7 reasons to practice yoga in perimenopause
The popular image of yoga is as a fitness trend which combines stretching, strength and movement. However, the true practice of yoga incorporates many different techniques and modalities from movement to breathing practices, from meditation to guided deep relaxation. I believe that the therapeutic application of these techniques to the time around menopause can be deeply beneficial. And here’s why:
- Helps to manage stress and anxiety
Just navigating your way through menopause can be inherently stressful: a mix of managing symptoms, looking after your family, caring for aging parents, and work commitments. There is simply a lot going on at this time to cause your stress levels to rise. Both yogic breathing practices and meditation can provide excellent ways to calm the nervous system and move from the stress response to a more relaxed state. When it is simply too difficult to sit still and focus, gentle movement can be an excellent bridge to move from a jittery or overactive state to a more peaceful relaxed state.
- Releases muscular aches and pain
The fall in oestrogen levels can cause muscle pain and stiffness, so perimenopause can be a time when more aches and pains are felt in the muscles and joints. Around this time the cumulative effect of how you have lived the in your body for the previous forty years can come to the fore. You can start to feel the effect of habitual posture and holding patterns which could easily be felt as back, neck and shoulder or knee pain.
Yoga is a whole-body practice and as such can stretch and release tight muscles throughout your body. The variety of movements and postures found in yoga can be beneficial in helping to free and ease the joints.
- Eases common menopause symptoms
There are many yoga practices that can help with specific menopause symptoms. As a Menopause Yoga teacher, I regularly teach breathing techniques to manage hot flushes, or movement to lift low mood. There are also movement sequences to reduce sleep disturbances and techniques to dissolve away the strong emotions of anger and rage. And the best bit is you can take these techniques with you and use them whenever you have the need.
- Maintains bone density
As you get older your bone density starts to decrease and typically with women this starts around menopause. It can result in weaker bones and an increase in the likelihood of experiencing bone fractures. However, regular weight bearing activity can help to maintain bone density. While many activities can help with this, yoga can be particularly good due to the variety and range of movement used and its whole body focus.
- Restore depleted energy
In modern society we frequently underestimate the profound nature of menopause and the effort it takes on your body. Just the biological changes can be exhausting, but when you factor in lack of sleep from night sweats or anxiety the problem is compounded. Self-care and rest are key at this time. Being able to relax deeply and at will is an absolute necessity. A guided relaxation practice at home or at a menopause yoga class can be an important tool to help you to do this.
- Provides a toolkit of practices
No two women’s menopause experiences will be the same and because of this each woman will need a unique approach that supports her induvial mental and physical health. Yoga provides a toolkit of practical strategies that can be used in day-to-day life no matter what your lifestyle or symptoms. The yoga techniques you learn can be equally beneficial if you are on HRT or if you are not.
- Promotes a positive towards menopause
How you perceive menopause can affect how you experience it. Now is the time to rewrite the narrative towards menopause from being something to dread and endure to a positive force for change. In my classes we discuss the attitudinal shifts that happen around this time. I hold a safe space for you and invite you to reframe your own beliefs around what it means to be perimenopausal and how to age well.
If you would like to know more about how yoga can help you please join my Facebook group Second Spring: Yoga and wellbeing for perimenopause and beyond | Facebook
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