Yoga versus Menopause
What does yoga have to do with your hormones? Plenty!
Just about every yoga pose you do has an impact on the hormonal endocrine system (think of it as a network of glands that make hormones). This system influences almost every cell, organ and function of your body. Every different stage and chemical change in a woman’s body is brought about by the endrocrine system, therefore making yoga a fabulous way to support this system and keep your hormones healthy.
Perimenopause and Menopause vary in duration and severity with similar symptoms, which can be both physically and emotionally destabilising. During this stage you experience erratic fluctuations of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. In very simple terms, estrogen is responsible for making us feel good. When estrogen levels decline, our bodies are disfuntional. For example, estrogen helps keep your skin clear and your bones strong. Take estrogen away, and most of your body functions become unstable, which can explain many of your symptoms.
It can start in your late 30’s and end in your mid 50’s with symptom’s typically including weight gain, fatigue, joint & muscle pain, low libido, insomnia, mood swings, hot flushes, anxiety, depression, night sweats and hair loss. These are just some of the 34 symptoms associated with menopause. Not fair is it?!
Do any of these sounds familiar?
For a lot of women use HRT (Hormone Replacement Treatment) is a simple and obvious solution for managing menopausal symptoms. But since several major studies have shown that HRT exposes women to serious health risks, such as breast cancer, heart disease, strokes and other life-threatening diseases, many women have begun seeking more natural solutions, like addressing diet, increased water intake, regular exercise and taking natural supplements and vitamins.
If you are new to yoga the perimenopasal stage is a great time to introduce yourself to the practice. Or, if the mat has been a friend for years a lot of woman find that their once fast-paced and heated practice mellows into one with longer-held, sustained poses. Slowing the practice down helps activate your parasympathetic nervous system (a tranquilizing effect on the body & mind), reducing stress & anxiety. We want to keep the body cool. And a simple pranayama with a five-second inhalation and five-second exhalation for 15 minutes twice a day can cut hot flushes considerably.
Yoga can be a tremendous aid when the body and mind feel out of control; it’s like giving your body a hug from the inside. Remember it’s never too late to start and the yoga will always meet you wherever you are at.
When we have the right tools and information we can make better choices for our health and our bodies.
I offer a 15 minute yoga practice on my YouTube channel ‘Debbie Lash Yoga’, or you can find me teaching at Earth Yoga in Palma and Portals.
5 YOGA POSES TO SOOTHE PERIMENOPAUSAL AND MENOPAUSAL SYMPTOMS
- SUPINE BOUND ANGLE POSE/SUPPORTED SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA
Regulates blood pressure as it encourages the relaxation response
Beneficial for women in all life cycle changes, relieves menstrual pain, improves circulation in the ovarian region and is helpful during pregnancy and menopause
Relieves sciatic pain
Release tension & hip pain
- LEGS UP THE WALL POSE / VIPARITA KARANI
Increases circulation to the abdominal organs
Passively opens chest, stretches the cardiac muscle and helps venous blood return to the heart
Reverses the effect of gravity on the entire body
Relaxes the parasympathetic nervous system
- SHOULDERSTAND / SALAMBA SARVANGASANA
Known as the ‘Queen’ of asanas
Cools, calms and soothes the nervous system
Helps to balance the functioning of the endocrine system
Shifts energy and mood by being upside down
Develops mindfulness & concentration
Strengthens upper body
- SEATED FORWARD FOLD / SUPPORTED PASHIMOTTANASANA
Stimulates circulation to the abdominal and pelvic organs
Relaxes the reproductive organs
Soothes and revitalizes the heart and mind
May lower blood pressure
Releases all the muscles in your back
Combats chronic fatigue and relieves headaches
Facilitates a sense of quiet, calm and letting go
- SUPINE HERO POSE / SUPTA VIRASANA
Opens the chest
Elevates your mood
Maintains flexibility of the knee and ankle joints
Stretches the quadriceps and hip flexors
BY DEBBIE LASH YOGA – https://www.debbielash.com/
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