By Sangeetha Saran
Within the western hemisphere 90% of Yoga practitioners are women. When I visited Paulji for a teacher intensive, I can remember a class in North Providence with 50 women and not one male student to be seen. Although there are some exceptions, many teachers rarely see more than a handful of American males in Yoga classes. In many styles the origin of Yoga teacher training courses were designed by Indian males. The need to develop more information for female teachers and their female students has never been greater. Yoga is very beneficial to a woman’s health when considering the following three aspects.
Having generally relaxed mind and body, yoga can also help in alleviating with the menstrual pain. During this time, it is important for female practitioners to realize that their Hatha Yoga sessions should be slow, mindful, and gentle. During Yoga practice the muscles of the midsection should be soft and less active throughout the practice so one’s menstrual flow can continue naturally.
In addition, it would be wise to avoid twisting and inverted asanas because these asanas reverse the flow, squeeze the abdominal area, and interfere with the natural flow of menstrual fluid. Some Yoga asanas relax the uterine muscles. The end result of this relaxation is a mindful Yoga practice that ensures proper menstrual flow. Psychological tensions can also be subsided through the practice of shavasana. Shavasana allows the body to rest thoroughly and to release all unneeded stress.
Prenatal Yoga classes teach women exercises, which assist in the safe delivery during labor. There are particular Yoga asanas which exercise the pelvic cavity. In turn, these asanas increase strength and stamina within muscles of the pelvic floor. These and other muscles in the groin are used during delivery. Pranayama is also practiced in order to conserve strength and calm the nerves throughout the pregnancy. These same pranayama techniques are used during contractions at the time of delivery. Many Yoga asanas exercise the muscles in the buttocks and legs, which to make carrying extra weight less of a burden. Some Yoga postures reduce pain within the lower back. Postnatal Yoga sessions bring our bodies to their original shape.
One month after the delivery of a child, Yoga asanas continue to reduce pains and aches associated with over stretched muscles and extra weight. Postnatal Yoga sessions also give stability in the form of emotional and mental relief, especially if a woman meets with a group of mothers who have babies. In some cases, the bonding is good moral support.
For women in their middle aged years, all forms of Yoga bear the fruit of balance on the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. It goes without saying that most of us experience “middle aged spread.” Somehow, Hatha Yoga manages to help us out. This doesn’t mean we won’t fight the battle of the bulge, but we won’t have as much extra weight as our menopausal women who don’t practice Yoga. All types of Yoga manage to help us with our emotional balance. Hatha Yoga will help us maintain muscle tone and flexibility during this very trying time of a woman’s life
If you need more information about Yoga for women’s health, contact Aura Wellness Center. They will produce an article or web clip for the subject you desire. The web clips usually show up at: http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/category/videos/ or on this Blog.
Female Yoga teachers from all over the world use Aura’s extensive library of forums, videos, and Blogs for information about “Yoga for Women.” Dr. Rita, Gopi, Amruta, and many other writers continue to contribute material on this subject. My appeal is to my “sisters” for more female Yoga teachers to contribute research about “Yoga for the health of women.”
© Copyright 2011 – Sangeetha Saran / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division