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April 27, 2015
Hello yoga family,
I am currently working on the level one "props" course....and I absolutely love it! My question to you all is this: I have been going through perimenopause for about 5 years now and have experienced all the unpleasantness and difficulty of this transition...or at least I thought I had "seen it all" until recently when something new has hit me- unbalance. I had never had problems with physical balance until recently. Now....I am wobbling around like a sapling in the wind! I can barely stand on one leg! I have noticed also that my body is now skipping periods-something which has not happened in the past-I also notice an increase in other peri symptoms. I am wondering- is balance affected by hormones? What poses can help? I have been doing the usual balance poses- but I am wondering if there is something that I am missing? I know this is a complicated subject but perhaps through question and answer sessions I can find the missing "link". I use myself as a "test dummy" ....I experiment with me- in hopes to someday help others- this has confounded me.
Any help,thoughts,suggestions are much appreciated!
April 27, 2015
Yoga for Perimenopause
Menopause is perhaps the most trying time in a woman's life, and the time leading up to it, referred to as perimenopause, is hardly any easier. The age of onset varies among women, but it can occur as early as 30 in some women, while it may not occur until 50 for other women. There are many changes to a woman's body during this time, and while it may seem overwhelming and impossible to deal with, yoga can be utilized to decrease the severity of the symptoms and prevent further development of problems associated with perimenopause and menopause.
Elevated levels of stress and anxiety may be the most difficult aspect of perimenopause that there is to cope with. Hormone levels within the body are frequently changing, and the dips and spikes in levels of estrogen and progesterone affect the chemical processes in the body. Yoga can be used to decrease the effects of stress on the body, as well as to promote relaxation and decrease anxiety overall. The feelings of stress associated with altered chemical levels can induce fatigue, cause physical pain, and lower the immune response of the body, leading to increased occurrence of illness or injury.
Perimenopause marks the beginning of menopause, and this time is indicated by increased feelings of weariness, hot flashes, migraines, and muscle pains. Other changes to the body also occur, including weight gain, metabolic changes, and behavioral changes. Yoga helps stabilize the internal environment of the body, resulting in a regulated body temperature that does not fluctuate as intensely as it would under normal menopause conditions. The hormone and chemical levels become stable, resulting in fewer occurrences of migraines or vision problems.
Yoga provides for the body what intense cardio exercise cannot. The muscles become strengthened and more flexible, indicating a decreased risk of tissue injury, and the increased flow of blood and oxygen to the tissues promotes healthy functioning. A body that is tired and fatigued becomes rejuvenated and viable when yoga is practiced regularly. While intense exercise relies on putting stress on muscles to strengthen them, yoga is focused on using an increased level of health to promote muscle growth and functioning.
Standing poses can be ideal for strengthening the body when it succumbs to the effects of menopause. Twisting or bending poses decrease feelings of tiredness while also increasing the flow of nutrients and oxygen to muscles. Perimenopause and menopause can be difficult, but yoga can make it a manageable time.
January 4, 2015
Many of the suggestions for practice here will help make menopausal symptoms more manageable. Another thing I would like to add which specifically relates to balance is the sensory component. balance abilities are reliant on our integration of the nervous system, predominantly vision. As we age, our visual perception changes; it takes more time to accommodate to fluctuations.
One modification that has helped my students and myself is to increase the lighting in the room during balance asanas. And to allow a bit more time during this part of practice. As always, acceptance of the present moment and patience will best serve.
Robyn,MA, OTR/L CYT
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