Yoga for Menopause
Written by Dr. Minakshi Welukar.
Menopause, a significant event in life of every woman, brings a lot of health changes. Yoga helps to overcome distressing menopausal symptoms easily and achieve smooth transition. Studies have proven the effectiveness of yoga and meditation in controlling the challenging symptoms of menopause.
Menopause is a natural physiological process when a woman completely stops her menstrual period. This brings hormonal, physiological and psychological changes within the body which may have unbearable effects on some women. The calming of nerves and relaxation of mind brought on by yoga is a great way to cope with all such changes.
In between 40 to 60 years, ovaries in women start to produce less estrogen and progesterone, which bring menopause. Irregular menstruation, hot flashes, night sweats, frequent mood swings, sleep disturbances, vaginal dryness, backache, and poor sexual drive are some of the side effects that make women more anxious. The feeling of anxiety and being overwhelmed can disturb the daily activities of a woman's life. Symptoms may vary from person to person. Some even don't notice anything, while some may develop chronic illness like heart diseases or osteoporosis. Yoga and meditation deal with menopausal symptoms and improve the life of women living with the annoying symptoms of menopause.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), supplement of low doses of estrogen, is a medically proved treatment for managing menopause. However, many women either don't tolerate HRT or have side-effects to the medication. Yoga and meditation are the best alternative strategies, free from side-effects, are economic and make menopause more endurable.
Improve Quality of Life in Postmenopausal Women
A randomized clinical trial showed that postmenopausal women performing asana, pranayama and meditation for three months have improved their health-related quality of life. A published study in the Journal of Menopause International advise yoga as an effective measure in reducing menopausal symptoms and must be used as alternative therapy for the management of menopausal symptoms.
In another study published in the Journal of Menopause, yoga is proven to be effective in reducing the severity of postmenopausal insomnia, a condition characterized by difficulty in falling asleep. Performing in a specific sequence like control, passive stretching and yoga, the therapy is said to be beneficial in improving the quality of life in postmenopausal women with control of climacteric symptoms of menopause.
According to a review published in the Journal of Mid-Life Health, women spend about one-third of their lives after menopause. Integrated approach of yoga therapy improves hot flashes and night sweats. Furthermore, the review concluded that the short-term practice of yoga can decrease both psychological and physiological risk factors for cardiovascular diseases in postmenopausal women.
How Yoga Addresses Debilitating Symptoms of Menopause
- Relaxing effect of yoga releases tension from body and mind. A woman feels a more calming impact and relief from anxiety and stress.
- Creates positive energy within the body so women can feel more energetic.
- Brings a balance within various organ systems to optimise their function, especially the endocrine system for maintaining hormonal balance.
- Stabilises physiological processes within the body and hormonal chemistry.
- Improves circulation and oxygenation to the female reproductive tract and subsequently improves function of ovaries and other pelvic organs.
- Stretching and strengthening of muscles of lower back, abdomen, buttocks and legs eliminate any lower-back pain.
Recommended Yoga Poses and Meditation for Menopause
Mountain Pose - Tadasana, Triangle Pose - Trikonasana, Lotus Pose - Padmasana, Cobra Pose - Bhujangasana, Seated Forward Bend - Paschimothanasana, Wind Relieving Pose - Pavanmuktasana, Shoulder Stand - Sarvangasana, Sun Salutation, kapalbhati, and Alternate Nostril Breathing are some of the recommended poses for postmenopausal women.
Menopause becomes more bearable when yoga is associated with physical activity, healthy diet, stress reduction and avoidance of smoking.
- Read more of Dr. Minakshi Welukar.
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