Menopause occurs in women sometime after the age of 40. It is defined as the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle and can be highly symptomatic. Symptoms vary in intensity and duration and can last for years. The most common symptoms are hot flashes, anxiety and loss in sex drive. Other symptoms include incontinence, digestive problems and bone loss.
Since menopause is a natural biological process, not a disease, holistic measures prove to be helpful in relieving the symptoms. The following is a list of specific yoga poses that can help when the symptoms of menopause are bringing you down.
Child’s Pose for Hot Flashes
Hot Flashes are the result of abrupt changes in your body’s ability to regulate temperature and can be triggered by stress. Calming down equals cooling down. Spend up to three minutes in this pose, inhaling through your mouth (cooling the air as it comes in) and exhaling through your nose, to relax your body completely.
Seated Forward Bend for Anxiety
If you are having one of those days when you just want to stay in bed, try a seated forward bend to help dispel your anxiety. For extra support, place a pillow or a yoga bolster on your thighs or shins as a place to rest your forehead. Let your exhale be slightly longer than your inhale. Hold this pose for up to three minutes and feel your tension evaporate.
Pelvic Tilts for Loss in Sex Drive
The rocking motion of your hips in this dynamic pose will remind you of what you’ve been missing! Lay on your back with both knees bent and feet flat, hip width apart. Without putting pressure on your feet, rock your pelvis forward and back. Allow your hips to teeter over your tailbone, letting your lower back lift slightly as you rock forward and flatten as you rock back. Continue for as long as you’d like and when you are finished, exhale with a moan of satisfaction.
Mulabandha for Incontinence
Mulabandha is a Sanskrit word that describes a practice similar to Kegel exercises. As with Kegels, the pelvic floor is lifted and contracted. Draw in and up on the muscles at the base of your pelvis as if you are stopping the flow of urine mid-stream. Hold for up to 15 seconds and repeat often throughout the day.
To enhance the benefits of your digestive tract in bridge pose, practice the following breathing method. When you inhale, let your lower belly distend by deliberately pushing it out. As you exhale, draw your belly in and slightly up toward your ribs. Repeat for up to ten breaths. This will create a rolling action through your intestines that will help stimulate digestion and promote the release of gas.
Downward Dog for Bone Loss
Yoga is categorized as a weight bearing exercise, and downward dog is one of the poses that helped put it there. It is an all around great pose for bone strength due to the stimulus it puts on your arms, legs, spine and hips. Practice downward dog when you need to feel strong and grounded.
September 12th, 2011