practice this daily if your legs and feet swell easily, or if you have varicose veins. Image Courtesy: http://myyoga.bc.cdn.bitgravity.com/
A woman’s body is quite capable of adjusting to the hormonal changes that occur when the ovaries slow down. If all our other glands are functioning well, they will, in most cases, continue to produce all the hormones a woman needs for the rest of her life.
Read more articles on Menopause.