Yoga Poses for Perimenopause and Menopause
Menopause brings with it many challenges, mostly in the form of annoying symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, low sex drive, and weight gain. These symptoms result in a lot of stress, anxiety, and lack of confidence. As a result, a woman needs to find techniques that could help her find relief and lower the stress of menopause. One of these techniques is yoga. Yoga combines breathing with physical exercise and is a practice respected all over the world for its health benefits. To help improve your symptoms, here are yoga poses for perimenopause and menopause.
Benefits of Yoga for Menopause
Yoga is known as an effective practice for mindfulness and stress reduction. But doing yoga is also very helpful for managing symptoms of menopause. Although during this transition women are less likely to want to exercise. Your hormones fluctuate a lot during menopause. As a result, the last thing you want when you have hot flashes is to go and sweat at the gym. Yoga, on the other hand, is a practice that will not send your heart rate into overdrive. At the same time, it will tone your muscles and improve your breathing.
A clinical trial (1) has found that yoga has a positive effect on the symptoms of menopause in women. The trial has shown that women practicing yoga had less severe insomnia. They also showed higher resistance to stress and higher quality of life. As a result, yoga could also improve self-confidence and body image of women at the age of menopause. Another trial (2) showed lower scores for the symptoms of stress, depression, and menopause for women practicing yoga compared to women who did not exercise. Women who did yoga also had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Best Yoga Poses for Menopause Symptoms
Since yoga is helpful for improving the symptoms of menopause (3), it could be considered an alternative or complementary therapy for reducing menopausal symptoms. Here are the best yoga poses for you to try out.
Easy Seated Pose
Easy Seated Pose, the original name Sukhasana, is a great easy pose for beginners of yoga. It is also the pose that does not require a lot of effort, so you can do it even if you are not physically active. Apart from that, the easy pose is the best for meditation, as you can let your mind and your body relax and achieve the state of awareness and mindfulness. All you need to do is to sit with your back straight and legs outstretched, then cross your legs in such a way that you place each foot under the opposite knee. Place your palms on your knees facing upward or place them in your lap.
Every day you practice this pose, alternate your legs for the most benefits. You can practice the easy pose in the morning and at the end of the day as a good way to relieve stress. Some of the physical benefits of the easy pose are that it lengthens your spine and makes your collarbones broader. It is also great for your posture, just make sure that you sit with a straight back while you are in the pose. Feel tranquil in sukhasana and let it remind you that you are stronger than your symptoms.
This pose is very good for your flexibility and for toning your leg muscles. If you spend a lot of time during the day sitting, this pose can be beneficial for stretching psoas muscles connecting the lower back and your upper thighs. But why is this pose especially beneficial for women in menopause? The symptoms that you experience like hot flashes or mood swings can cause your breath to become shallow, uneven. Anjaneyasana releases the tension in the muscle and gives you breath the freedom it needs.
To perform the lunge pose, start in a pose called tabletop, standing on your hands and knees. First, from tabletop, step one of your feet forward between your palms, aligning the heel of the foot with the heels of your palms. Then, straighten your back, place your palms on your hips and look forward. In this pose, try to make sure that your knee is positioned directly above your ankle and make the stretch more intense by bending the knee more deeply. Once you are done, repeat the same steps with the other leg forward.
Actually, the whole series of warrior yoga poses is very helpful for menopause symptom relief. But here we decided to focus on the warrior II pose, virabhadrasana II. You would start from standing position by taking one of your legs back and bending the front leg at the knee. Raise both of your arms to the side on the same level as your shoulders while turning your gaze to the front. Make sure that your hands are parallel to the ground, your front foot is parallel to the side of the mat. Place your back foot parallel to the front of your mat and rotate the palms to face down. Repeat with the other leg.
Warrior II pose has therapeutic benefits for people with back problems. It offers a nice stretch for your back muscles, hips, legs, and ankles. It is also good for your abdominal muscles along with your chest and shoulders. Apart from these physical benefits, warrior II is also a pose for practicing balance. It might look very easy, but this is not actually so. It can also help improve your stamina. Start practicing by holding the pose for 10 seconds at a time and increase this amount as you become better at it. After mastering warrior II, try practicing other warrior-type poses for menopause symptom relief.
(1) R. Afonso et al. "Yoga decreases insomnia in postmenopausal women: a randomized clinical trial."
(3) S. Joshi et al. "Effect of yoga on menopausal symptoms."