Yoga for Menopause

"The bottom line is that physical and mental decline is not a natural consequence of aging, as we've been led to believe. It's largely a consequence of our culture's beliefs about aging and of our lifestyle choices."

"The physical and emotional discomfort many of us experince at perimenopause is in effect the labor pains of giving birth to our new, best selves. Instead of using our energy for everyone and everything else around us, as we did when we were raising our families and nurturing our careers, we're now biologically called to focus that energy on ourselves."

--Christiane Northrup, The Secret Pleasures of Menopause

Menopause (or perimenopause for that matter) isn't a reality for me right now, but I'd heard enough negative things about it to fill me with dread. Since I'm the queen of the reframe (I just love to take something negative and reframe it into something positive), I decided to find someone who viewed it differently than the majority. That person is Christiane Northrup. Her book, The Secret Pleasures of Menopause, focuses on all of the positive aspects of menopause. Ever since reading it, I no longer feel that dread.

Of course, I also researched yoga for menopause, as I'm a big believer that yoga can help you deal with just about anything. If you're going through perimenopause or menopause and are looking to ease the transition with yoga, here are some tips:

  • Yin Yoga -- Women going through these changes are typically of the age when they are exposed to many stressors: children are striking out on their own, the media is telling them that they are old, job changes, dealing with aging or ailing parents, divorce and/or death of a spouse. Change is the order of the day and that can be unsettling at best and downright frightening at worst. Yin Yoga is a slow, grounding practice that enourages introspection and body awareness. Here are some DVDs to start with: Yin Yoga: The Foundations of a Quiet Practice, Insight Yoga with Sarah Powers, and Presence Through Movement: Yin Yoga.
  • Sitali Pranayam -- Sitali is a cooling breath technique that I recommend to many of my clients -- whether they are male or female or going through menopause or not. This breath is calming and soothing. Ujjayi Breath is also helpful. 
  • Supported Yoga Postures -- Downward Dog (placing a block under the forehead), Standing Forward Bend (placing a block vertically under the forehead), Standing Wide Legged Forward Bend (placing a block either vertically or horizontally under the forehead), Legs Up the Wall (with a bolster under the hips and a small pillow over the eyes), and Bridge Pose (placing a block vertically under the sacrum area) are some of my favorites. 

iHanuman, an excellent source for yoga downloads (I recently found some Donna Davidge Kundalini Yoga practices for download on the site), has a Yoga for Menopause Workshop for download. Click here for preview videos and more information. The download is under $25 and includes an illustrated pose guide. 

And if you or someone you know is approaching or in perimenopause or menopause, check out these resources:



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