help menopauseBy Sangeetha Saran

Can Yoga really help menopause? Between the ages of 40 and 60, women go through a series of biological changes that affect their psychological, hormonal, and physical well-being. Although menopause is usually a gradual process, it sometimes occurs abruptly or begins much earlier in life, especially in women who undergo surgical procedures to remove their ovaries.

The standard medical treatment, hormone replacement therapy, has become less popular over the past decade as clinical studies question if its risks outweigh its benefits. As a result, women are turning to holistic medicine and healthy lifestyles to cope with menopause. Yoga is not only a popular alternative; studies show that it is also an effective one.

Five Ways Yoga Helps Women during Menopause

• Strengthens bones and reduces risk of osteoporosis

• Aids in prevention of heart disease

• Balances hormones and improves mood

• Reduces severity of hot flashes and night sweats

• Helps to control weight

Three Yogic Techniques that Benefit Menopausal Women

• Restorative postures to balance the mind, body, and spirit

• Meditation to calm the mind and relax the body

• Controlled breathing to combat fatigue and stress

Ten Postures that Reduce Menopausal Symptoms

• Child Pose for stretching and relaxation

• Double Leg Raises for developing strength in lower body

• Wind Relieving Pose for massaging digestive system

• Twists for massaging adrenal glands

• Cobra Pose for relieving constipation and menstrual irregularities

• Fish Poses for relief of stiff neck muscles and flexibility of spine

• Lotus Pose for meditation and working leg muscles

• Mountain Pose for promoting stillness and strength

• Cat Pose for coordinating breathing and movements

• Corpse Pose for ending sessions and for meditating

Yoga Can Help Menopause

Along with meditation and breathing, the restorative poses of Hatha Yoga calm the nervous system and stimulate the endocrine system. Made up of the thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, pituitary gland, and hypothalamus, the endocrine system regulates hormones throughout the body. When these hormones fluctuate, the body reacts is various ways. Hormonal shifts in the brain, for example, can lead to insomnia, depression, anxiety, and cognitive disorders. In the uterus, irregular bleeding and other cramping are common symptoms.

Some poses may be too intense during menopause. Inversions, for example, are great for reducing irritability and anxiety but are also quite strenuous. Experienced instructors can usually adapt these postures to avoid overexertion. With good instruction and willingness to experiment, women are not only able to continue their Yoga practices; they can also empower themselves for life’s many challenges.  Can Yoga help menopause?  The answer is: Yes.

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