Yoga has been proven to help deal with the emotional stress induced by menopause. Women have acknowledged improvement in the undesirable side effects of menopause, such as stress, hot flashes, lack of sleep, depression etc. Restorative as well as supportive yogic poses work wonders during this stage and are known to relax the nervous system.
To further explore the role of yoga in dealing with menopause, The Statesman had a conversation with Arunima Singhdeo, yoga master. She is a yoga and meditation teacher with over 2000 hrs of practice and 1000 hrs experience in teaching Yoga.
Q: Weight gain is common during menopause. What are the recommended yoga asanas to address this issue?
Menopause related weight gain can have profound implications on the health. Excess weight, especially around the midsection, increases risk of developing; breathing problems, heart and blood vessel disease, and type 2 diabetes. Excess weight also increases risk of developing various types of cancers, including breast, colon and endometrial. Yoga can immensely help with menopause related weight gain and also alleviate the symptoms associated with this phase. Some yoga practices that can be done regularly with guidance from an expert are as follows.
- Surya Namaskar in a steady pace with the mouth closed and breathing through the nostrils. About 8 to 10 repetitions of this are good.
- Standing asanas such as the warrior series, side angle, and wide leg forward fold
- Backbends such as upward dog, cobra, camel, and wheel
- Inversions including sarvanga and halasana
It is also important to undertake cooling practices after the above asanas. For instance, balasana or the child’s pose helps to relax and calm the mind. After this, lie down in the Shavasana and take 50 breaths. Breathing exercises like the Sheetali and sheetkaripranayamas are also beneficial.
Q: What are the right meditation techniques for optimum mental wellness during menopause
The primary goal of meditation is to connect our thoughts with our physical body. The more we are able to connect with it, the better will be the response to menopausal changes. Meditation also helps in reducing the constant chatter of the mind which can otherwise lead to anxiety. This is where body movements, breathing and certain meditation techniques like mindfulness and antarmounacan help. Another relaxing meditation technique is the yoga nidra which is a state of deep sleep. Heart space meditations for acceptance and compassion will complement the above three techniques.
Q: Yoga and its impact in reducing hot flashes
Hot flashes are one of the most prominent symptoms of menopause. Yoga asanas such as the forward bending poses can help with this symptom. The slow, long exhalation undertaken in the asanas helps in cooling down the body and calming the mind. Apart from this, one can also undertake cooling breath practices like Sheetali, sheetkari, bhramari, and Nadishodhana etc.
Q: How can a well-balanced yogic lifestyle make a women’s menopause journey easy?
Every woman’s menopause journey is different. However, there are certain things that can help in making the journey a little easier such as the right amount of exercise, regular sleep, balanced diet and spending time with people you love. Make sure to reduce physical exertion, long or frequent travels, and avoid taking stress.
Q: Ways to make menopause easy with the help of Yoga
Yoga helps in getting the much-needed ‘me time’. It can help you connect with your inner self, and being compassionate towards your body and the changes it undergoes. Emotional and mental meditational practices can help you in dealing with and reducing the effect of menopause. Yoga also helps in improving your tolerance to pain and adapting to changes in a better way.
Q: Can a regular yoga practice reverse menopause-led hormonal imbalance in the body? Let’s find out
Regular and sustained yoga practice can definitely help in managing hormonal changes better. It can reduce the severity of symptoms and help women to prepare for this phase of their life, mentally and emotionally.