The menopause is an incredible stage in a woman’s life. However, in response to changes taking place in the body there can be uncomfortable symptoms, that whilst temporary, may be distressing.
What do we know about the menopause?
- The menopause is the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle.
- It is caused by hormonal changes in a woman as she gets older.
- The average age for the menopause is fifty-one.
- The menopause can last from 2-10 years.
- Peri menopause begins around age forty-five when the menstrual cycle starts to fluctuate.
- Over fifty symptoms have been associated with the menopause.
The most common widely known symptoms caused by the menopause are hot flushes, insomnia, fatigue, brain fog, migraine, anxiety, joint stiffness, feeling overwhelmed, and loss of libido to name a few. There are countless stories of women who began to feel such symptoms during their forties and not known the reason, leading to symptoms being misdiagnosed and not recognised as menopausal.
The past year has seen an explosion of education become available for women to learn about the changes taking place in her body due to hormonal and general ageing considerations. In a positive move, on 19th January 2022 at a formal committee meeting at Westminster, lawyers declared that the menopause should be a protected characteristic in employment law, not a disability. Whilst this cannot take away the process a woman needs to go through, it has served to reassure women that what they are experiencing is a normal part of midlife and encourage the importance of defining new lifestyle strategies to reduce the turbulence of the menopause.
Menopausal women are at a pivotal time in their life. They have acquired immense life experience, are towards the end of child rearing, and they may be an expert in their field at work. A time when if supported and looked after, with her wisdom and knowledge, she could be a most valuable contributor in society. There is good reason that some cultures herald an elder as a valued and cherished member of the community!
How can yoga support you through the menopause?
“Yoga can re-educate the body and bring back suppleness. When tensions leave, the body goes back to its original state and balance is re-established.”Vanda Scaravelli
Yoga is the art of connecting the body and mind through the breath and transition of movement by ways of postural alignment and muscular application. The practice of yoga promotes a healthy lifestyle, providing tools for midlife women to develop key areas that require attention to enhance physical and mental wellbeing. Yoga for the menopause develops a strong and supple body and can help with menopausal symptoms by focussing on joint mobility, muscle, bone and core strength, posture, the pelvic floor, and balance. It can also improve mental activities such as positive thinking, clear focus, and concentration, whilst bringing relief from stress and anxiety.
How yoga can prepare the way for transformation
“Yoga is the practice of quieting the mind.”Patanjali, author of the Yoga Sutras
Yoga regards the body holistically and recognises a connectedness to oneself and one another as well as the world beyond what we can see. Tuning into an understanding and perception of our reality at this level is healing and unifying. It develops self-awareness, self-love, improves energy levels, and has the power to transform. Developing self-awareness to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves is a contemplative practice. It calms the mind and enables us to discriminate between what is real and unreal, true or false.
Whilst the physical practice of yoga can bring relief from menopausal symptoms, midlife women can also benefit going deeper into a contemplative practice as it may help her come to terms with the changes taking place in her body during this transitional stage in life. This may be the first time as an adult where she is able to prioritise herself. In taking time to slow down and quieten the mind brings opportunity to discover, redefine, and tap into her highest potential.
Key benefits of yoga for the menopause
- Strengthening the pelvic floor
- Releasing joint pain and improving mobility
- Maintaining bone strength
- Refining balance & coordination
- Developing concentration
- Postural re-alignment & core stability
- Relieving stress & anxiety
- Increased libido
- Developing a self-enquiring mind
- Connecting to your true self
Ceri is a senior yoga teacher specialising in Menopause Yoga. She runs seasonal Menopause Yoga Circles on a Saturday morning at her studio the Yoga Light Centre in Ruthin, North Wales, and offers online workshops.