By Sangeetha Saran
Perimenopause is the interval during a women’s life when the body shifts from normal menstrual cycles to irregular ones. Although the age of onset varies, this transition usually begins in the 40s and produces a wide range of symptoms: Mood changes, sleep problems, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.
These changes are brought about by the fluctuation of hormones, especially estrogen and progesterone. The drop in progesterone, also, affects neurotransmitters in the brain; and women may have feelings of depression or anxiety.
There is no doubt that perimenopause can upset the body’s physical, emotional, and mental balance. Thanks to Yogic practices, there is good news. Studies have shown that the regular practice of Yoga can help to restore the body, the mind, and the spirit.
Many people associate Yoga training with basic postures (asanas), but this ancient art of healing actually encompasses an entire system of healthy living. Meditation and breathing exercises are actually two of the limbs, or steps, of Patanjali’s Yoga. Together with asanas, they teach awareness, quiet the mind, and calm the body. Although benefits are enhanced when the three are combined, each can be practiced alone, as well.
Yoga Practices that Help with Perimenopause
• Two-nostril breathing reduces the ‘flight or fright’ response and helps to balance neurotransmitters.
• Meditation increases endorphins, reduces fatigue, and increases tolerance to pain.
• Standing poses massage the pelvis and abdominal organs, increase blood flow, and increase production of hormones by the adrenal glands.
• Lying poses help to release tension in the body and to increase circulation to reproductive organs and pelvis.
• Backbends aid the adrenal glands in producing hormones, stimulate the kidneys, and aid the liver in removing toxins.
• Twists massage the adrenals and abdominal glands, cleansing them and increasing hormone production.
• Forward bending asanas squeeze the organs, increasing blood flow and the production of hormones when they are released.
• Inverted poses increase oxygen to the neck and head, stimulate one’s pancreas, and reduce pelvic congestion.
Yoga is helpful in removing toxins, balancing hormones, and stimulating the circulation of lymph and blood throughout the body. Regular Yoga practice enables organs to work more efficiently, calms the nervous system, and increases awareness of the inner self and the environment.
While particularly helpful in the prevention of hot flashes, Yoga also improves the overall quality of women’s lives during the challenging years of perimenopause.
© Copyright 2011 – Sangeetha Saran / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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